“I want to draw your attention to certain things that can very easily mar our achievements and throw our country into unnecessary and avoidable chaos and destruction.
The current trend of allegations of fraud by one party against the other, especially between NDC and NPP, the perception that politicians are only interested in amassing personal wealth, and the motion that the rule of law applies only to other party members, the difficulties of establishing the truth, since issues have become subjective, are gradually eroding the confidence and the trust that the citizenry have in our political leaders.”
These were the words of the immediate past Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, Most Reverend Dr. Robert Aboagye Mensah, when he addressed a two day workshop organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs political parties and key civil society groups in the country, at Aburi in the Eastern Region over the weekend. The workshop was under the theme – “The survival of multi-party democracy and politics of accommodation and tolerance.”
Dr. Aboagye Mensah expressed worry about the growing trend of vindictiveness that has characterized the country’s politics warning that the these developments could easily plunge the entire nation into what he described as “unnecessary but avoidable chaos and destruction”, adding, “Political tension (in the country) seems to be on the ascendancy due to the politics of blame game that political parties have been engaging each other in, resulting in castigating and accusing each other of corruption and incompetence”.
According to him, in an attempt to destroy their political rivals, politicians end up destroying the noble profession that provides a channel of service to the nation, emphasizing that “Such an attitude towards politicking gives the impression that our political parties are more important to us than seeking the national interest and the well-being of our people.”
Instead of identifying and building consensus around issues of national importance, Dr. Aboagye Mensah noted with emphasis that both the ruling and the opposition parties seem more interested in find faults with each other’s programmes, policies and manifestos. He said “Tearing down infrastructure and institutions and down grading achievements that a previous ruling political party had done without providing alternative, has characterized Ghanaian way of doing politics in a pluralistic context.”
For him, what is extremely sad and frightening is the manner in which supporters of political parties, especially the youth, are being enticed to participate in what has come to be known and accepted as politics of insult, stressing that “In some cases supporters who demonstrate the ability with foul language are allegedly rewarded in some form or another.”
According to him, this unhealthy development in Ghana’s national politics certainly demonstrates lack of tolerance and accommodation, which are the bedrock of democratic governance.
The Administrator of the IEA, Mrs. Jean Mensa, for her part noted – “by accepting to be governed through a system of multi-party democracy, we individually and collectively have pledged to eschew all the vices and tendencies that almost tore our country apart,” According to her, it was based on this that Ghanaians agreed to have different opinions, beliefs and ideas as to how the political system should be governed and the affairs of the nation be conducted.
That notwithstanding, she said “It is sad to say that after five major democratic elections, under the 1992 constitution, we have not demonstrated that the rule of law should operate, that we should be tolerant of each other, that we can pursue our aspirations and liver our lives side by side.”
She was, however, optimistic that the workshop would among others provide a non-partisan platform for honest and open discussion on the issues and problems confronting the country’s democratic journey, particularly the lack of accommodation and tolerance in our political culture; reflect on the reasons for this unfortunate development and work out a mutually satisfactory framework for political coexistence.
She indicated that “it will be naïve to think that because our neighbors and indeed the international community continue to sing our praises of exemplary democratic practice, then we should pretend that everything is well with us. The incidents of destruction, abuses and intolerance in our elections, and which have been further compounded after the 2008 elections portend danger for our country.”
Unless Ghanaians and for that matter politicians are prepared to tackle and resolve the canker of political intolerance and intimidation in our body politics, Mrs. Mensa noted “we may soon embark on the mission of some of our neighbors in the sub-region – civil conflict.”
Source: The Chronicle
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