Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Inherent Dangers Associated With Our Byzantine System

Although we might have a Byzantine system ours is still a democracy nonetheless. That is why as a freedom-loving African people we must all actively work together to protect Ghanaian democracy from its many enemies.

We must have a simple message for those who secretly despise constitutional democracy, and wished that they could tyrannise over us again.

We must make them understand clearly that we will  constantly reiterate one point (especially to those of them who would enslave us if they could: to enable them  reclaim what they lost when foreigners once occupied our country in the colonial era): that this is still a democracy and that we will not allow them to behave as if they owned our homeland Ghana and we were their serfs.

They do not own our homeland Ghana. And neither are we beholden to them. We are not their slaves and we are not afraid of them at all.  And neither will we ever allow them to treat any of our fellow citizens as if they were their serfs.

As we are all aware, in every democratic society, Judges of the Law Courts act as arbiters in disputes between individuals, and between individuals and the State - and vice versa.

The Judiciary is therefore an important arm of government that is essential for the protection and safeguarding of the Constitutional rights of all who live within the territorial boundaries of the Leviathan that is the Ghanaian nation-state.

Members of our Judiciary also ensure that those who wield power in Ghana do not abuse that power and tyrannise over ordinary people.

Without the Judiciary Ghana would eventually become a tyranny - because of the propensity for politicians and senior public servants to abuse the powers of the offices they are appointed to.

Power, it is said, corrupts. Without the Judiciary, this country would become a totally corrupt police state, and no one in Ghana would be safe from arbitrary action by our vampire-elites.

And the law of the jungle would operate in our homeland Ghana, alas - with powerful individuals and groups pursuing their own interests at the expense of society and ordinary people: who would all be marginalised should that abomination ever occur in our country. God forbid.

It is therefore vital that all ordinary Ghanaians understand clearly why they ought to take an active interest in ensuring that Judges and their families are protected at all material times by the authorities.

And we must demand that those who threaten or harm Judges in any way are always prosecuted and jailed. An assault on any Judge is literally an assault on the sovereign people of Ghana and an assault on Ghanaian democracy.

That is why all the political parties in our country must rid themselves of their members and supporters who threaten or harm Judges. Such dangerous characters are beyond the pale - and people of  their ilk should never be allowed to become members of political parties in our country.

No one is above the law in our country - and our nation's Judiciary will always ensure that that basic tenet of democracy underpins their decisions in the Law Courts: to ensure that impunity does not take hold in our nation. The rule of law must prevail in Ghana.

Which brings one to the unfortunate demand by traditional rulers in Kumasi that the Hon. Kojo Bonsu, the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCA) of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), must be dismissed from office. Pity.

Do they not see the extraordinary work he is doing to enable the great cosmopolitan city of Kumasi rise again - and regain its past glory? If they remove the blinkers from their eyes perhaps it might help them see better.

Why are they being so unreasonable in what after all is a constitutional democracy that bars them from meddling in politics?  Have they also forgotten that they have no shared-role in governing our homeland Ghana in tandem with the Executive branch of government?

Talk about ancient 17th century mean-spirited pettiness in 21st century Africa. Amazing. And it is all based on the foolish pride of grown and accomplished men.

Do they not appreciate the hard work of the Hon. Kojo Bonsu - moreso when there has never been such unprecedented development of our second city's infrastructure since the 4th Republic came into being?

It is also a fact that Kumasi has never seen such dynamic leadership in the entire post-independence history of Ghana thus far - and one is sure that most of the city's residents will forever remain grateful that the Rattery Park came into being during the Hon. Kojo Bonsu's tenure as the MCE of the KMA.

So why do some Chiefs in Kumasi want him dismissed? Talk about ingratitude. And talk about a nest of vipers. Talk about sheer vileness.

No self-respecting government in 21st century Ghana must ever cave in to such absurd demands under any circumstances.

It is intolerable that Chiefs in Nkrumah's Ghana should make such arrogant and totally unacceptable demands in what is a democracy underpinned by the rule of law and  due process.

With respect, Chiefs in Ghana - the beneficiaries, let us not forget,  of inherited privilege that is a throwback to an antediluvian system from our precolonial feudal past - would be wise not interfere in the administration of this country.

For their own good, this blog  will outline an example of the fate that could befall them if they choose to continue proceeding along the path that some of them have now chosen to trod on.

All lands held by Chiefs in trust for their people could be nationalised one day, and placed in a land-bank access to plots of land from which will be available only to holders of tickets in a special National Lotteries Authority (NLA) lottery, to raise money to fund affordable housing initiatives across the country.

That lottery will be reserved for only Ghanaian citizens nationwide and will help improve the living standards of the masses of the Ghanaian people on a sustainable basis by giving them access to modern housing.

Ordinary people will no longer be beholden to Shylock landlords and will finally have access to well-designed and well-built  modern houses and apartments they can easily afford to own in new green communities.

It will also ensure the equitable redistribution of all the land taken away from those whom an old wag I know refers to as "Those sodden leeches!"  across the country.

The monies raised by the said national housing lottery will fund the nationwide affordable housing initiatives - in which holders of  winning tickets not allocated houses or flats in affordable housing initiatives are  provided with long-term loans at 3% interest to build their own homes on their newly-acquired plots.

Those long-term loans will be repaid in installments over 25 years in  creative fashion: in the form of agreed reasonable monthly rent payments that will be regarded as loan repayments. Nananom, yesii se wu enim owua, shwe ennda. Hmm...

If Chiefs in Ghana do not want to hasten the end of the institution of Chieftaincy, as happened in India in 1971 - when the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi finally abolished the last remaining privileges of India's Maharajahs - then they would be wise to develop thicker skins than they currently posses.

And they need to be a tad more grounded in all their interactions with their fellow citizens across what is a nation of diverse-ethnicity in which no tribe is inferior or superior to another - and in which all citizens are equal before the law.

In that regard Chiefs in Ghana would be wise to follow the advice of the British writer George Eliot (1819-1880): "A few idle words about us, we must not mind that, anymore than the old church-steeple minds the rooks cawing about it."

Many in Ghana - including this cantankerous old fool Kofi Thompson - respect all Chiefs in Ghana, and regard them as important members of Ghanaian society, whom we must  honour as noble private citizens.

However, there are also many who despite the respect they show to Chiefs, because they are important members of modern-day Ghanaian society, at the same time also regard Chiefs as a clear and present danger, to Ghana's status as a unitary Republic.

Such patriotic and nationalistic citizens also regard the institution of Chieftaincy as a bulwark of tribalism that poses a latent threat to the cohesion of our homeland Ghana - and therefore take a very dim view of it.

In their view the institution of Chieftaincy ought to be abolished - if Ghana is to ever develop into a truly modern and prosperous society: which is an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

No nation on the surface of the planet Earth has ever progressed  without first abolishing feudalism. That is why India's post-independence rulers moved swiftly to abolish the kingdoms of India's  Maharajahs. We must also abolish the institution of Chieftaincy for the same reason.

We can all see the difference that that wise decision taken by its first post-colonial era leaders has made to India's transformation from a backward agrarian nation into a global economic power - whiles Ghana is yet to fulfil even a quarter of its full potential.

If only time had permitted President Nkrumah to focuse on ridding our country of the Chieftaincy institution. Hmm, life...

Inherited privilege is the greatest enemy of meritocracy. Ghana has to become a meritocracy if it is to be transformed into a prosperous society - so we must no longer tolerate the inherited privilege of today's progeny of the  precolonial ruling elites.

That antediluvian and invidious system bears sole responsibility for the mentality-of-serfs that afflicts so many in Ghana - who have been brainwashed into thinking that somehow Chiefs are the repository of Ghanaian culture: and therefore the institution of Chieftaincy ought to be maintained.

They are not the embodiment of Ghanaian culture. Culture is a lived-experience shared by all Ghanaians. It does not lie in locked golden chests in the palaces of Chiefs.

On the contrary it is on display in many aspects of our everyday lives, such as our participation in  traditional marriage ceremonies, child naming ceremonies, how we mourn family and friends who pass away, how the different generations are supposed to relate with each other, etc., etc.

In any case if we are so in love with the idea of having Chiefs, why do we not simply abolish the Chieftaincy institution, and  operate on the assumption that every Ghanaian is a "royal" and can therefore stand in an election to become Ghana's elected Monarch?

Such a Monarch will be elected to serve for a 5-year tenure and have the same powers that Ghana's President currently has under the 1992 Constitution.

The elected King or Queen can only serve as Monarch of the Royal Kingdom of Ghana for a maximum of two elected 5-year tenures. Perhaps an ex-Chief might even be elected as Ghana's first elected Monarch one day if we decide to transform Ghana into the world's first elected Constitutional Monarchy. Cool.

Our elected Monarch's will definitely not ride in palanquins and be carried around on the heads of their fellow human beings in the name of "culture" and "tradition". No. Never. Not in the Royal Kingdom of Ghana.

Any system in 21st century Africa that enslaves others so that they will always be available to carry their fellow human beings on their heads in palanquins, and to slave for them fetching and carrying till they die, is not worth preserving. Such systems are an affront to common decency and to humankind.

Chiefs palaces across Ghana are jam-packed with potential engineers, lawyers, medical doctors, architects, high-flying entrepreneurs, inventors, etc., etc. - forever salaaming to men and women,  a few of whom,  are even worthless characters, though noble-looking and of respectable demeanor: judged by their unspeakable and vile deeds behind closed doors away from the public gaze.

It will be a grave error of judgment on the part of President Mahama's administration to remove the Hon Kojo Bonsu, from his position as the MCE of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly - merely because a few Chiefs felt and still feel slighted by him.

That is not how a nation with aspirations is governed. For many fair-minded Ghanaians - who think it is an unfair criticism -  sacking the Hon. Kojo Bonsu for such a frivolous reason  will only confirm what some of his critics say about the President: that he is spineless.

Let him prove those critics wrong in this particular instance: by making it plain to the Chiefs in Kumasi who are at loggerheads with the Hon. Kojo Bonsu because they feel slighted by him that it is simply out of the question to sack Kojo Bonsu just because Chiefs feel slighted by him.

He must remind them that  they all know perfectly well that they have access to him 24/7, and will always have his ear, but sacking any MCE or DCE in Ghana on grounds of slighting Chiefs, could land him in the Law Courts for abusing their human rights: meaning it is best they made their peace with Kojo Bonsu by finding a suitable face-saving formula for that purpose. Simple.

Incidentally, what good did his sop to the Machiavellian Akyem Abuakwa State Council do to him?

Was all he had to do - instead of apologising for speaking the truth in that instance of proud Chiefs feeling slighted by state officials - not to have simply gotten a few of those slippery snakes from that particular  nest of vipers, to survey the harm that illegal gold mining has caused to the natural heritage of that part of Ghana from the air by helicopter: so they could see for themselves why Akyem Abuakwa is indeed the galamsey capital of Ghana? But I digress.

With respect, Chiefs in Ghana are in no position to make any such demands on those who govern our country. Period.

Their arrogance in that needless confrontation with the Hon. Kojo Bonsu is a typical example of the dangers inherent in our Byzantine system that we must confront boldly if Mother Ghana is to ever progress. This blog rests its case.

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