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Paying Lip Service To Inclusive Governance: The Case Of Dr. Edward Mahama
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It is so sad that we have allowed unnecessary and destructive partisan politics to divide us and to derail our development. We are so internally fragmented on political lines that we hardly have a consensus on any issue. Perhaps, the only time politicians or Ghanaians in particular come to a confluence in taking a decision or in taking an action is when such a decision or action will benefit them as individuals. We all hardly think about Ghana when we are acting or taking a decision.

There is no gainsaying that Ghana is still at the base level struggling against the colonial legacy of underdevelopment, characterised by extreme poverty, high levels of illiteracy, poor sanitation and squalid living conditions, and hunger. Any trite observation of the lives of many Ghanaians will reveal that Ghana’s level of development is not appreciable. The problems that have burdened Ghana’s development require all Ghanaians to be on board to develop the country. It should be in the interest of all Ghanaians that the country prospers and takes off from its multiple challenges.

Following the urgency to develop as a nation and to catch up or overcome countries that have far taken off, many of our politicians have always paid lip service to inclusive governance. But, most Ghanaians squirm when politicians decide to practicalise the idea of inclusive governance. Perhaps, the attempt by General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong to introduce a form of inclusive governance known popularly as Unigov, which was amalgamation of military and civilians, in the later part of his administration, has considerably informed the fear Ghanaians have about inclusive governance. Obviously, Acheampong had an ulterior motive of neutralising opposition and also seeking legitimacy for his government, which had sunk in fame after his failure to consolidate the glorious Operation Feed Yourself Programme.

Today, Ghana is almost at a crossroad. The expectation of many Ghanaians about the NPP’s government is very high. The last time I went to Cape Coast, I was amazed at the way we timely reached our destination without having to suffer the usual build-up around Kasoa, following the construction of the flyover. This caused me to reflect over what, aside some obvious reasons, contributed to ex-president John Mahama’s defeat in last year’s general elections. Any objective analyst will admit that ex-president John Dramani Mahama paid his due to Ghana. This is not to say that he had no shortfalls in some areas, since failure is part of the flow of life.

Since the announcement of Dr. Edward Nasigri Mahama’s as ambassador-at-large by the president of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufu-Addo, many Ghanaians, particularly members of the People’s National Convention (PNC), have taken Dr. Mahama to the cleaners. Most of them see Dr. Mahama as a traitor, who has betrayed the cause of PNC. There are a few others who think that while the claim to inclusive governance is pleasing to the ear, it is dangerous as it neutralises opposition.

I have no disagreement over the fact that responsible opposition is very relevant for any political administration. In fact, leaders who had no responsible opposition did not achieve their best. Most of them failed miserably. There are those who argue, for instance, that Nkrumah’s perceived failure was partly because he stifled opposition. By stifling opposition, sycophants and praise singers had the day!

But will inclusive governance actually neutralise opposition? I don’t think there is a necessary any correlation between inclusive governance and responsible opposition. Here are my thoughts: First, whether the opposition or the ruling government, I presume that the basic concern or interest is to develop Ghana. So, whether NDC, NPP, PNC or any other political party in Ghana, my thinking is that Ghana is the number one focus. Therefore, all oppositions and all criticisms are directed at building a better Ghana. If this is true, then what it means is that when it comes to Ghana, any person with the necessary skills, regardless of his partisan affiliation, should be brought on board to build Ghana. In other words, if politicians are indeed committed to the Ghana Agenda, however we define it, then I see no sense in the outcry against Akufu-Addo’s appointment of Dr. Mahama. My understanding is that if Dr. Edward Mahama is driven by his passion to contribute to building Ghana and not any selfish motive, then obviously he will resign if he finds out that the NPP have a superficial service to building Ghana.

Second, I want to believe that all political parties will eschew destructive partisan politics if Ghana is at stake. Here, I know that the PNC wants to see Ghana progressing; just as the NPP wants to develop Ghana. What this means is that there is a point of convergence, which is Ghana’s development, for all political parties. In other words, while the approach and political philosophy may differ, which is true of virtually all democratic societies, Ghana’s development is the overriding reason for the establishment of political parties and running for political office. If we accept this, then it means that Dr. Edward Mahama, who has tried many times unsuccessfully to lead Ghana as president, now has the opportunity to bring his best brains to bear, as ambassador-at-large.

Third, and finally, I want to believe that in national politics, there is neither permanent enemy nor permanent ally: we have permanent interest. Dr. Edward Mahama may have served as opposition leader of the PNC to the now NPP government. But, must he always be in opposition, especially if he begins to see things differently? If he sees potential in the present administration, must he turn down an offer to him to serve a nation he has spent much of his energy to serve? Is his acceptance of the appointment not an attestation to the saying that, ‘It is a fool who does not change his mind’?

I will have no qualms if Nana Akufu-Addo will bring on board great minds from all the political parties to push Ghana forward. If Ghana prospers, all Ghanaians irrespective of their party affiliation will benefit. The Akan put it this way: “Se nkwan ye de a, Tano se bi nom.” To wit, “If the soup is tasty, Tano tastes it.” We must get united to move Ghana forward, without neutralising responsible opposition. No party is bereft of great brains; what must be done, therefore, is for all of us to get on board. To undermine the ruling party is to undermine Ghana.

Charles Prempeh ( [email protected] ), African University College of Communications, Accra
Source: modernghana.com

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