Sunday, 15 February 2015

Ghana's Political Class Must Do The Impossible To Prevent Being Swept Aside By A Mass Uprising

There are moments in the history of nations, when monumental events, such as the overthrow of regimes by mass uprisings, take seed.

When those cataclysmic shifts occur, their beginnings are often imperceptible - and members of the regime about to become history, often carry on as if the world as they know it, still remains the same and intact.

In that sense, members of Ghana's political class are actually drinking in the last chance saloon - although many of them appear to be oblivious of the fact.

Beneath the facade of apparent normalcy,  Ghanaian democracy is threatened, as never before - and the 4th Republic's very foundations could be rocked and destroyed by a spontaneous uprising by ordinary people: such as the uprisings that toppled the regimes of Tunisia's Ben Ali, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Libya's Colonel Gaddafi.

One's prayer, is that lack of wisdom on the part of any of those in power today, shown in public to the anger of many, will not provide the spark for such an uprising in our homeland Ghana, too.

To avoid such a national catastrophe, it is important that Ghanaian politicians think through the possible ramifications of what they say and do in public - at a time when the vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians feel ill-disposed towards our ruling elites.

It is a situation that has been brought about by the negative impact on living standards resulting from today's  harsh economic climate - compounded by the widespread feeling that the lives of ordinary people are being unnecessarily inconvenienced by endless disruptions in the supply of treated drinking-water and frequent power outages: the blame for which is laid squarely at the present government's doorstep (unfairly, perhaps, many an unbiased and independent observer might say).

That is why one's humble advice to the Hon. Mahama Ayariga, the minister for youth and sports, is that no matter how unprofessional and poorly-educated many Ghanaian journalists might appear to him, to be, he must not doubt their power to shape public opinion - and mould perceptions about the regime of which he is such a prominent member, in negative fashion.

To ensure the continued stability of our country, our nation's politicians must think through the possible ramifications of unnecessarily taking on the media, in Ghana. It is never a wise course of action, for anyone in the public eye to embark upon, in any case.

The Hon. Mahama Ayariga complains about the gross disrespect shown to important people in society that is oxygenated by the media in Ghana - who provide a platform for it.

Yet, that selfsame disrespect partly results from the polarisation of Ghanaian society - brought about by the errosion of society's moral fabric, by the divide-and-rule tactics employed by the most ruthless of the hardliners and extremists in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

As we all know, those most guilty of the usage of indecorous language on the airwaves of FM radio stations, are often the hirelings of the NDC/NPP duopoly. No one should be surprised when some of them go as far as heaping personal insults on traditional rulers and even sitting presidents of the Republic of Ghana - in their never-ending propaganda battles on the airwaves of FM radio stations, and in opinion pieces and reader-comments on same, posted online on websites such as

It is indeed a sad state of affairs. And it is apparently one of the reasons why the Hon. Mahama Ayariga feels he owes no apologies to journalists who read abusive text messages from listeners that personally insult President Mahama on air - and on that basis, therefore has no regrets for taking umbrage at being questioned by such journalists about the budget for the preparation and participation of the senior male national soccer team, the Black Stars,  in the just-ended African Cup of Nations soccer tournament in Equatorial Guinea.

Apparently, the Hon. Mahama Ayariga feels it would be more useful to society,  if he was asked about his plans for improving sports generally in Ghana, by journalists. Fair point, perhaps.

However,  life, as he very well knows, is not fair - and the result is that his frustration with not being able to get pertinent questions posed to him about his ministry's plans for improving sports in Ghana generally, by Ghanaian journalists, has now ended up giving many the unfortunate impression that he is an  arrogant and rather unwise politician. Pity.

What should not escape the Hon. Mahama Ayariga, is that despite his loyalty to him, he could still be out of a job tomorrow - if the president deemed that necessary to safeguard his own legacy.

Those in power today must understand that no condition is permanent - as some of us used to remind members of the NPP administration of President Kufuor: who grew wings and thought they were invincible.

The Hon. Mahama Ayariga must understand clearly that even if the truth is that in reality President Mahama's administration is actually working hard on the ground, and is bringing development - such as access to new healthcare facilities, the provision of portable water and the construction of new classrooms for schools - to many communities in districts across the country, the perception created in the minds of many ordinary people, by their political opponents (and their allies in the media), is that the enterprise Ghana isn't working, and is being destroyed by high-level corruption.

For the information of the Hon. Mahama Ayariga, countering that widespread and possibly unfair perception created in the minds of ordinary people,  will only be possible, if President Mahama does what some of us advised him to do, when he became president following the death of President Mills: he must publicly publish his assets and those of his wife as soon as practicable - showing Ghanaians what assets he had before becoming president and what assets he and his wife now own.

It will enable him occupy the moral high ground, and give him the moral authority he needs to rule the Ghana of today - and enable him to set the agenda in Ghanaian politics: instead of his regime constantly having to respond  to the agenda set by those extremist opposition politicians now busy sabotaging the collective nation-building effort  (ably assisted by their allies in the Ghanaian media, incidentally).

To quote an old wag I know, who was responding to an anti-corruption measure that I have advocated for, for nearly some two decades now: "Kofi, although it is not a legal requirement, if there is nothing to hide, why does the president not publicly publish his assets and those of his wife - if that is the only way to save his regime from the certainty of being thrown out of office by voters in 2016?" Good question.

Although  it is humble advice freely offered to Ghanaian politicians for nearly two decades now, by a poor and very insignificant Ghanaian writer - who also happens to be an ignoramus without any formal education: for which reason one hopes the erudite Hon. Mahama  Ayariga will forgive one's inability to express oneself  properly and cogently, in the English language  - one's hope and prayer, is that this time, it will not fall on deaf ears, yet again.

Such a move, could actually save the presidency of President Mahama, who paradoxically has done more to fight corruption - in terms of investigations, prosecutions and new anti-corruptiin administrative measures - than any Ghanaian leader since the overthrow of President Nkrumah in 1966, if truth be told.

Whatever be the case, regardless of what the Hon. Mahama Ayarigas in our midst think of Ghanaian  journslists, the painful truth that they must deal with, is that Ghana's ruling elites are drinking in the last chance saloon.

With respect, the Hon. Mahama Ayarigas of our country had better wake up from their deep slumber in their well-appointed ivory tower - and face reality before it becomes too late for them.

An ethos of transparency must underpin whatever our leaders do - if they are to survive the approaching tsunami. And they must  bring an end to the massive rip-off of Mother Ghana, going on across the nation - mostly by individuals and companies engaged in tax evasion: some even rumoured to fund the NDC/NPP duopoly's election campaigns.

Single-sourced public procurement must cease forthwith. It cannot be justified under any circumstances in a nation with a public-sector full of thieving-wolves-in-sheep's-clothing masquerading as respectable and dedicated public servants.

Our ruling elites must do the impossible, in what are extraordinary times, to save themselves from being swept aside by a tide of public disenchantment, similar to that which toppled long-serving President Blaise Campoare of Burkina Faso.

Alas, their usual three-wise-monkeys-approach of: seeing nothing, hearing nothing and saying nothing, will not save them this time round. Above all, let those amongst them who can, publicly publish their assets and those of their spouses, to save themselves from the fury of the masses about to be unleashed on them. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o. Asem ebeba debi ankasa.

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