The wrong political seed we have sowed
By Whigham Robert Dundas
After 55 years of political independence, our politicians today are still basing their campaign messages on the provision of basic social amenities such as building of hospitals, construction of roads, eliminating schools under trees, provision of good potable water and a few to the masses just to get the enormous support of the electorates when voting days are drawing nigh which enables them to achieve power through the ballot box to effect social change.
When will the basic needs of the masses be fulfilled by our politicians when the electorates give them the mandate to rule so that we start counting ourselves as one of the developed countries? It has been everyday norm by our politicians who say we have everything, namely gold, timber, diamond, manganese and oil; yet we are still being counted as part of the developing world. What could have accounted for this?
Some of our politicians lack insight with respect to implementation of certain policies that will help effect social change. Some are afraid to effect the implementation of certain policies with the view that if they do so, they fear being voted out by the masses come any election day. A leader is someone who plans ahead of time, able to take risk regardless of the conditions attached and also do things right but not doing the right things at the wrong time.
In the view of ensuring an effective social change lies in the hands of the electorates who determine who should take charge of the administration of the country. These days, electorates do not vote on issues and policies structured by a political candidate, but vote on personality profile taking into account the personal looks, where he was born, the family he hails from, his religion, the school he attended and even the tribe he belongs to.
Therefore, regardless of how good a candidate’s policies maybe, to be able to get the nod to handle the country’s administration, he must belong to either party A or B. Aside this, he should forget becoming a leader.
This trend of voting, most especially, for our fledging democracy is very dangerous and this practice has accounted for our setbacks as political parties have used the mandate being given to them by the electorates to furnish themselves and families alone and have forgotten the development of the country upon which their campaign messages were based on while channeling least of the country’s revenues and resources to the developmental process.
Not until our politicians gain enough insight, they will still base their campaign messages on the aforementioned basic social amenities and our society will be at a disadvantage. Not only politicians must be responsible for our setbacks in the developmental process, but some of the masses have also played their part regarding this problem. Some people are hoodwinked to some selfish politicians who lure the electorates vote for some politicians and canvass support for them. Thus, they are afraid to expose them (politicians) when their actions pose a threat to the society.
Most at times, we claim human institutions are made up of errors and therefore we are bound to see certain mistakes because we are working with humans. Until this societal adage is nipped in the bud, our society will always be at a loss. Last month, an Italian court in a verdict that sent shock waves through the scientific community convicted seven prominent Italian earthquake experts including a former government official of manslaughter in a six year jail term for failing to adequately warn the public about a fatal 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck in the central Italian city of L’Aquila in 2009 which killed more than 300 people. This is unusual knowing that earthquake, just like any natural accident can never be predicted, yet these experts have been imprisoned.
Even people have been jailed due to a natural cause, how much more the things we are responsible for? We all the time shift the negative outcome in the process of our work to being it a human institution and therefore mistakes are bound to occur, and until we change our style towards every aspects of human endeavors, the society will always be at a loss.
It is time we ensure people who make unpardonable mistakes to the detriment of the society are severely dealt with to serve as a deterrent for others. But what do we see these days? We have several corrupt officials not only in government; that whenever they indulge themselves in corrupt practices, they resign the next day and no actions are taken against them and that is why a former Italian prime minister and president of football giants AC Milan Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to a year in prison for tax fraud regardless of his position. This is how far development has gone.
Even though we need a God fearing and an incorruptible person to transform our nation, this person must ensure that the people he works with should do same. The leader must be able to take firm decisions and ensure that policies which will affect social change are implemented but not policies which seek to enrich the pockets of himself and his colleagues.
We always wonder why the advance countries are always moving on in terms of development and invention of new technologies, but here in Africa developments are stagnant and even that, there is no culture of maintenance of the already existing developmental projects.
The answers are not farfetched. They are focused, less corrupt, they have vision, they put their society’s needs first and they do not say “we are putting measures in place” nor “everything is in the pipeline” but say we have done it already” or “tomorrow it will be done”. Members of parliament in the developed world do not fancy fleet of cars, but what do we see here? We have failed to put down an effective working system to ensure the benefit of all the masses. If one does not belong to a particular group, he does not enjoy the benefits that are coming.
All these have accounted for our setbacks in the developmental process, and not only in the country alone, but the continent in general. A renowned Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his fellow investigative journalists, Sorious Samura from Sierra-Leone in a documentary for Al jazeera English, “Africa Investigates” uncovered the truth behind illegal timber business in the country and discovered that the office of the vice president of Sierra-Leone was used to perpetrate such corruptive acts by paying money to enable the logs be shipped to China which were in popular demand.
We appear to have sowed the wrong political seed which has accounted for our setbacks and it is of these corruptible practices and unacceptable behavior by our own people that is why our politicians are still basing their campaign messages on the provision of basic social amenities long after independence. I will be very surprise come 2032 if our politicians base their messages on the aforementioned social amenities. The electorates should consider the type of candidate they vote for when election time comes.
The writer is a student of Jayee University College, Accra.
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