Partisanship threatens Ghana than Coronavirus

The current threat to the developmental agenda of every nation is the COVID-19 pandemic.  It has devastated economies we thought were beyond shocks.  Countries which were considered the leaders in medicine and solid health infrastructure have been reduced to ruins or nothing , resulting in the deaths of its citizens in  thousands. 

In Ghana, it led to a shutdown of major cities in the country and the closure of our borders, which resulted in a negative impact on our economy.  Through prudent management of the pandemic, a number of infections and deaths were reduced to the extent that , Ghana was acclaimed as one of the top 10 managers of the pandemic in the world until recently that we let our guards down as a people.

The surge in new infections is now becoming very alarming but the threat it poses compared with the partisanship being displayed in our body politic pales into insignificance. 

Party politics is a win or lose affair and ,therefore, the degree of competition is very high to the point of even high degree animosity.  When we bring our attention home to Ghana and observe our political scene, there is no doubt that our politicians and other political actors are doing all in their power to paint each other as the problem to the nation. 

In such an environment, whatever the other does is not commended and it has become a fault finding enterprise which does not augur well for the nation’s development.

Politics has become something like try as hard as possible to paint your rivals as the devil’s incarnate so that the masses will reject them.  Things have got to the extent that almost everything that the ruling party does, the opposition will find fault with it.  When the roles are reversed the same thing happens and the nation is the loser at the end of it all. 

Everything has been so politicised that we have reached a stage where the term ‘winner takes all’ has been introduced into the political scene in Ghana.  Everything is either NDC or the NPP and it has got to the point where every decision taken by the party in government  is taken as a politically influenced decision.

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has declared that he wants the city of Accra to become the cleanest city in Africa but it will be extremely difficult to achieve if this political undermining situation does not stop.  Part of the dirt on our streets in our city is the congestion on our walkways, creation of slums by putting containers at unapproved places etc. 

Decongestion is one of the surest ways to make the city clean yet the city authorities are unable to implement it due to political considerations.  When they move in to clear the streets you are bound to hear the opposition party or parties criticising the government for lack of sympathy and lack of appreciation of the difficult times the people are in.  This is done to make political capital out of it.. 

This always causes the government to hold back on the decongestion and the cost to the nation in terms of choked gutters and the resultant flooding with accompanying loss of lives and property is so huge.  This is a threat to our nation’s development more than the COVID-19 which can be controlled by observing the prevention protocols.

Recently as part of the vetting towards the confirmation of the President’s nominees, the Minister-designate of Ministry of Roads said that he would like to introduce tolls that would help generate income for  the construction of roads.  

This has generated a lot of buzz in the media landscape and while the ruling party’s supporters are hailing it as a good initiative, the opposition supporters see it as a bad initiative.  Meanwhile, they are not professing any valid alternative, just criticising it. 

The motive behind it is that, when the government is able to improve the road infrastructure, the populace would support the government and vote to retain it in power hence the opposition will lose out.  How can we build a nation like this?  

Partisanship is definitely a threat to our development.  The benefits of good roads to the nation is invaluable and should be something that every right thinking person must eagerly support but due to partisanship considerations, some people are kicking against it.

Ghana lags behind the developed nations by at least 50 years.  There is ,therefore, the need to hurry up and try to catch up in various spheres of our development and we must not allow partisanship considerations to deprive us of the needed initiatives to advance our growth as a nation. 

The people must vote against any party that seeks its parochial interests above that of the nation.  President Joe Biden of the USA said “…Democracy is fragile” and we should not allow partisanship considerations to lead our nation into chaos. 

Events leading to the determination of the 2020 election petition at the Supreme Court was another clear example of partisanship considerations, resulting in people who should know better, making statements intended to cast a slur on the reputation of our highest court in the land.

Look at the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme that was proposed by the then opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in the period leading to the 2012 elections.  A very brilliant and far reaching programme that had the potential of transforming our country. 

The ruling party  at the time(DNC), seeing it as a threat to its political fortunes, mounted a serious campaign against it, only to turn round and say in the 2020 elections that it was the NDC which started its implementation.  Such dishonesty should not be tolerated and parties which indulge in it must be punished at the polls.

Every programme of government requires funds for its implementation and if we are to help the President achieve his vision of a “Ghana Beyond Aid” in the near future, then we have to throw away partisanship considerations.  We must have a mindset of Ghana First, that is the only way we can really have our independence not when we depend on foreigners for a considerable portion of our budgetary requirements.

Partisanship which will prevent us from achieving a Ghana First agenda is therefore inimical to our development and must be treated with all the contempt it deserves.  God Bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.

By Laud Kissi-Mensah

The writer is a social commentator

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