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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Political Dishonesty In Ghana

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“...Politicians (are) men prone to having a high blood pressure of words and are anaemia of deeds” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I sometimes cannot help but to empathise with those who hold the assertion that politics is a dirty game, although I disagree with that position. In Africa, partisan politics continues to be viewed as a forum or breeding ground for greed, oppression, corruption, political unrest and dishonesty. Unfortunately, these aberrant conducts are experientially true in the Ghanaian politics.


I consider a productive politician to be a politician who is polite, purposeful, a proponent of pragmatic policies, selfless servant, tolerant and a person with high moral character and proven integrity. Needless to say, contrary is mostly the case in Africa. Unproductive politicians dominate the governmental processes. Some political leaders are instigators of unnecessary political tension, perpetrators of unhealthy propaganda, consumers of our scarce resources and principal conspirators of violence and conflicts. Ex-president Kuffour is right for calling such politicians as vain politicians.

Every politician exhibit the characteristic of either a productive or unproductive politician depending on the political surrounding: either waxing political power or in political opposition. But a true politician must always be productive. Most politicians behave like chameleon which changes its colour depending on the environment. Chameleonic politicians are inconsistent in their words and conducts. Indeed, most politicians see, approach and analyse sensitive national issues differently, depending on whether in government or opposition. Some opposition parties speak and act as if they are the only true seekers and lovers of the interest of the masses. They neither commend nor complement any good policy of the government of the day but usually criticise destructively. They represent nothing but prophet of doom, prophesying actual breakdown or failure of the governmental system. Everything they say or do is just the opposite of what the government does. Vice president John Mahama is not wrong for describing such political tendencies as bad. Really, being in the opposition should not be interpreted to mean acting in a manner that is totally opposite to the position of the government. Hypocritically, these same political parties solicit the co-operation of the minority parties upon assumption of power. Opposition parties exist to serve as watchdogs over the government through constructive criticisms: giving credit to whom it is due and offering better alternative policy guidelines to any untenable policy or systemic failure. This is the best way to keep the government on her toes.

After about 50 years of political independence, Ghana is still battling with political insincerity. Recurrently, government of the day often appears to be an expert in tracing and explaining the country’s teething problems and failures rather than seeking to find lasting solutions to them. Emphasis is placed on the problem rather than the pragmatic policy interventions needed to arrest the situation. Besides, the success stories or achievements of most statesmen or political parties that have exercised governmental power are mostly relegated to the background. Instead, their failures are the only things that are trumpeted as if nothing good can be credited to them. Certainly, this is political insincerity.

It is a sad commentary that most of the comments that are passed about Ghana’s illustrious sons such Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, Dr. Hilla Liman, Flt Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyeikum Kuffour are mostly negative. Indeed, the apex of political dishonesty is displayed when we incessantly broadcast the failures of these noble personalities without the same breadth crediting them for their groundbreaking feats. No wonder most Ghanaians with high moral character and proven integrity continue to shun partisan politics, probably because we barely honour our heroes or political stalwarts. It is high time we honoured and praised selfless statesmen who diligently serve this nation even before their death. It is very hypocritical to condemn such political icons while they are alive only to celebrate their impressive achievements after their death. It goes without saying that while we prepare dockets to prosecute alleged corrupt politicians and institute commission or committees of inquiry to probe suspected financial malfeasance on the part of some politicians or public officers, honest mechanisms should also put in place to appreciate the good deeds of those who truly served mother Ghana. It is iniquitous to punish the bad without rewarding the good.


In these hard times and difficulties, Ghanaians expect nothing but persons who are productive to be at the political scenes. Our politicians must be seen to be candid, trustworthy and fair in order to generate and sustain the trust of Ghanaians. We need maestro, not macho politicians. Besides, the Christian Council of Ghana should consolidate its critical role in the Ghanaian politics by encouraging and supporting mature and faithful Christians to live up to their calling of being involved , concerned and dedicated to the principle of orderly change within the governmental process. The Ghanaian politics needs the Christian light and salt. Who knows but that it is for such a time as this that there are many Christians in Ghana than ever? If there is dirty in partisan politics, let us help to clean it.

Richard Obeng Mensah, borncapy@yahoo.com, author of Persecutions are Promotions and If You Think of Your Opposition You Lose Your Position. He is the 2009 National Best Student Author/Writer.

Mensah, Richard Obeng

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