Notes from the Ghanaman File: Our Talking Democracy must give way to Action

As the debate about our new government’s symbolic 100 days in office wanes, I have spent time to analyze the ills with our brand of democracy which makes the NDC and NPP as well as their followers think that talking their way to power and still talking for the four year cycle is what will take this country from the third world to a second or a first world. Forget about our middle income level status which doesn’t reflect in the well-being of our teeming citizens. Forget also about the international acclaim of this nation as the most democratic country on the whole of the African continent or south of the sahara.That is for the God given non-violent outcomes of our national elections after we are taken through some moments of sitting on tenterhooks like in the very recent one. I am concerned like others and even some international observers about the too much talk but little democratic actions to witness accountability, fight corruption and equitably share our national kenkey (ours shouldn’t be national cake). I have been met with the question of why our radio and TV stations start everyday with partisan political programmes which bring little results by a couple of non-Ghanaian friends. Truth is arguably, apart from Ghana, not many media houses globally invite political party activists to their platforms to debate every single issue from relationships to science and technology as well as give everything an NPP-NDC slant. My first observation of course as an industry person is that, we are either bankrupt of ideas to create radio and TV content or we do not seem to understand what system we are running. Often some industry people will tell me that professionals and technocrats are hardly available to share their expertise because of time or some of them say that if the issue has some political tinge, they don’t want to comment for the political hawks to descend on them. So if the political parties are available, they are the ones to use to discuss even religious or spiritual issues as if there are different Gods for the NDC and the NPP. Einstein is quoted to have said that; ”if you can’t explain it simply to anyone, you do not understand it well”. So I have been wondering why in our local parlance in Akan  ‘Democracy’ is called ‘Kabi ma me nkabi’,to wit let’s talk or  let’s discuss but in a rather lose form ‘talk but allow me to also have my say’. I am tended to believe that this is the very genesis of all the bad politicking we have seen for the 24 years into our democratic journey and which has been made worse since the liberalization of the airwaves which has given birth to the over 500 radio and TV stations across the country. Is democracy just about ‘all talk, or day’? Is it surprising then that we line up party reps on a daily basis on these platforms to respond or to deal with series of allegations and sometimes under very acrimonious circumstances? The general belief among the populace now is that, if anybody breaches any of our national laws or ethics, all he or she must do to find refuge is to become NDC or NPP and allege that he or she is being persecuted because of the political stance. And why not? Their supporters will rally round to build a hedge to save the person. Conversely, elsewhere on the same African continent, some of our compatriots practice a different form of democracy from our ‘talk-talk’ brand. In Uganda, Rwanda and other places, there is more involvement of the people in the democratic system than here. Out there, the systems allow people in communities to seek and are told of the cost of constructing roads,bridges,drainage systems etc once they are the direct beneficiaries. So now, let me ask you how much was spent on the re-paved road in front of your house or the cost of the on-going construction of the drains near your dwelling place? Please don’t give me that insulting answer that that’s why we have MPs and Assemblymen or Women.Yes,we have them but we are left in the dark by they not telling us anything about how they are spending money from our national  or local purse. So instead of getting us involved in running our own affairs, we deceive ourselves that we are well represented and so we must shut up and listen to political party people talk on radio and TV about some mundane stuff for four years and then come up with a pack of promises to let us vote for them to be in power to better their lives than ours. To be very honest with you, there are several issues we are not able to explain in our various vernacular or dialects and can therefore not appreciate how to get them done or implement properly. We must have more action than talking in our democracy. More anon!

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By Kojo Ackaah-Kwarteng, Head of Station,Onua 95.1 ]]>