Ghana flag

As a concerned citizen I have studied the nation within and from afar and the issues facing us all in our struggle to deal with our problems.

Ghana flag
Ghana flag

It is crystal clear that the problems we face as people are no different from those from facing leaders around the world. Most of them are man-made so we need to realize that they are not unique to us alone.

The world has changed dramatically in the 21st century and I believe those who are able to position themselves and take responsibility will be able to benefit from these changes in the world. The internet technology has opened a new frontier in business, education, governance, security and law enforcement that are unprecedented. To be successful in these areas, we need to spend time working and improving where we are as a nation instead of looking at places where we should be. Lack of knowledge, understanding and our unwillingness to confront the issue as people is fundamental to the problems we face as a nation.

It is an undisputable fact that globalization has come to stay. While some people see globalization as a threat to their very existence and are working very hard to maintain the status quo, others have embraced globalization as an added value because they see untapped potentials and resources in every aspect of it. According to Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler motors, the definition of globalization, is ‘

an English Princess with an Egyptian boyfriend crashed in a French tunnel, driving a German car with a Dutch engine, driven by a Belgian who was drunk on Scotch whiskey, followed closely by Italian Paparazzi, on a Japanese motorcycle, treated by an American doctor, using Brazilian medicine. This is posted by an American, using Bill Gates’ technology and you are probably reading this on a computer that uses Taiwanese chips and a Korean monitor assembled by Bangladeshi workers in Singapore plant, transported by Indian lorry-driven, hijacked by Indonesians, unloaded by Sicilian longshoremen, trucked to you by Mexican illegal.’

This is not to make fun of or downplay the seriousness of the Princess’ death but I want to drive a point home that to fear globalization is to fear change. Our lives as people in the 21st century have become so much connected that nothing is private anymore. Every information and access to information is at our fingertips due to the revolution in internet technology. It is from this premise of change and globalization that I want all forward thinking Ghanaians to look into our hearts and environment and to consider out actions in relations to our future. As a nation, we have to learn to advance by our mistakes or suffer and complain through the mistakes without doing anything about our problems.

Constantly confessing the sins and mistakes of one another has not helped and it will not help us emerge as victors from our problems. We need to move away from the mindset that created the problem before we can solve the problem. Albert Einstein observed that ‘the significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them’. This calls for a deeper level of selfless thinking that is base on principled centered paradigms. It is obvious that we cannot continue on the current trajectory in terms of the political and public leadership. We need to look at how we got on this path, which is a total diagnosis of the problems we face as a nation from our cultural values and perspective that drive performance of our work, decisions and behaviors.

I believe our constitution has sanctioned some political expediency and practices that are working against us. Many friends and experts have expressed the same sentiments over the years but the courage and the willingness to have that conversation and a healthy debate have not been there. Our unwillingness to have an open conversation about political and leadership situation is shrouded in political insults and finger pointing, to say the least. Every conversation about the Ghana’s problem is politicized with name calling and finger pointing in order to score political points.

Every constitution provides the strong backbone that a nation needs to stand up straight just as any healthy human being does. However, where there are inconsistencies that are potentially working against the nation, it will be difficult for the nation to stand straight in delivering the promise of liberty, freedom, justice for all citizens and the pursuit of happiness among other things.

In the late 1980s, (a little historical perspective) during the PNDC regime, it was clear that one party state was not conducive to national peace and development. This prompted the debate of returning the country to a multiparty democracy rule. This was when J H Mensah, Kwame Pianin, Nana Akufo Addo and many other leaders in the NPP organized a series of demonstrations to protest the state of affairs in the country. Some of these demonstrations became bloody as precious lives were lost in the process.

Finally, the PNDC regime accepted the call to return the country to the multiparty democracy rule. It became necessary to write a new constitution for the country moving forward. Within a couple of months, a drafted constitution was put before the people in a referendum which the people voted on. It should be noted that majority of the people both within and the outside government never considered the seriousness of the document they were voting on. I believe also the leadership within political parties did not realize the seriousness of the document they were asking the Ghanaian public to vote on either.

There were a series of issues that needed to have been discussed and debated on by the committee of leaders who wrote the constitution. The leaders were caught up in what Alexander George (1980) calls the over-advocacy trap. The PNDC government and the people calling for the new constitution were quick to agree on the nature of the problem by responding to it. They thought getting the constitution and people expressing their voice through the ballot box will eliminate the one-party state rule and strengthen the country’s democratic process. The disagreements among the constitution advocates did not cover the full extent of the issues facing the nation at that time. They also ignore the full range of dissenting views with respect the provision or the articles.

I believe the framers of the constitution dependent on a single source of information within the PNDC and most of the suggestions from the opposition were ignored. The Ghanaian public as beneficiaries was also quick to accept the drafted constitution in the referendum without probing the basis for the consensus on various articles and how they were achieved.

It is critical to point out that document as monumental and important as a constitution that establishes governments should not be changed for light and transient cause. However when there is a reason and a cause such as abuses and usurpation which prevent the citizens from pursuing their God-given rights, liberty, and justice then it is necessary for the people to dissolve the political bands which connect them with one another and form a new one (The US, Declaration of Independence 1776).

Ghana’s Constitution is one sided and it legitimizes and sanctions one party state rule under a democracy where the party in power has all the authority, making it difficult for the separation of powers within a true democratic system to work effectively. I believe one can technically say that Ghana has a dictator or emperor sanctioned under a democratic system. On the face of it, people may disagree with this assessment but I believe a little background information from the historical perspective will drive my point home for everyone. To be continued…

Source: frederick ofosu-amankwah



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