The blanks need filling - Yussif scribes - Newsfile Online

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Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The blanks need filling - Yussif scribes

Just a few questions, please:

So, in whose interest do politicians take decisions? When parliamentarians sit in the chamber of parliament to execute their mandates, do they have the ordinary man in mind? When the president is appending his signature to anything, in whose interest does he do it? The judiciary arm of government, in whose interest do they work? Do all of these people perform their functions at the expense of the ordinary Ghanaian or for his benefits?

Do they perform their duties with the next election first or last on their agenda? Does the politician fight for the ordinary man to not be disenfranchised to ensure human rights and freedoms are ensured or just for their parochial interest of winning political power?

Last but not least, in whose interest does the electorate queue come rain or shine to cast their ballots every four years?

We live in a country where everything politics is just black and white. There is no middle ground. Everything any government does is black in the eyes of opposition and definitely white in the government’s perspective. The only time there is a difference is when there is an initiative to benefit politicians only. In that case, there are no partisan colours attached to decision making process. They all move to one side because its in their interest. Have opposition parties in Ghana over the years objected to governments’ actions and inactions because of the welfare of the ordinary citizen or they just want to paint the government black in anticipation of the next elections? As citizens, we have to always question the decisions of our leaders but we rarely do and so they go about it anyhow they feel like.

I think that politics and for that matter governance is too serious a business to be left for the few political elites or the few people who have made a career out of politics. I’m sure it is the reason for which there are other institutions to check government on a regular basis even though the 1992 constitution provides for checks and balances amongst all the arms of government to prevent power abuse, rot and corruption. Over the past years, the various arms of government have proven rather inept in terms of performing their constitutional mandate of ensuring that the other arms of government are honestly and efficiently executing their mandates for reasons such as power imbalance.

Last week on Joy FM, the Deputy Minister for Education in charge of Basic and Senior High Schools, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum clearly stated in an interview with Emefa Apawu that by the end of their (NPP) term in office, the people of Ghana will not ask Former President John Dramani Mahama whether or not Nana Addo fulfilled his campaign promises. Now, he made this comment on the back of the comments of the Former President that the current government should be patient with the double track system they are about running senior high schools with because of the anticipated population increase. Does this mean that any Ghanaian who seeks for the government to still do broader consultation in finding a solution to the problem at hand is NDC and for that matter, they will not listen? Can anyone disagree with government without getting painted with political party colours? Many well meaning Ghanaians have expressed legitimate concerns but the government is still hell bent on going through with their plans. Well, is the NDC also raising all these concerns because they have the best interest of the country at heart or they are just peddling propaganda?

In July 2015, when the then president of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama nominated Madam Charlotte Osei as the next Chairperson of our Electoral body after the retirement of Afari Gyan, it was fireworks between the two major political parties, National Democratic Congress, NDC and the New Patriotic Party, NPP. The NPP at the time said every damning word about this woman just to impugn her character in the eyes of the public. And the NDC defended her with every good word they could find in the dictionary. Well, like always, the government of the day had their way.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Madam Charlotte Osei has been removed from office by His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo because a report by the committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the former commissioner after the President was petitioned demanded so. So, the onus then fell on Nana Addo to nominate a new Electoral Commission (EC) boss and he has consequently done so. The NDC now comes with their concerns to the effect that the newly appointed EC boss, Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensah, is not exactly deserving of the portfolio because her posture over the years suggests to them that she is not as neutral as an EC boss must be. The argument of the NDC says that this woman will favour the NPP any day and for that matter, they can’t allow her nomination to go through.

Not to mention the current state of the AMERI deal that was entered into by the erstwhile Mahama administration. A lot of discussions are still underway. I must say, I respect the Majority Leader’s position on the matter.

There are those who suggest that these back and forth between the two political parties and all the others help strengthen our democracy. I admit that some are useful, but also, I ask, does it mean that everything, no matter how significant, should be politicized? There have been cases where some situations have been politicized but shouldn’t have been so. If institutions like the Electoral Commission are dealt with the way it is being dealt with currently, it will eventually lose its credibility. Well, we can only wait and see how things will pan out this time. In any case, to this government, anybody who criticizes anything they do is either a professional propagandist or a naysayer. They keep forgetting that relevant dissenting views expressed over a particular matter help solidify the final decision.

Answers to the questions posed in this write-up will help us understand and also appreciate why our leaders, especially politicians do what they do and how they do it.
Written by: Yussif Ahmed/GIJ

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