Would You Rather Be Governed By Demagogues Or Servants With Integrity?

Are Ghanaians happy with the dysfunctional state that stands between them and a better life?

With all that we know, and have access to in the media, voters keep voting for demagogues.

With all the corruption, crime, poverty, and theft running rampant, how are we still voting for shady and bad leaders?

Who is voting for these people?

At this point, should we go back to our traditional chiefs?

Should we trust the poor voters to overthrow the corrupt elite, and create a country where political rights are much more broadly distributed and the government is accountable and responsive to citizens?

A demagogue is a populist politician who uses lies and emotions to arouse citizens, especially the poor against the rich, elites by scapegoating opponents and exaggerating issues to stoke fears among the poor. Demagogues do not factually discuss issues but promise everything to everybody; appealing to the passions rather than the reason of the public; and arousing tribal, religious, and class prejudices— people whose lust for power is without recourse to principle.

They like the tag ‘man of the people’ and claim to be friends and benefactors of the masses. They are not. They are leeches who suck the blood of the poor for their selfish aggrandizement.They abound in Ghanaian politics now, products of a so-called revolution that ushered in the Fourth Republic.

The role of political leadership is to articulate a vision and attract relevant expertise to translate that vision into practice.We have become a nation that is surrendering itself to be led by non-visionaries. The current leaders cannot see into the future, let alone imagine Ghana beyond the current tide of economic destruction.

Ghana is poor because it has been ruled by a narrow elite that has no vision and has ruled this country for its benefit at the expense of the vast majority of the people. Each election cycle brings its demagogues – social predators … and like all predators they are looking for feeding grounds.

The majority of politicians in Ghana are demagogues and they are causing major problems in the country. These demagogues are failing to provide any leadership in moral, fiscal, political, or educational areas, as well as in the economy and infrastructure. Unfortunately, we elect these incompetent leaders with no integrity, and reliability into office and they are destroying the country. In December, we will be called to a decision. Which leader will you vote for? Remember, the impact of your choice will matter, not just for you but to your children and love ones.

Meanwhile, the country is slipping backward and wavering on the brink of internal implosion. Our collective problem is poverty. Sadly, none of our political parties seem to have answers to this collective problem. Rather, our political parties are becoming havens of vicious networks of blue-collar criminals. Most are violent, anti-democratic, totalitarian parties, and hardly talk about the finest political ideals to promote the rule of law, expand freedom, and promote prosperity.

Ironically, our politicians have more in common than we might think. Most are not driven by any ideology. They claim to be pragmatic.However, they believe in government magic. Conjuring white rabbits from the hat of the IMF, the World Bank, and China is the favourite act. Our poverty is simply caused by rapacious political leadership supported by predatory governance institutions. The white rabbits can only help to assuage the hunger pains, but cannot help in prosperity and development.

All of them ignore history. The majority of our politicians look at colonialism, imperialism, and neo-colonialism, and refuse to see our independence as an opportunity to allow ordinary citizens to become independent members of the international community. Our reality is the demagogues who rule us are unable to create an environment for basic services to enable ordinary people to create wealth.

Our politicians are pure evil. Our politicians are serial promise failures. They encourage and respond to special interests. They do not believe in republican democracy. Their so-called belief in multi-party democracy is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron.  The failure to maintain and enforce law and order provides a breeding ground for cronies to perpetuate crime with impunity.

The only “freedom” and ‘justice’ the demagogue believes in is total control of people’s lives, of course, that is not ‘freedom’ nor ‘justice’. Our politicians do not understand the root cause of our economic problems. That is why their solutions are questionable at most times.

Of course, demagogues exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy by appealing to the lowest common denominator of a large segment of the population. They often blame others and advocate for immediate, populist short-term action to address a crisis, while enacting policies that cause millions of Ghanaians to struggle financially and live on the edge of poverty due to higher taxes and wealth redistribution.

Our politicians, in spite of their rhetoric are not fighting a war. They have become partners in a joint venture kept alive by strategic silences, willful blindness and mutual self-interest. Together, they are creating an environment fertile for corrupt crony-capitalists at the expense of real producers of wealth.

Ghanaians find themselves stuck between these two opposing factionswho sold their souls to the Bretton Woods institutions. All believe in aid, centralised control of the economy, and seek power only for the ‘chop-chop’. Politics is not supposed to be a game of ‘chop-chop’. It is supposed to be a way of working out problems together in pursuit of common goals.Sadly, Ghana has become a country where right and wrong are no longer opposites, but only shades of partisan difference in the pursuit of the ‘chop-chop’.

If we were to offer any advice towards the December elections, it would be: that voters should treat every person who asks for their votes with promises of easy wealth with a healthy dose of suspicion. Voters should make their decisions with caution. Our office seekers who look so attractive and express promises simply and theatrically but say nothing about how they will achieve them because usually, they are impossible, are just power-hungry incompetents — or worse.

Ghana needs better leaders, however, citizens will not get them until they begin to demand more from those who come for their votes. We should root for political leaders who are unfailingly honest, trustworthy, and best of all, capable of finding answers to catastrophic fiscal, economic, cultural, and politicalproblems. Massive spending, debt, and corruption makecitizens loseconfidence in the country’s economy. We need to solve these problems but, cannot until we wake up from our partisan slumber and ‘just say NO’ to bad leaders.

Our politics has one main problem — overflowing with the vice of the young and the old, and so often falling into debates between people who perceive reality differently. The vacuum of visionary leadership is noticeable. Our institutions seem locked in battles between entitled young people, with no experience and, in their 30s and 40s bent on power-seeking for the money, seemingly unconcerned with probity and accountability.

The question as we move into 2024 is this: would Ghanaians prefer to still live under a colonial economic structure system that isskewed, dictatorial, and requires complete subservience to shady demagogue politicians and lackluster presidents willing to blame our economic decay on external factors than on the decline of individual property rights, family values, hard work, and bad policies.

Things must change.But things will not change, and there will be no money in our pockets until the complacent and unengaged populace who lack the will to challenge the status quo, gather the courage to send a message to corrupt and incompetent politicians that they will not take their failures and betrayals that always lead to the destruction of investor wealth and impoverish the people of our nation anymore.

In 2024 we do not need grandstanding narcissists who believe that the pursuit of power is a race to win at all costs by crass manipulation and exploitation of voters. We need courageous and visionary leaders with integrity, intelligence, shrewd judgment, and a questioning mind. They are difficult to find.  But that is what we need.This is our last chance to avoid a precipice and the last opportunity to steer our country in the right direction.

Going into the 2024 elections, poor voters should reject the Orwellian double-speak and rhetoric. Otherwise, we will continue to be governed by people with no clear path to tomorrow — demagogue totalitarians and idiots, only in for the ‘chop-chop’.

By Kwadwo Afari


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