Feature Article of Saturday, 8 December 2012
Columnist: Hoedoafia, Gameli Kewuribe
The Bourgeois or the Proletariat?
The opening paragraph of the 1992 constitution embodies a statement which sums up the way Ghanaians, as a people want to be governed. The constitution personifies our collective voice when it says “ We the people of Ghana, in exercise of our natural and inalienable right to establish a framework of government which shall secure for ourselves and posterity the blessings of liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity…………in solemn declaration and affirmation of our commitment to; freedom. Justice, probity and accountability…….…hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.”
The fourth Republican constitution is not very different from the three others we had post independence. However, since independence, Ghana has had four constitutions, several military interventions, courted numerous international organisations, and on their advice, tried a gamut of socioeconomic doctrine and concepts. Despite all these, the sovereign state of Ghana has largely failed to meet the aspirations of its people in the manner enshrined in our current constitution.
Plausible explanations abound depending on who you ask, and what their political philosophies and allegiances are. Perceptions of what has gone wrong and still going wrong depends on whether they are NPP or NDC supporters or overtly non political but with intrinsic political allegiance to one or both of the two major political parties in the country. I am not by any chance posturing that there are no other political parties in existence, far from it.
There are several other political parties such as the CPP, PPP, PNC, GCPP; albeit many of these and their leaders have usually backed one of the two big parties when push comes to shove, thereby losing their essence and the opportunity to distinguish themselves from the politics of the big two players. Nonetheless, these political parties with their mostly under resourced and sometimes incongruous leaders play a critical role in strengthening our relatively young and stable democracy.
Over the last 55 years, our country has had several presidents and opposition leaders with varying leadership qualities. We have had the forceful, persuasive, action orientated, leading from the front types, and we have also had seemingly benign but authoritative presidents. One may argue that there is a third category of leaders that our country has had the misfortune of having had; the damn clueless, ostensibly intellectual, effusive and snotty.
Once again, Ghana goes to the polls in search of a PRESIDENT. However, this time, our nation is at the cross roads because election 2012 is a so called “battle’, for the lord”. It’s a battle for the soul, values and transformation of our Country. We go to the polls to choose a President who will lead Ghana to the promise land. A president, who will not garrotte our nation, but create the climate in which our people can develop their attributes and potentialities to the full, unifying our collective energies for gargantuan socio-economic development.
Ghana, at its precipe, deserves a president who will not partition nor highlight our ethno-religious differences to establish a firm grip over the nation. Ghana deserves a president who is in tune with our aspirations and timeless values; not lily-livered but one who will roll up his sleeve, unify our diverse strengths and weakness and carry us, as a collective to socio-economic transformation.
So how do the two main candidates measure up? Crucially, Ghana is faced with two different political ideologies and Presidential candidates with distinct personalities.
The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Nana Akufo Addo, in his own words is a seasoned politician in Ghana and has been around for a long time. Many see this election as his last foray as he is much too old and should he lose, will not make the cut going against a more youthful and hungry pack waiting in the wings. He embodies right of centre political views and leads Ghana’s self proclaimed right of centre party.
Nana naturally by his actions and utterances believes in a class society where one group controls the means of production. According to Marxist theory, this group of people are the bourgeoisies relating to the social class that owns the means of producing wealth and is regarded as exploiting the working class. He often alludes to a vision of a society divided between the makers and the scroungers of the nation; an inherent policy theme of the New Patriotic Party. A party and its followers who believe that the best can only come from them and nobody else and that they are the best thing to ever happen to Ghana since turkey tail (kyofie). Indeed, a very bourgeois point of view which will go very well with hot coffee/tea in the scotching Ghanaian sun.
The NPP flagbearer seems to be suffering a certain crisis of ideology which reemphasis the view that he is naturally out of touch with Ghanaian reality. He proposes a very populist secondary education policy out of sync with his party’s ideology and goes about selling it with an affected, intolerant accent and posture. Over the last four years, Nana has travelled the length and breadth of this country; suffice it to say he must have seen the countless numbers of villages and towns with none or very little educational infrastructure. And yet, for the sake of living out his boyhood dream of becoming President; he comes out with an election mantra to provide free secondary education. Moving round, the poor peasants must have asked him, ‘na school dyn no wo hin’.
Travelling across Ghana, I have heard rural folks calling on government to provide them with schools both primary and JHS. If a proper audit were to be undertaken by the Ghana education services, I have no doubt that, it will show the need to construct about a 10,000 primary and JSS to enable average levels of access to education. Similarly, I have met young people who should be in SHS but currently are not because of limited school placement. Evidently, Ghana has a shortfall in ensuring access at this level too. I believe we need about 200 secondary schools per region to ensure full access to secondary education in Ghana. Now fast forward to election 2012 campaigns and here comes Nana with his free SHS policy! So out of touch!
Undoubtedly, his profile and life experiences reveal a lily-livered, bourgeois upbringing that naturally puts him out reach and out of touch with 98% of Ghanaians. He was educated at Lancing College, Sussex, England, after having left Oxford under very uncertain circumstances. The grapevine has it that his dismissal was as a result of his excessive abuse of substances not permitted on a University campus. From Lancing College, and the Oxford debacle, he came down to the University of Ghana, Legon, graduating in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Economics.
On the other hand, John Mahama, was born and bred in rural Damongo, schooled the Ghanaian way and toiled like millions of other Ghanaians on a maize farm in the sweltering heat of Northern Ghana. He has a very ‘grounded in tradition’ upbringing and naturally blends well with any crowd. He understands the pain and suffering of the common man and he is one with the calculated single mindedness needed to run this nation to prosperity.
President Mahama represents a new generation of leaders who are determined to pursue good governance and help make a difference in the lives of their peoples. Alongside President Mills, he worked very hard to stabilise a leaking economy left by the NPP. So that, with a firm foundation made towards sustainable economic development, Ghana is ready for lift off when he wins his own tenure of office in a matter of 12hours. May God bless and reward his effort.
Undoubtedly, President Mahama is the type of leader Ghana needs today. He is humble, not snobbish, easy going, intellectually capable and a unifier who will keep this great nation together beyond this election. Ghana deserves youthful, measured and commonsensical leaders not leaders who feel it’s their entitlement to lead the nation at all cost regardless of the consequences. ‘All die be die comes to mind’. I believe Nana Addo’s all die be die mantra and the NPP’s failure to denounce but rather celebrate it, and his snobbish nature will be the underlying determinant for losing middle Ghana; the class between the bourgeois and the proletariat.
Furthermore, in my opinion, there is only one political tradition which seeks and adheres to the doctrine and intent of the fourth republican constitution with the vision to ensure equality of opportunity, freedom, justice, probity, accountability and prosperity for the people of Ghana. Evidence of this abounds in manifestos and the plans and actions of this political tradition since 1992. The NDC, for me with John Mahama at the helm, will take Ghana where it deserves to be.
God bless Ghana.
Gameli Kewuribe Hoedoafia
Croydon, UK firstname.lastname@example.org