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13.03.2009 Feature Article

YOU DO ME I DO YOU…… a political game

Dispassionate observation of events in this country within the political arena clearly reveals an advance position of our leaders, especially parliamentarians when it comes to national discourse. You can readily tell the direction of debates, as to those for and those against solely based on political affiliations. This is where the political game, YOU DO ME I DO YOU becomes conspicuous. This game becomes well defined or bigger with the involvement of social commentators or political journalists. You don't need a lie detector machine to tell where they belong.

The YOU DO ME I DO YOU game is played based on one's position, that's either in opposition or in power, or in majority or minority. After all, now it's public knowledge that the majority will always have its way and the minority its say, though we know the fact that it's not always the case that the majority is right. In effect, once the majority in parliament agrees on something which might not be favourable to us ordinary Ghanaians since they have the numbers, they will certainly push their way through.

When in government, any policy or initiative proposed is seen as a very vital one and need to be endorsed hence MPs from the ruling party readily consent to it. It goes through a whole lot of processes before it gets to the stage of voting for or against in parliament. Throughout the processes, the minority will actively be involved and constantly be seen as opposition hence their views will be regarded suspicious. Unfortunately, they will also always oppose.

The vetting process we are witnessing at the moment is an example of the YOU DO ME I DO YOU game. Any opposing view raised under the current circumstance has a reference point to the vetting process under President Kufuor. No matter how genuine such concerns are, there're still reference points and so at the end of the day majority will carry the day. The majority had always carried the day under President Kufuor and so why should the status quo change now? Even as some of those decisions were unpalatable to some of us, so it is now.

Initiatives that are currently beneficial to us had at one time or the other suffered opposition. Some of those initiatives were not even supposed to have seen the light of day had they been left to the opposition. Value Added Tax (VAT), GETFUND, Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) are those that readily come to mind. I am deliberately detaching these initiatives from the various regimes or governments so that we can appreciate their contributions to the country. Admittedly, no Ghanaian at the moment will say the above mentioned programmes are useless.

As smart as our politicians are, when you ask them right now why they opposed any of the above initiatives they will tell you they didn't wholly opposed it but rather thought of how to make them more beneficial to Ghanaians.

Whiles the ruling party does not see anything wrong with its decisions, the opposition's defined agenda is to virtually find flaws in any proposed initiative and reject it. In opposition, initiatives are always considered as wrongly timed and the excuses are 'this is not the right time', and 'Ghanaians are already suffering'. No matter how cogent the initiatives, the opposition regards the timing as wrong hence will do all it takes to reject or vote against. Let's not forget one thing, hardly will all our politicians, minority and majority agree on timing of an initiative or policy.

For those in parliament, they will all agree only when the proposal is for their direct benefits. I will never forget the famous car loan and lately the infamous ex-gratia.

The YOU DO ME I DO YOU game I realized is heightened by fears that these politicians entertain. For those in government or in power, the fear that the opposition will deliberately frustrate their good plans for the people of Ghana which could hinder their intentions to be voted again into power is enough to motivate them push all their initiatives through. They are aware it is in fulfilling their campaign promises that they could be retained so nothing stops them from delivering. This motivating fear could drive this majority group into taking unpopular decisions that might even have an adverse impact on their internal succession plans.

The fear of those in opposition is that the ruling party could utilize their initiatives well to win more votes which will keep them in opposition for longer than expected. Under this circumstance, it is appropriate to do an extensive research on the initiative and make Ghanaians aware of its inimical implications on the socio-economic development of the country. In this case, no matter how significant a policy could be to us as a nation, there definitely will be an element of opposition to it.

YOU DO ME I DO YOU is even extended to social challenges or issues that we ought to find national solutions to. The spate of armed robbery that was associated with the NPP is still on-going and so far as the current government NDC claimed it was because living conditions were harsh that people embarked on that, NPP in opposition by this time should have a compiled list of robbery that had even occurred just within first two months of 2009. YOU DO ME I DO YOU is the game!

In some quarters, the stadium disaster that occurred under Kufuor's regime was attributed to spiritual sacrifices that the then government had to offer; now the several accidents on our roads and high number of deaths so far registered are being connected to the NDC's spiritual activities. YOU DO ME I DO YOU is the game.

The nasty part of this YOU DO ME I DO YOU game is when political journalists now termed social commentators also fully take part. Most of these commentators apart from the monetary gains also have their own personal declared stance. Fortunately for some of us, these people are gradually losing audience because of their double standards which had become so obvious. They set one rule for the party they belong and a different one for the opposing one. They justify the unjustifiable and try to make reasons from the unreasonable. A time is approaching when these people will only become noisy cymbals on-air and will cause people to put off their radios. Already they are rapidly losing their relevance because before you even tune-in you know the angle they will be taking based on the issues.

YOU DO ME I DO YOU game will continue but the onus lies on us as individuals to read through the lines well before making any comment or taking any decision. One thing that is clear to the two main political parties, NDC and NPP is that they are aware that it's not the number of their memberships that makes them win an election. Neither is it their supporters nor sympathizers. They know very well it is the floating voter that decides the winner of the elections. The floating voter makes his or her decision based on occurrences as and when they happen. Fortunately, the floating voter can decipher the YOU DO ME I DO YOU game and make his or her voting decision. So no matter how long this game continues, the floating voter will still be the decider.

YOU DO ME I DO YOU is the name of the game our politicians play.

Frank Agyemang
Frank Agyemang, © 2009

The author has 66 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: FrankAgyemang

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