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12.10.2005 Press Review

Editorial: An Emerging Grave Danger To our Democracy

By Lens
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Democracy has been loosely defined as the government of the people, for the people a! nd by the people. Of all the various forms of democratic practice, the multi-party democratic practice, thanks to Britain and the US, has won worldwide acclaim as the best form of government to ensure pluralistic views and the full respect of civil liberties.

In our part of the world, it has for a long time been said that the biggest danger to democratic practice was the uncalled for disruption of constitutional rule by our brethren in Khaki- i.e. military intervention. That may have been the case for a long time. But any discerning observer cannot fail to notice a creeping, subtle but no less insidious danger to our democratic practice in Ghana today- Money!

A social commentator rightly remarked recently that so much money is being thrown about to buy the silence of many otherwise potentially critical voices that if care is not taken, a time may soon come that there will be no other avenue but a resort to militaristicmeans.

Much as we of the Crystal Clear Lens would want to hope that these views are rather extreme, we cannot help but feel alarmed at the loud silence of many voices we know are very unhappy at many of the things happening but have strangely remained silent.

Priests and pastors, who only a few years ago were at the forefront of agitation for good governance have today adopted a typical "nothing seen, nothing heard approach." Worse things than what happened in the past are occurring, but their voices which should be strident have been completely lost.

The same groups that even today continue to make allusions that justice had not been well served in the investigations of the killing of the three judges and the retired military officer are strangely cold silent when it comes to the brutal murder of the Ya Na, Issa Molbila etc.

The same individuals and groups who gladly condemned ex-functionaries of the ! NDC based on baseless and largely unproven rumours and allegations are those who jump to the defense of today's leaders even when concrete evidence is advanced to show that they have committed wrong.

What kind of hypocrisy could this be? Voices that used to be heard on both radio and TV in the recent past freely criticizing the past government are now instrumental in passing questionable administrative rules and regulations that prohibit other critical voices from speaking up against horrendous happenings today.

The media landscape is filled up with many who are more interested in fighting for the ruling clique and defending its policies and programmes rather than fighting for the interest of the ordinary citizenry. The few critical voices have to at all times be on third degree alert since state cum media conspiracies exist to destroy their image when every effort to buy their silence fails.

The judiciary is ! no better. The students' front has been equally affected. The workers' front is virtually paralised. What on earth, is happening to this country? How far are people prepared to sacrifice their conscience and grovel before benefactors just so that they can survive the harsh economic conditions of today?

Behold, the creeping danger to the nation's democracy.