The year 2012 is gradually giving way to the campaign season in Ghana as the December election draws close. However, as a young student of intelligence actively engaged in rural reporting, I feel very sad and somehow disappointed in the way and manner my colleagues, the youth of our country, would be misapplied, mismanaged and misused during the season.
I write this article with deep regret, sorrow and much pain, knowing for a fact that when it matters most during this period, they (politicians) will call on the youth to act positively or negatively in their favour or against their opponents.
They will influence them to engage in all manner of activities, including violent clashes and after that they will dump them. I can imagine how hundreds of youth groups in the country would be carried on trucks to rally grounds by political parties. I can also picture the banter that would inform the control of affairs in some communities. I can also see the violent clashes that would define the rate at which blood would flow during the period, competitive vulgar language, fowl mouthing, vituperations and vampire debates over who is who, all waiting in circles as the campaign fever stretches to vulnerable communities in some constituencies; it is very sad indeed.
Suffice it to say without any equivocation that mentioning political activism in this piece, without stopping at nothing in mentioning reckless motor riding, would apparently open a Pandora’s box regarding how campaign events would be managed and conducted in the entire northern part of our country.
Interestingly enough, in all these scenarios I have mentioned, I feel pain that those seeking political offices in the country before, during and after the campaign period would distance their wards from participating. The last time I checked to ascertain the role that some of the wards of our political players would be playing; their role was to simply enjoy behind the drama scene.
Useful lessons to avoid previous pitfalls:
Violent clashes during the campaign period in the country cannot be discounted as we begin counting the days to the polls in Ghana. Political parties may pledge and insist they would not countenance violence, but when the momentum of the campaign reaches its crescendo, the possibility of youth groups clashing on daily basis would not only be a blot on the landscape, but would remain vivid pictures of what many might be expecting, the predictability of the actions and inactions of the African politician, misuse and misapplication of energetic human resource really taking shape, that obviously would be the crux of the matter on violent clashes.
In this dire circumstance, all the political players in Ghana would be blamed when violence occurs during campaigns because they have for many years decided that instead of protecting the youth and developing them to become useful citizens, they would rather buy them alcohol, marijuana and other aphrodisiacs during campaign periods to get them charged up in the execution of their mandate as field marshals, foot soldiers, cadres and lieutenants.
The terrible experience of our elections in the last five polls conducted in the fourth republic in the last two decades from 1992 -2008 has left many energetic young men and women amputated. Others have had to suffer seriously from broken bones, which made them limp. Eyes and ears in some cases have been chopped off by protagonists and antagonists during the violent clashes. Ghana at the end is the loser, as quality human resources continue to go down the drain without the commensurate results to show except the fulfilment of the selfish parochial interest of some few individuals in the country.
Whether you are young or old, when you read this piece presented here, do not blame the youth of our country for allowing themselves to be misused, but blame those using them, blame the falling standard of our politics, blame hunger and poverty, high illiteracy rate and above all weak moral structures such as religious bodies and family system.
Beyond engaging the youth wrongly, misusing them, it is clear that in front of the glass walls of age and gender, it remains hard for younger aspirants to reach top positions in the political arena and indeed climb the business or academic ladder; therefore you can also blame the aged in positions. That notwithstanding, one can equally blame the few youth activists who have been given opportunities to serve in various capacities in government for not representing the overall voice of their colleagues.
Even before the commencement of the actual game, the two main political parties in the country – New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) – during the biometric registration exercise already started accusing one another, with serious banter trade, sometimes correctly and sometimes wrongly over which one of them (party) is too do0 “gooder.” The noise and fury of internal matters of the two political giants coupled with external matters is promising hell for Ghana as we gear up towards the 2012 polls.
Extensive coverage of insults are already dominating headlines, and Ghanaians are beginning to witness the case of the ruling party’s young activists running down the flag bearer of the opposition, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, with what one could easily term as Rundown Opposition Heavy Machine (ROHM) while the opposition, instead of concentrating on alternative policies to offer Ghanaians, is equally launching unnecessary blistering attacks on government officials and what could best be described as Aggressive Anti Mills Strategy (AAMS).
The two parties are all using the word “monumental” on airwaves. As the former continues to stress on monumental achievements of the administration, dubbed “Unprecedented,” the latter continues to insist on monumental failure, dubbed “Gargantuan.”
Yet beneath the fray, the issues both claim to be using for the election is indicative of rehashing ancient tunes with old folklore revamped by young spin doctors, boot lickers and few “never do wells” jumping from one platform to the other all in the name of pay masters; this is unfortunate.
Accidents during electioneering campaign
The saying that one needs to study the past in order to make the present better is not in the dictionary of the politics of our country else issues of accidents on our roads during electioneering campaign periods would have been a thing of the past. The annual statistics regarding road accidents in the country is already mind-blowing, especially during the yuletide, but the situation gets compounded during electioneering because, during the same period on every four years, the national elections automatically coincides with the yuletide in December, therefore escalating the accident rate.
During this period, motor accidents that occur as a result of people rushing to meet party leaders on their way into constituencies and regions in the northern part of the country give serious calls for concern. The practice has caused a lot of damage and if not prevented this year could still claim lives and render many vulnerable. Most regional rallies in the country are usually the cause of this problem and yet people in authority would talk sweetly, but act little. Just like the violence situation, many young energetic Ghanaians who hitherto had the desire of using the political platform to transform their future would rather suffer the consequences of reckless conduct of their colleagues on our roads.
Many of the youth activists recruited as drivers during the period aforementioned would usually display with party vehicles, throw precautionary measures and courtesy to the winds, landing many into trouble in the process. Any advice regarding how political drivers conduct themselves would do this country good, especially effective training programmes specifically designed to equip the drivers to understand the ethics of driving, the rules of engagement during the period, as well as discipline. This perhaps could save the country from further losing the quality human resources that goes down the drain during this period.
Already the opposition in Ghana is losing confidence in the work of the police, raising red flags over how the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) has conducted himself. Subsequently, they demanded his head, asking for his immediate resignation or termination of service by the president, Professor John Evans Atta Mills.
While the dust over the misconduct of the IGP is yet to settle, a commander at the national headquarters, Deputy Commissioner DCOP Awuni, also incurred the wrath of the ruling party. In fact, if this development emanating from the camp of the Police Service is not worrying, then it must be understandably reaching the boiling point of the shrinking posture our security system is assuming as we head towards the 2012 polls. The reason is simple: if we cannot trust the institutions that we have set up to act on our behalf and cannot trust the people we entrust with our mandate to act on our behalf, then the future of the institutions is in jeopardy.
It is important therefore to find a solution to the problem before the momentum heat of the campaign reaches the zenith, else we may be running into a ditch, which cost we may not be able to quantify or count at a go. The credibility of the next election would depend largely on how the security institutions manage our conduct and behaviour, and if they cannot manage our conduct as actors and players of our elections, then we are doomed.
Currently, the army is silent though they were active during the 2008 elections and made sure we had very successful elections. Despite the danger that Ghana nearly encountered, we managed to scale through that. We are yet to see and feel their conduct and I pray it would not take any political dimension as we are beginning to witness in the Police Service. We have identified the earlier signals; I think players of the game must act decisively this time and let’s avoid the pitfalls of the past, before, during and after the 2012 polls.
Due to the proliferation of media houses in the country, Ghanaians are constantly anxious of finding out what the media is bringing out, therefore waiting in constant posture over the agenda being set by the media. Unfortunately, the accusations and counteraccusations of the two political giants are always assuming the position of agenda setting, which is making irrelevant issues take centre stages.
The media can help this country avert the troubles by setting up issues that are of prime importance to the nation and the people. No matter how political such issues maybe, they should not influence discussions on our airwaves, else the focus of the elections would still be centred on the constant noise worrying our ears on daily basis.
The issue of bread and butter should be the prime concern of every journalist in this country as they continue to promote the welfare of the average Ghanaian, instead of the break and scatter headlines we witnessed in the past, especially during electioneering campaigns.
Source: The Finder
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|