I will want to begin my submission by quoting a political mogul, Hannah Arendt, who said: “Truthfulness has never been counted among the political virtues, and lies have always been regarded as justifiable tools in political dealings.”
Different people all over the world have different opinions on politicians and how sensitive they are to the plight of the ordinary people to whom they must remain steadfast and accountable to.
I am concerned, however about whether our politicians have lived up to expectation after coming out of colonization and imperialism. First of all, one needs to define the role of the politician in the governance of a state. If I am to go by the definition of the Oxford dictionary, it is a person who is professionally involved in politics, especially as an elected office holder.
Politicians are elected or appointed to serve the nation in the interest of the people and not the nation serving the politician. From the days of our first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to Prof K.A. Busia and now his Excellency Prof John Evans Atta Mills, the question still remains if those we have entrusted with authority are living up to the task given them by the people.
I am convinced our politicians are not acting as their manifestos, by which they were elected say. Interestingly, during elections they virtually kneel to the majority of the people who are poor, and begin to promise them bridges where there is no river.
These are the same politicians who after winning power turn their back to those they promised. These men in black suits only focus on personal gains without considering the plight of the ordinary people. Should it be the case that one must be a politician or have political contacts before he or she can be wealthy or live a meaningful life in a society? I cannot fathom why 60% of our population are in the agric sector and yet we cannot have sustainable food security. Fifty-two years after independence, we are still a raw-material-producing country instead of empowering our farmers by way of mechanization and also industrializing our nation to produce finished products for export.
It is with this that I think the GPRS 1 which sought to reduce poverty was a flop. The poor is getting poorer and the rich is getting richer. We can boast of the finest policies and laws and yet it cannot be implemented. One may ask what is refraining our politicians from implementing those policies, is it greed or selfish? They are best at being garrulity but cannot walk the talk.
In the last general elections I had an interaction with one of the presidential candidates and in his words, politicians keep repeating the same promises during every campaign period with regards to sanitation, shelter, infrastructure and other basic necessities and that he will want to change that when he gets the nod. As to whether he would keep to his words, it is another question we can interrogate later. For me those things he talked about are the major problems confronting most Ghanaians and no politician or government has been able to see that manifest. We live in an era were our capital city is raided by filth and lots of people dying of malaria. Accommodation has become a headache to many Ghanaians with huge rent advances making it difficult for people to be able to progress in life because all of their savings go back to rent. Many parts of our cities do not have good drinking water and consistent electricity supply for people to carry out their economic and social activities. If we face all of these in our urban cities, then much lives to be desired in our rural communities.
Politicians have consistently toiled with the educational system of the youth of this country through overt and covert means without being leery about their future. They have failed to extensively expand the capacity of our educational system and also provide quality education for the general well being of all. As at now students in the second cycle institution are in limbo as to their duration for the completion of their programme. I find it repugnant that many students still have class lessons under trees at the public basic school in this our generation. I am yet to see a politician whose children attend any of our public basic schools. All most of them are concerned about is the welfare of their relations and flaunting of their wealth causing affliction to the destitute in the society.
We inevitably need politicians to govern and make policies for us whiles they also need our mandate to govern us. It is how ever important that we all remain committed to the welfare and progress of the ordinary people in our society. Like Abraham Lincoln said “If you forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”
The onus of our politicians who hold political power is to ensure each and every citizen both the urban and rural dwellers have a better living condition and are able to engage in any legitimate socio-economic activity within a cozy environment for the enhancement of society.
Long live Political and Social Activism!
God Bless Ghana!
Email: [email protected]
Source: Author: Chief Obosu Mohammed
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