Our Wayward Politics: From Insults To Intimidation And Blackmail
The Insults have not completely stopped.
There is, however, a perceptible reduction both in frequency and intensity.
Those involved in this uncouth politicking are probably getting mature. Or wiser. Or both.
Or they may be running out of insults. Or maybe they have realised that badmouthing is alienating decent vote-worthy people.
Or maybe God the Omnipotent, the Omniscient and the Omnipresent has touched their hardened human hearts. If that is so, then to God be the glory.
Of course, some of the recalcitrant perpetrators still soldier on, even against the logic of the socio-political environment. Probably their addiction to bad manners and bad behaviour is so strong that they cannot tear themselves away from what is patently unacceptable. That is a big national shame.
Or perhaps it is their “survival chop money”, that is, their financial insurance, that is, the stubborn driving force pushing them into divisive subversive performance. But as the inscription on my favourite tro-tro vehicle proclaims, All shall pass. But at what cost to the nation? That is the crucial point.
That aside, the next pertinent matter we should worry about currently is the growing menace of intimidation and blackmail. It began a long time ago. But as is characteristic of dear Ghana, we seem to have overlooked that clear and present danger. The naïve hope is that the problem will die a natural death. Or we would rather harass and scream at our Creator to “command” that divisive evil away, conveniently forgetting that heaven helps those who help themselves.
Can that be part of the strategies of the mercenary exploitative sections of the booming religious industry? To package every “rubbish we commit here on earth to God in such a way that they can extort cash from gullible people to “buy” God’s mercy and forgiveness?
Of course, we should recognise that the menace of intimidation and blackmail go far beyond the boring politics of the National Democratic Congress versus the New Patriotic Party. It goes beyond the robust stance of the smaller parties, some of whose loud public posture on national issues is hugely disproportionate to their size, value and relevance.
If you have a political arrangement in which unjustifiable and needless threats are hurled not only at the government and the President, but also political leaderships across the board, there must be something wrong somewhere. Could that be the case of our negative ignorant political attitudes? Or is it a calculated sinister effort to cause confusion and disaffection?
Whatever the case, intimidation and blackmail must not be allowed to survive. We already have more than enough problems to contend with. If we haven’t had time to think about the problems, just consider these:
• When illegal squatters being evicted after all legal and humanitarian considerations have been satisfied threaten that unless they are properly relocated with running water and light, “we will not vote for you”. Or`“we will advise ourselves”, is that not blackmail?
• When vendors who have blocked streets and pavements and are being moved threaten that since they have to eat they will resort to armed robbery, what do you call that? There was even an occasion when a woman demanded that she needed a two-year grace period when, by that time, her son would complete his university education or ….
• When the Member of Parliament is harassed, threatened and blackmailed because he cannot tar the street or provide water, surely all is not well. Democracy becomes skewed.
• When bogus or tele-guided one-purpose NGOs of no real substance or significance issue provocative threats and ridiculous ultimatums to presidents, knowing fully well that the demands being made are unrealistic or patently impracticable, what can the motives be?
• When teachers intimidate female students to surrender their bodies else they risk low marks or outright failure, where is the nation driving to? Or when compromised teachers or corporate executives find themselves under constant blackmail because of itching, happy zip opening men, there is a problem.
• Consider this. Market women stubbornly refuse to clear the paths in markets to allow easy access by fire engines. Then the inevitable happens. Not only is the Fire Service castigated but the President of the nation is lambasted with all sorts of politically loaded threats. What type of democracy is this?
This is just the tip of the iceberg of intimidation and blackmail. But add to this the dirty contributions of sections of the flawed media. Take this instance. The promo proclaims: Coming soon: Chop chop at stomach politics corporation. In a number of cases, the so-called ‘chop chop’ is not exposed. Rather, secret ‘blackmail monies’ are extorted and that ends the matter. This has been going on for some time. I am aware of political actors and other ‘big men’ who have been victims of this evil practice because of secret corruptible deals or sexual indiscretions.
I recognize, of course, that neglect of genuine grievances can be a contributory factor. Evidently, where this occurs due to archaic bureaucracies or incompetence, insensitivity, arrogant officialdom, there could be frustration. That can push people to do crazy things. Unfortunately, that has been the practice over the years. It seems like authority itself enjoys being pushed and bullied into hasty nervous action.
If this is compounded by sinister political contractors craving for the opportunity to fish in troubled waters, then the worse can be expected. Democracy is definitely undermined.
Blackmailing does the nation no honours: therefore, it is crucial that the murky conditions that blackmailers exploit should be controlled or blocked. And, of course, blackmailers should be identified and dealt with vigorously. We should not allow blackmail to be another political industry.