‘Monocular’ means an optical device designed to be used for one eye only. I begin this essay with a definition because I want to spare one of my most avid readers the ordeal of taking out his dictionary today; I hope.
He complains he has to look up the meanings of at least three words each time he tackles my tome. I am very grateful to him and all those others afflicted with my addiction to Big English; you will have to wait a litter longer for my ‘mea maxima culpa’
The daily life of Ghana, its whole and the sum of all its parts, is steeped in and consumed by an incessant profession in and constant demands from the unceasing refrain of “The Triumph of Good over Evil” If you are an unfortunate insomniac like me, your choice of the overabundant airwaves is 99 per cent ‘fire and brimstone’ and the Big Boss’ BBC World Service.
Until I retreated to the forest, my efforts to close my drooping eyes at dawn was always shattered by the tinny noises of valve PA systems inviting the children of Allah to take over from their brethren.
Unfortunately, all that imbibing of the doctrine has not been reflected in handsome returns for either country or people, at least not here on earth.
And since Auntie Xtie has not confirmed that the reward for teachers is indeed in the life after, I will confine my assessment to our fortunes on this our red soil. Soaked and dripping in religion like poorly fried ‘kelewele’, we the deeply religious people of Ghana cannot agree on a common view of what constitutes good, evil, morality, rights, principles, corruption, conflict of interest, etc. It is all down to the partisan monocle worn by Ghanaians all over the world.
Ben Dotse Malor is one of Ghana’s great exports to the BBC. He and his former colleague, Akua Elizabeth Ohene, were gems who would have blazed the trail for the Big Boss if global 24 hour news had come a little earlier.
Akua distinguished herself as Kufuor’s first communications czar and went on to serve Kufuor and Ghana well in various ministerial capacities. Ben has returned to do likewise for John Dramani and Ghana and he has run into a vortex of monocular partisan-tinted storm before the ink on his senior adviser call card has dried.
President Kufuor appointed Spokespersons, from Akua to Kwabena Agyapong to the merchant-stranded Andrew Awuni. He also appointed Ministers of Information to work in tandem with the spokespersons.
Agya Prof. did the same in his brief tenure. For both of them, I did not hear, maybe do not remember, the cacophony of vitriolic complaints about Ben’s appointment, some drifting very close to questioning his impeccable credentials.
The deeply unedifying thing of all is that the shrillest noises are being made by folks who found nothing wrong with, and indeed, enjoyed the frills and thrills of similar arrangements.
Whether the manner of the sales of Ghana Telecom and the Merchant Bank were done in the best interest of Oman Ghana and devoid of corruption or steeped in immoral conflicts of interest is a call that is made through partisan monocle than the supposedly indisputable tenets of Christianity and Islam.
Whether the GYEEDA ‘chop-chop’ and pouring zillions of our consolidated fund cedis into dubious judgement debts are not determined on the basis of the common good but under which partisan tenure things occurred.
Whether it is fuel and utility prices or transport fares going up; to the value and usefulness of the rate of inflation on our economic fortunes; the soundness and benefits of the Single Spine Salary; or the causes and deleterious effects of labour disputes; the same monocle vision prevails?
Whatever the subject, the judgement and discourse of what is good or bad for Ghana in the conduct of and accounting by those who govern in our name and on our behalf is seen through partisan eyes.
If it was done under the NDC, the NPP and its appointed commentators will scream from the rafters that it is corrupt, immoral, soaked with conflict of interest and benefiting cronies, if it is done by the NPP, ditto, reverse refrain, same arguments, and equal display of vociferous but fake indignation. Outcome! a more confused, hapless and agonised citizenry.
The unconscionable act of the politicians is compounded by the duplicitous and deeply compromising conduct of Ghana’s media, the fourth Estate of the realm whose task is to watch over our chosen governors in the four years we are forced into political hibernation. In a deeply alarming and cynical reprise of those they are supposedly watching over, the overwhelming majority of Ghana’s media practitioners have become vigorous dancers to the piped tunes of their partisan paymasters.
So called social commentators have joined their political masters and found comfort and reward in the nauseating chorus of “This also happened in your time”. True as this may be, it only confirms the common denominator for politics in Ghana, namely; politics is a quick route for alleviating the personal poverty of the politicians, irrespective of the partisan tint of the monocle worn.
The monocular politicians and their media ensure that obfuscation and worsening poverty pile on misery onto more misery onto the inexorable gloom and despondency encircling the people of Ghana.
Whether we entrust our mandate to NDC or NPP, the value is the same; the pains, the groans, the misery and the increasing agonies of the people of Ghana keep on keeping on.
We are in the 21st year of the fourth Republic of Ghana. This means we have come of age in our belief in and practice of democratic governance. We entrust our lives into the hands of politicians with competing visions and ideas to govern.
We elect a Parliament of grassroots representatives to hold the governors to account. We fought for and have a free and plural media to watch over both the governors and our elected representatives to make sure they do right by us. We have a Judiciary which we respect and expect to do right by all of us without fear or favour.
Alas, instead of celebrating our birthday and patting ourselves for how well democracy has been for us, we stand on the precipice of a gargantuan tripping of one million dominoes. The foundations of the four pillars of our democratic institutions are being eroded by the shifting sands of monocular partisanship.
Our incumbent President and those who preside over our institutions will do well to heed the following “When things fall apart and the centre can no longer hold, the gaping void will be filled by false prophets and mallams professing the second coming to restore the few amenities that have been taken away”.
Nature, it is said abhors vacuum. Our politicians, media, parliamentarians and judiciary, have better get clear and non-tinted bifocal spectacles which will enable them to agree on that which is the wheat and that which is the chaff in the matter of corruption, morality, personal conduct, the public good, private greed and all the ills that will reverse the morass of our Monocular values that are daily doubling the agonies of we the God-fearing people of Ghana.
“Politicians no kasa!; Ghanaman Abr3!: ; 3b3y3 yie”; Onyame ne adom!”
The writer is the Chief Policy Analyst, Ghana Institute for Public Policy Options, GIPPO