Friday, 15 May 2015

Should Political Parties In Ghana Be Encouraged To Help Their Foot-Soldiers To Become Self-Employed?

It is such a pity that some politicians are seeking to turn an idea that has the potential to empower the foot-soldiers of political parties in Ghana financially into a political football.

In a nation with high youth unemployment figures, any political party wise enough to create employment opportunities for its foot-soldiers, ought to be encouraged to do so.

It will help cut down the numbers of unemployed young people - particularly in rural Ghana.

That will lead to a reduction in unlawful activities such as illegal logging and illegal gold mining - which result in the pollution of streams and rivers across Ghana, and the degradation of the natural environment, in vast swathes of the Ghanaian countryside.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has made a good move in setting up a committee to help its supporters to either find work or become self-employed.

What is needed is a national conversation on how it can be done ethically and transparently.

Surely, any idea that will help young unemployed Ghanaians either find employment or become self-employed ought to be welcomed - regardless of  where the idea emanates from: and as long as it is done in transparent fashion and within the law?

Alas, such is the toxic nature of the rivalry between the ruling NDC, and the largest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), that even an idea that actually has the potential to free political parties from the clutches of the vested interests that corrupt our system - and to which both the NDC and NPP are beholden for most of their funding - has been turned into a political football. Pity.

If tens of thousands of party foot-soldiers who are gainfully employed,  or run their own businesses, can support political parties in Ghana financially with small amounts of cash contributions, will that not lessen the dependence of political parties on the vested interests that want the corrupt system that is slowly destroying our nation to remain in place - because it enriches them so?

The less party foot-soldiers  are dependent financially on individual  politicians and the political parties they support, the better  it will be for the long-term future of Ghanaian democracy. Surely, that is how the idea ought to be viewed?

US President Obama did not have to depend on large cash contributions from big corporations to raise money to campaign for the two presidential elections he won.

It will be good for Mother Ghana if that were the case here too - and those running for president did not also have to depend on big businesses for cash donations to run their election campaigns.

The NPP would be wise to see the NDC's idea as one that it could also adopt to widen the pool of potential donors for its election campaigns - and to enable it free itself from the grip of the vested interests it currently feels obliged to rely on.

It is that reliance on vested interests that makes both the NDC and the NPP opaque entities unwilling to reveal their sources of funding publicly - and has turned our system into a Byzantine one full of corrupt officials.

Politicians from across the spectrum must  find a way to make the idea work for all political parties in Ghana - instead of seeking to  make political capital out of it. All the political parties in Ghana ought to be encouraged to help their foot-soldiers to become self-employed or find employment.

There is nothing wrong with that in the real world. Politicians and political parties have a right to help their own supporters from time to time whenever necessary. The NDC must not allow itself to browbeaten into shelving the idea. The hypocrisy of some of those criticising the idea is nauseating.

If truth be told, individual NPP politicians, and the party itself, already do so for some of the NPP's own supporters too - and that is as it should be.

All the other political parties in Ghana must be encouraged to do so too - if they are not already doing so.

In the long-term it will end up making a pool of well-off potential volunteers available for all the political parties in Ghana to tap into during election campaigns. That is far better than relying on impecunious party foot-soldiers always begging for cash from politicians and political parties. That breeds corruption, alas.

Post a Comment