In light of the ongoing #FixTheCountry campaign to put pressure on the government to resolve the myriads difficulties facing the country, a private legal practitioner, lawyer Eric Delanyo Alifo challenges the youth of Ghana to equally rise up against what he terms as “extreme monetization of politics in Ghana.”
According to him, the political future of the youth is in serious jeopardy if the current flagrant spending by politicians to bribe and influence voters to vote for only the rich, does not stop quickly. He thinks it is absurd to find some youths in Ghana who attempt to justify or make excuses for the sordid practice, and canvassing for its acceptance as a new norm. To him, the issue is critical, with far-reaching consequences for the future of the nation, and must therefore receive urgent attend.
READ HIS FULL MESSAGE AS FOLLOWS:
FOR THEIR OWN BETTER FUTURE I CHALLENGE THE YOUTH TO RISE AGAINST EXTREME MONETIZATION OF OUR POLITICS.
I cringe whenever I hear or read from our youth, arguments that seek to justify the disgusting profligate spending that has characterized our politics in the last many years, particularly through very high filing fees imposed by political parties on potential contenders for elective offices, on one hand, and the direct bribery of the electorate (delegates) by those running for political offices for the electorate to vote in one way or the other, on the other hand.
This issue is critical and has far-reaching and dire consequences for the future of our nation, and it is why I think it requires urgent attention.
You would often come across statements like, “this will never change;” “it is the root cause of corruption but nobody can do anything about it;” “as for politics, you cannot do it if you do not have money;” etc., etc. Whenever statements such as these are made by the youth, I feel like telling them that they are becoming iredeemably hopeless and I feel so much pity for their future and that of their children, both born and unborn.
At almost all levels in our politics, in recent times, we are failing to elect the right people — the most competent, honest, and hardworking to occupy political offices and serve our people. This is so because often, these categories of people do not usually, have very deep pockets to, first, surmount the high filing fees their own political parties ask them to cough out in order for them to be allowed to contest for elective positions in the name of the parties; and then later find the necessary funds to bribe the delegates of their parties to vote for them.
Instead of electing people, who will present good plans and programs to the electorate, and give them messages of hope, we are rather electing people, who from the onset would be planning about how much they shall give to each delegate to buy their consciences, and bribe them to vote in particular ways — for the rich guys, who may not necessarily be up to the task.
Apart from the egregious nature of corruption this breeds, it also promotes mediocrity, and results generally in bad governance. We then become persistent complainers because nothing would seem to work for us well in many areas of our society with the wrong persons in charge — *_round pegs in square holes_*, as is normally said. Why will anyone not want this situation to change and for us to have some real hope for the future, and for our plight to turn around? And why will the youth, whose future is in serious jeopardy as a result of this despicable state of affairs not be angry enough and rise against this canker in the same manner as the #FixTheCountry crusade is evolving, but instead advance arguments in support of why the stupidity will not stop?
It is important for our youth to know that those of them who may have political ambition, and may be very capable too, but who may not be extremely rich may never be able to achieve their ambitions if the foolishness continues. This, I think must provoke our youth enough to want to rise and take up this fight.
I have never shared in the opinion that the extreme monetization of our politics may never stop. I appreciate all the arguments in support of that notion, but I notoriously reject all of them as they come, and hold the view that we as a nation can flush out the disease and sanitize our politics by good sets of legislations, and make it more attractive to more of the population.
In fact, the threats and challenges that we face, which convince some of our people to think that we cannot do away with the unecessary monetization in our politics had been faced several years back also in many developed democracies like the United States, and in Europe. But as wise as they were, they dealt with the situation (they fixed it) with good legislations.
We can equally pass good and reasonable electoral and political party laws that would proscribe the disgraceful practice entirely. We need good political campaign financing laws, and laws on the use of campaign funds. We will need good laws to regulate political lobbying and related matters as well. If these laws are made, and are strictly implemented alongside the many laws that are already on our books, the hopeless situation shall change in no time, I believe.
THE WILL AND COURAGE TO ACT
The will and courage of our political leadership to deal with the problem must be seriously questioned. They are the ones who can do something meaningful about the problem. As they refuse to act appropriately to address this problem, they make us believe that they are unwilling to act because they are the ones benefitting most from the reprehensible practice. I think pressure must be brought to bear on the government and the leadership of all the political parties to act responsibly on this issue.
Just recently, the General Secretary of my party, the NDC, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah was reported in the news as having lamented about the situation. I was glad to read the news item, because Mr. Asiedu Nketiah is in an excellent position to do something concrete and elaborate about the problem in our party. The starting point is to first appreciate the problem. It is obvious that he appreciates the problem. The next step is to have the will and courage to table it for a thorough discussion. We are patiently waiting for this next step, and I am hopeful that at the appropriate time, we shall see and feel his action.
Let me conclude this piece by saying that those who think that the extreme monetization of our politics, which many are troubled with is a new norm, and has come to stay, must rethink through it. I reject their propositions; it shall never become a new norm in the long term. My conviction is that as long as it is not a good practice, it shall never remain forever. It shall be fought vigorously and eradicated at all cost, someday. We only have to decide whether we want to start the fight now, or defer it to our children, or their children, or some other generation to fight it in the future. Methinks we must deal with it (fix it) now.
The views and hopes expressed in this piece constitute a better approach to fixing the future of our nation and of our youth than the situation, where we are throwing our hands in the air and saying nothing can be done about what we all know as a huge problem. I hope we shall rise to the occasion in good time enough.
Thanks for your time.
Eric ƉELANYO Aliƒo