The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has condemned what he considers to be the “compulsive and obsessive” politicisation of issues in the country, which virtually compels people to look at every issue from the narrow and darkened prism of party politics.
‘We have allowed politics to dominate our lives and influence our thoughts that nothing else seems to matter to us, but the good of the party we support,” he stressed.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was speaking at this year’s Annual Democratic Lecture organised by National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in Accra.
The lecture on the theme: “Advancing together,” was to ensure that there is inclusiveness and participation by all marginalised groups in the governance of the society.
The significance of the occasion did not only lie in the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the inception of the Fourth Republic, but also the array of dignitaries who graced the occasion.
They included former President J. J. Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu; the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012 presidential election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; the President of the National House Chiefs, Professor John Nabila; the Chief of Staff, Mr Prosper Bani, who represented President John Mahama and Mr Frank Agyekum, who represented former President J. A. Kufuor.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said when the air waves were liberalised to allow a number of fm radio stations to operate people felt proud that it would lead to the expansion of the frontiers of freedom.
He said now people must be feeling as though “we are all encapsulated in a hot air balloon, adrift on the horizon with our senses and emotions outraged by a ceaseless cacophony of noxious party propaganda”.
He said the air we breathe is polluted with party propaganda and that every issue has been reduced to the level of party propaganda.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said Ghana have been pushed into the age of the howlers, typified by the emergence of a new profession called serial callers, whose mantle appears to be to torment the ears of people with venom on behalf of their party masters.
He said these serial callers are foisting on the nation a new culture of insult and abuse in the name of free speech and accountability.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said freedom of speech has never meant freedom to insult or defame without just cause, adding that people must be held accountable on what they did and not what others said about them.
He advised journalists not to mortgage the honour of their profession for a “pot of porridge”.
“In the most liberal environment, every citizen is entitled to the protection of his honour and integrity, and the citizen does not lose that right because he offers to serve his nation,” he said.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said the nation is so polarised that good is bad if you belong to one party, and bad is good if it’s the other way round, and no sober-minded Ghanaian can afford not to be concerned.
He said although he does not consider the nation doomed and in particular political parties and the media as inimical to the national good, he believes that God has given the country with all the potential for greatness.
“We have done well to give ourselves, the best constitution we can hope for, created the right institutions which, working together, should enable us build a strong and happy nation.”
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said political parties and the media are vital and indispensable in any democratic system of governance and the spread of enlightenment.
He called for de-politicisation of state institutions and creation of an enabling environment in which business can grow and flourish without undue political pressure.
He said granted that political patronage is a fact of life in all democracies Ghanaians need to be careful not to allow it to assume the corrupt proportions that can destroy the fabric of the economy.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said there are critical issues facing the economy requiring tough leadership on one hand, and national consensus on the other.
He said one does not have to be an economic genius to recognise there are tough challenges facing the economy.
He said considering the massive gap in infrastructural needs and the blinding challenges in education and healthcare delivery,” how can we justify spending nearly 70 per cent of national revenue on salaries and wages alone”?
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said “people heaved a sigh of relief when our doctors listened to our pleas and returned to work, but the fundamental problem remains, and we haven’t seen an end to the intermittent strikes that endanger our lives.
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