Politics is said to be defined as ?who gets what? How and Where? In our part of the world politics is the most abused word used in the English language. We eat and drink politics daily, our societies are characterized with a diversity of interests, preferences, values and ideas and each of these directly or indirectly involve the use of resources and this invariably brings politics at a centre stage. The fortunes of Ghana looked brighter in our days of independence than it may be today, and what makes the big difference is the type of politics that has taken place in our country since independence till date.
Democracy is never the tool for development but the type of politics pursued in a country that determines its development. Neither authoritative nor autocratic rule is the tool for development but is the politics. As a country, we keep on making inferences with our independence mates, Malaysia and Singapore in terms of GDP and the level of development between Ghana and these two countries. What made the difference is not the type of regime exercised in these countries since independence but is the different politics pursued by the three countries which has made the difference.
The politics of a country comprises of the leadership of the country and the character of the citizens and that of the state, all these come together to form the politics that operates in a country and also determines the development of the state. Ghana is still behind the cloak of development because of the type of politics operated in our country. We vehemently do dirty politics, I mean politics characterized with ethnicity, bad leadership, indiscipline citizens, weak institutions etc. There has never been an occasion where the NDC and the NPP praises each other for something done, which means both parties have been doing the wrong thing all the time. Ghana can boast of a grown democracy but our democratic progress is not squared with our development, meanwhile the regular occurrence of elections does not per-se imply the good health of a democratic system, our attention must be paid to periodic examinations of our institutions and political system.
Ghanaians are gradually under valuing the usefulness of our democracy because of the lack of accountability, lack of social balance and the unfair distribution of wealth. We have come to realize that our politicians do not see us as citizens but they consider us as electorates, in this vein, they don?t provide us with lasting solutions to our problems but temporary ones to get the chance to woo us for votes. Democracy is a necessary condition for development and the politics we pursue plays a key role in fostering economic growth and the battle against poverty. Politics played an essential role in the development of Singapore. Had they not gotten their politics right, Singapore would have been like Ghana.
Politics in Singapore was difficult, corruption was rampant like what we have in Ghana today, unemployment was high, labor tensions and strikes were common but the government led by Singapore?s first Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew united the people to pursue a common goal of a better tomorrow, of a fair and just multi-racial society based on meritocracy and self-reliance. Articulating a vision was only the first step; the government earned the trust of the people to support the many policies that needed to be implemented to achieve the vision.
Ghana?s case was totally different, after independence we were divided between ethnicity and political factions with no common vision, and today is either NDC or NPP vision which does not get the full support of the people for it materialization due to our political differences. The Lee?s government walked the talked; he set high standards of integrity, competence and accountability in the country. In the case of Ghana, We have no integrity, indiscipline and corruption everywhere to the extent that some people condemn corruption just because they have not got the opportunity to be corrupt. It is the incompetent democracy as in the case of many African states which promote corruption, economic mismanagement, inefficiency, stagnation and decline in development. It is the politics that have ensured sustainable development in South Korea, Singapore, Botswana, Malaysia and South Africa and not the type of regime either democracy or authoritarian.
The current focus on governance and democracy as necessary ingredients for development is in wrong context, it is the politics and the character of the state which brings development. It is politics that will determine the kind and quality of governance and the effectiveness of its developmental capacity. And it is the politics which will determine the kind of state which is able to spur and shape development. Ghanaians can boast of a very vibrant democracy but my worry is that what will be the essence of our democracy if after 58years of independence our citizens die of cholera and road accident? What is the essence of our democracy if our teenage girls in the villages cannot afford sanitary pads when our politicians have iPods which they cannot even utilize? What will be the essence of our democracy when we cannot enjoy electricity for more than 72 hours in a week? We have to do clean politics devoid political witch hunting and alignment to our political DNA. We talk to the opposition as if they are foreigners and so the voice of the reasoning is not heard. We are not children of a lesser god, it can be done.
This piece was written by:
NTENHE NE FELIX,
3rd year political science student of KNUST,