It is sad! Dirty politics is threatening to ruin everything nice in this country. We do not have any common interests anymore. In the name of politics, we are competing with ourselves to put national security at risk. When the ugly noises started, mainly from the corridors of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), that Ghana had invited the United States of America to set up a military base this country, the conventional wisdom was that those making the loudest noise had, perhaps, not averred themselves to the spirit and letter of the Ghana-US Defence Agreement.
The tragedy is that those making the loudest noises know or ought to know everything about what is in the agreement. From the very beginning, they were well-informed that no American has the permission of the State of Ghana to raise a brick or mortar in this country in the name of that agreement. And yet, knowledgeable men and a few women ran around creating fear and panic in the general population, that the United States of America is about to unleash something terrible on this society as a result of that agreement.
Some even suggested that by that agreement, President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration had sold this country to the United States, and that the Americans would soon bring in nuclear and chemical weapons and other dangerous war equipment to put the lives of ordinary Ghanaians at risk.
From radio discussions to demonstrations on the streets, the ordinary people of Ghana were conned to believe the agreement meant that this country has signed the death warrants of all its citizens. Yet officials of the National Democratic Congress pressing the fear button had previously worked with similar agreements, signed in 1998 and 2015, on the blind side of the population of this country.
The only difference is that both the 1998 and 2015 documents remained largely secretive, while the 2018 agreement was ratified by the people’s representative in Parliament. What is still baffling is that at the committee stage in the House, we were told that out of the 24 members present, the opposition NDC had 14 members. This means that there were only 10 members from the government NPP side. By conventional wisdom, the 14 members could have rode-shod over the minority 10. How the 10 came to be more than 14 in this particular exercise is the riddle of the century. Yet, NDC officials and their surrogate members in other minor parties came firing on all cylinders that the government had short-changed Ghanaians in that agreement.
The ugly noises reached a crescendo, when party bigwigs called their members on to the streets of Accra to protest against what they knew too well would not happen. Even when the Head of State broadcast to the nation explicitly stating that there is no military base involved in the agreement, and that the Defence Agreement was couched in the same manner as previous defence pacts with the United States, the naysayers would not budge.
The emphasis has now shifted from the agreement itself to the presentation on it by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. NDC officials and their surrogate partners are now accusing the Head of State of being arrogant and disrespectful in his presentation. Some are even suggesting that by his reference to front-line politicians who had previously worked with similar agreements, Nana Akufo-Addo had insulted the good people of Ghana.
The good thing is that the people of Ghana are discerning enough to understand the political game the NDC and its surrogates are playing. With the massive loss at the polls still ringing in the air, nearly one and a half years after the event, leaders of the party Jerry Rawlings founded have apparently strategised to use every opportunity to cause disaffection against the ruling party and its leader.
At the weekend, former President John Dramani Mahama gave the game away, when he suggested at a party rally, after what the NDC described as a health walk at Wa, the Upper Regional capital, that President Akufo-Addo and his government are ‘super incompetent.’
Thank God Ghanaians have a fair idea of what constitutes an incompetent administration. The last time the NDC tried to form a government after taking over from the NPP, it took them two years to get their ministers in place. The Akufo-Addo regime was up and running within the first six months of coming to power. A number of social interventionists policies like free the Senior High School (SHS), and allowances for student nurses and teachers in training, as well as the One District One Factory initiative, have all been launched. The Special Prosecutor is already in place. This administration is motoring. On the contrary, the NDC is trying to regroup after their humiliation at the polls.
The Chronicle would like to believe that politics is aimed at improving the quality of life of the ordinary person, and not making noise for opposition sake. Out of government, and with plenty time on their hands, the leaders of the NDC have apparently come to believe that the only means of drawing attention to themselves, is to make ugly noises. It is all much ado about nothing, William Shakespeare once wrote. “He brings disaster upon his nation, he who neither sows a seed or lays a brick, nor mends a garment, but makes politics his occupation,” our apologies to Lebanese writer Khalil Gibran.