Frankly, partisan politics in Ghana has become dirty, stinky and unattractive. It is fraught with hypocrisy, lies, slander, greed, propaganda, envy, mischief, sabotage, destructive criticisms, equalisation, unfulfilled promises, among other repulsive tendencies that are inimical to national development and the growth of democracy. Sadly, sincerity, objectivity, rationality and credibility have been hurled to the dogs.
I strongly concur with John Calvin Thomas, an American syndicated columnist, when he once said, “One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.”
Partisan politics in Ghana drives me up the wall. In recent times, I have been wondering whether one can practise or dabble in partisanship and yet remain loyal to the Almighty God who examines the heart and takes pleasure in integrity (1 Chronicles 29:17).
A sincere person is not dishonest or hypocritical; he says what he genuinely feels or believes. He is free from pretence or deceit. He is objective and rational. Being honest and having strong moral principles, he fulfils every promise he makes. Does this description perfectly define a typical politician? Food for thought.
Indeed, the disposition of many Ghanaian politicians leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, and it vividly betrays their real intentions of entering politics. Judging by their unenviable actions and inaction, one can easily conclude that they are unmitigated self-seekers who don’t have the interests of Ghana at heart. Having placed personal interests and partisanship above nationalism, they think of fraudulent means to ‘create, loot and share’ when their party is in power.
Regrettably, they allow partisanship to blind their sincerity, objectivity, credibility and rationality. They view almost every national issue with a ‘political lens’. They politicise issues to score political points, so to speak. Some even resort to tribal politics to win votes by inciting their political opponents against certain tribes. In opposition, they rarely offer constructive criticisms.
They see eye to eye with every decision or policy of the ruling government of the day when their party is in power. However, when their party is in opposition, they criticise and kick against every policy of government, whether good or bad. Thus, they become pessimists by default. Their pessimism becomes evident when they mischievously spew out discouraging statements such as ‘it can’t be done’, ‘it is not possible’, ‘it will surely fail’, ‘Ghana is not ready for it now’, etc, against every policy of the ruling government. And they hardly give credit to their political opponents where it is due.
When their party is in opposition, they have one major agenda – to discredit the ruling government in order to make it unpopular so that their party can gain electoral advantage. As a result, their actions clearly show that they do not wish the country well at all in terms of development. Every success story of the ruling government is bad news and a big blow to them in that it impedes their selfish desires to come back to power. Therefore, they resort to sabotage and destructive criticisms with the aim of gaining electoral advantage.
A classic example is the $2 billion barter deal between the Akufo-Addo administration and Sinohydro Corporation of China that is going to engender massive infrastructural development in the country.
According to DAILY GUIDE of Friday, 28th September, 2018, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) tried to sabotage and thwart the whole deal so that President Akufo-Addo and his government would fail to initiate any tangible developmental projects before 2020 general elections, thereby giving the NDC party electoral advantage. Clearly, these are nation wreckers and naysayers blinded by partisanship! Sadly, as a people, this is the level to which partisan politics has taken us.
When their party assumes the reins of power, politicians justify policies, decisions and programmes they criticised when in opposition. They invariably take a keen interest in politics of convenience and equalisation. They hardly take the flak if things go wrong. And they disseminate propaganda as a political strategy.
More seriously, some politicians resort to slanderous allegations. They allow envy and propaganda to influence them to deliberately concoct stories to run down and tarnish the reputation of their political opponents.
In retrospect, when Ms. Comfort Ama Benyiwa-Doe, aka Ama Chavez, sat before the Parliamentary Appointments Committee in 2009, she confessed that all the allegations of drug dealings she made against the then flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, had no basis. She said, “It was all political talk.” Having heard her shameful confession, I felt like hitting the ceiling.
Aside from Ama Chavez, some other politicians have appeared before the same committee and made similar confessions. Now, my questions are: what is political talk? Is it not synonymous with insincere talk? Do these politicians expect the Ghanaian electorate to take their so-called political talk seriously? What do they take us for?
Being intellectually dishonest, they don’t even honour most of their electoral promises when voted into power. Thus, they pull the wool over the eyes of the ordinary Ghanaian electorate with phantom promises. They pretend to be loving, caring and empathetic only during election years when they badly need votes to win power.
Recently, some irate youth in the Central Region attacked their Member of Parliament (MP) for failing woefully to fulfil his campaign promises to them in the run-up to the 2016 election. The MP is said to have promised to establish a senior high school in the community and create employment for the youth which enticed many people to vote for him. When he appeared in the constituency, the incensed youth pelted him with stones for neglecting them after the election.
According to Alfred Newman, the only time a politician is telling the truth is when he calls another politician a liar.
Interestingly, when they are in opposition, they pretend to be patriotic. They pretend to have all the knowledge and prudent ideas that can potentially push this country forward in terms of development. However, when they annex power, their so-called knowledge and prudent ideas seem to vanish into thin air. As a result, they employ politics of equalisation and convenience to justify their incompetence and failure.
Instead of focusing on national development to improve the living standard of the ordinary Ghanaian, all that a typical Ghanaian politician thinks about is how his party can win election 2020. Of course, winning the next elections is the major priority of majority of Ghanaian politicians. To them, it is a do-or-die affair.
Some of them are power-conscious to the extent that they don’t even care if they can ascend to power through Machiavellian tactics. Sadly, politics without principle has become the order of the day!
The truth is that partisanship cannot profit the poor in rural Ghana who lack potable water, electricity, good shelter and yet continue to exercise their franchise in the name of democracy. Partisanship cannot change the destiny of Ghana when politicians have refused to be patriotic and nationalistic in the discharge of their responsibilities.
Albeit democracy has offered the country some relative peace, it is noteworthy that partisanship can potentially derail national development. Therefore, it is about time Ghanaian politicians went against party lines and ideological underpinnings in the interest of national development.
As Ghanaians, we must be discerning enough in order not to identify with insincere, greedy, self-centred and corrupt politicians, for they don’t have anything good to offer Mother Ghana. Ghana needs sincere politicians. I rest my case!
By Anthony Kwadwo Kyei