Unmaking our Development Process: Ghana?s Divisive and ?Ivory Tower? Politics

PoliticsMultiparty democracy is a critical ingredient in evolving sustainable infrastructures for national dialogue and development.

It has become a platform where competing visions (political philosophies) get the opportunity to showcase their potential for resolving the development challenges of their people. Pluralism is a value that is cherished anywhere in the world. The economic success of most Western nations is anchored on the value and reverence they have placed on the need for pluralism.

Socioeconomic, political and cultural debates are consciously and systematically done to ensure that issues of diversity and differences are incorporated and catered for.

All these efforts are done for consensus building purposes. Regardless of how ideologically different some of these political organisations are, they consistently find common grounds that not only respond to their ideological philosophies; but dovetails into the bigger national picture.

The major and overriding preoccupation of these political organisations is to make the well-being of their citizenry more meaningful and fulfilling. They do this, so that they can remain relevant to the electoral process and the development discourse of their people.

While we celebrate multiparty democracy, and the pluralism that comes with it; it is crucial to acknowledge that regardless of the ideological differences, the well-being of the Ghanaian comes before any other political prerogatives. Unfortunately (very sad to say this), the kind of political culture that is currently hovering above us is divisive, mean and totally out of sync with our cultural and moral ecology. While I would not be quick to blame our lack of progress to these acts, they remain some of the greatest obstacles in our journey to consensus building for national development.

We are ?more Ghanaian? than them phenomenon
Any serious-minded political and cultural commentator of Ghanaian issues would tell you, some people think they are ?more entitled? to Ghana than others. As a result, their posturing in the political discourse of this country is always angled in a certain predictable direction.

Their actions are attended with disrespect and meanness. Even within political parties, the views and concerns of certain people are largely considered as tangential, and sometimes even irrelevant to the core policy issues of their political organisation. While we celebrate our diversities in certain respects, it is crucial to recognise that ?letting our egos go? is sometimes the most forward-looking thing to do.

The ?Project Ghana? is not the singular responsibility of any single person or group of persons. If project Ghana would succeed, then it depends on how we treat and respect each other?s views. Burundi and Rwanda descended into chaos because of some of these views. Even the framers of our constitution recognise this.

If we can insulate ourselves from the blame of 1886 (the partitioning of Africa); which has drawn a wedge between us, what excuse have we to say that by virtue of the ?smallness or bigness? of some group of people, they are more or less ?more Ghanaian? than others? When in fact, just across our borders they constitute nearly half the total population of those countries.

I am not holding a breather for any political organisation. After all, I know too well that, per their rational choice instincts, political parties can play into such arguments to shore up their electoral fortunes.

I am glad however that, political groupings are increasingly beginning to recognise how relevant seeing issues from a ?national? spectrum are a fillip to their electoral success. No single person or group of persons? vision is bigger than the total visions of the people.

Nkrumah didn?t have to be a genius to realise that, events that surrounded the gaining of independence divided Us; and so the need for breaking tribal and regional barriers in our socioeconomic, political and the overall development architecture of ?Project Ghana?.

The Ivory tower approach to national issues
One of the critical drawbacks to the success of our multiparty democracy has been the ?ivory tower? thinking and outlook of some political activists. Their problem is: they think they are the only ones who hold the ?magic wand? to resolving every single development challenge of the Ghanaian. When ?development solutions? don?t emanate from them, then it is not worth considering or brooding over.

How pedantic and self-glorifying!! These acts have eaten and become so ingrained in our psyche to the extent that, political activists are willing to ?shoot down? every policy initiative-whether good or bad-just because, those policies don?t originate from their camps.

However unenlightened or politically ?immature? some activists may appear, they at least have something to bring to the table. And so, their thoughts are also worth considering. If for nothing at all, a ?realistic and progressive? development planning process requires the active involvement of the people being planned for.

Some of whom may not necessarily come from our political groupings. If the bottom-up approach to development planning is still relevant to current development processes, then broader consultations are still very critical. However, because of some of these ivory tower postures, political opponents have made it a habit not to listen to anybody-whether in government or in opposition.

Over-Politicisation of germane national issues and blame game
The over-politicisation of germane national issues has also become too ?street-like? to the point where ?real matters? of national standing lose their significance. Just like the Ivory tower phenomenon, political activists have seen the convenience in pigeon-holing issues by explaining them away with political twists.

Spin-doctoring among political activists has become a common commodity. For instance, when the issue of the striking doctors came to the fore, some party activists were quick to remark that they know their opponents are those secretly instigating the doctors to take such entrenched positions. Sadly, the actions and posturing of some opposition activists played into such conspiracy theories.

As a result, instead of looking at the issue from a national standpoint, political parties are continuously finding ways to apportion blame; when avoidable deaths are being recorded every single day.

On energy in/security (Dumsor) political activists are engaged in consistent blame game, instead of making their ?Ogas at the top? realise how the energy crisis is disrupting nearly every productive fabric of our society. While Ghanaians battle with the dumsor, politicians are engaged in the argument of which government should take the blame for our current circumstances.

Even though it is important to historicise (put into proper perspective) which government has invested more in energy, all that matters to the Ghanaian (at the moment) is how to have access to power without the usual ?oooooo!!! And Yaaaaaaaay!!! Noises children make when lights come on, or go off. Blame game is only a loophole for governments to shirk their duties.

The thoughts of Nkrumah and the Akosombo Dam still remain fresh on our minds, just because of the vision he had at the time. I am hopeful similar visions can be achieved in ?modern Ghana?; even in the face of the cynicism that has characterised our political atmosphere.

Truth be told, this is a trait that goes beyond the realms of our politics. It is a big social problem. And the thing is, because of the pervasive nature of the PhD Syndrome in our society, a lot of people have difficulty deciphering honest and sincere criticism from let?s ?pull him down? tendencies.

Because of this, some unscrupulous persons have found a means of plucking into such fears to become sycophants to leaders in our society. They don?t care whether the actions or inactions of these leaders conflict with national interests, all they care about is the largesse and the ?little good deeds? that come to them. We are all suffering from the cost of such actions. We very badly need to eschew such behaviours if we really want to leave worthy legacies to our younger generations.

Ways forward
The ?Project Ghana? is not the preserve of any single person or group of persons. We all must play our little roles in the quest to making every Ghanaian soul worthy. Despite our differences, there is a lot that unite us than divide us. Regiomalism, ethnicity among other differences are only one aspect of our story.

Let us learn to accommodate each other?s views irrespective of our political leanings. In the end, it is ?God bless our homeland Ghana?, and nothing more or less. The values of UBUNTU, is the ticket to our prosperity.

By: Inusah Mohammed Awall
Twitter: @Wagoooni


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