Being an opposition party in Ghana is a prized license for a group of political derelicts to oppose virtually everything the ruling government would dare to dream.
The two major political parties that have alternated in the governance of the country – the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) – are both guilty in this regard. Their understanding of what constitutes the national interest is largely influenced by where they are on the political spectrum.
There is no such thing as ‘sound political debate’ in Ghana where the interest of the nation is prized more than partisan benefits. Perhaps this could happen in the future. But what there has ever been and will ever be is partisan interest.
Predictably when Mrs Charlotte Osei was appointed as the new Electoral Commission (EC) boss by the then president John Dramani Mahama to replace Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan who was going on retirement in 2015, the NPP was hysterical. It accused the NDC government of a plot to rig the 2016 general elections.
The repeated attack and scheme to strip Mrs Osei of her dignity as a Ghanaian and an accomplished woman under the cloak of politics was surgical. The New Statesman, Danquah Institute and Gabby Otchere-Darko, a cousin of current president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo were irrationally obsessed with their attacks against the EC boss.
Like a well-orchestrated drama, a loud-mouthed NPP lawmaker pathetically alleged Mrs Osei had exchanged sex for the top EC job. The ferocious attack continued well into the 2016 elections and after, leading to her dismissal in 2018 over a petition filed by some faceless workers of the Commission last year.
So ‘Who is afraid of Charlotte Osei?’ a suspended leading member of the NPP, Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey had asked in a 2017 article. But I want to rephrase it here. ‘Why is the NPP inherently scared of Mrs Charlotte Osei’s personality?’
Not surprising to note that today, it is the NDC that is accusing the NPP of appointing an ‘ill-suited’ Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Executive Director, Jean Adukwei Mensa to influence the 2020 general elections in its favour.
“For president Akufo-Addo to proceed contrary to his earlier assurance to appoint a known pro-NPP and an avowed anti-NDC…to chair a commission which would organize elections invoking the NPP and NDC as the main contenders defy all series of decency, fairness and justice,” NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia said in a statement Monday, in reaction to the appointment.
This is how our country has been governed by these two political parties for the past 25 years since we began our democratic experiment in 1993. We have never been interested in what the person appointed is bringing on the table to move the nation forward. All that matters to us is whether the appointee supports our political party or the opponent.
Such an unintelligent line of thinking can never develop a nation.
We have had more bad outcomes than positives since 1993. It’s sometimes funny how one party would come to roll out pro-poor programmes, only for the other that proclaimed itself to be a pro-poor party to come and destroy the very thing that supports the poor in the name of national interest.
But as an independent nation that makes it own laws, we must own our mistakes and endeavour to rectify them. We elect officials to lead us and if at any time we are not impressed with their style of leadership, we need to unseat them. Neither president Akufo-Addo and his men nor ex-president Mahama and his men love Ghana more than any Ghanaian. Never!
What I’m convinced they’re obsessed with is their own selfish ends and they will stop at nothing to protect them. To tell you what, expect the NPP to defend the appointment of Jean Adukwei Hesse as the new EC boss in the coming days and the NDC to justify why she is not cut for the job after contributing to Ghana’s democracy.
Well if you have been here for long you will know that it’s normal. Don’t take any of their media banter seriously. That’s Plain Politics (PP).
But our independence in 1957 gave us the power and ability to set our own sail, for better or worse. We have had more of the worse outcomes as I earlier noted. Perhaps, the time has come for us to dictate a different narrative. The injustices in our history remind us of the responsibility on our shoulders that we must discharge to secure a better future for our children.
We can’t fail them as our fathers and mothers have done to us.
Why talk about the need to develop Ghana’s human resources when in the end, we will mischaracterize our own people when they are given a position of trust?
Kwabena Brakopowers is a journalist, novelist and essayist whose works focus on politics, migration, social situation, economic and environmental issues. He spends his time writing either in Accra or Monrovia, where he calls his second home. He could be reached at Brakomen@outlook.comor visit www.brakopowers.com to read about him.