Curbing unguarded outbursts of politicians

Author: Kobby Asmah
Kennedy Agyapong

As a practising journalist, I have had the privilege of knowing a number of politicians. Some of them are established political figures who are not only held in high esteem but can also influence all those below them to conform to orderliness while others are starters who are seeking to represent their people at the community, assembly or legislative levels.

Decent-minded persons

Some of these politicians come across as decent-minded persons who genuinely have the nation at heart. They include accomplished personalities such as Mr Kofi Annan, ex-President J.J. Rawlings, ex-President J.A. Kufuor, late President J.E.A. Mills, President John Dramani Mahama and Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas. Other political leaders worth mentioning include Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, Dr Edward Mahama, Paul Afoko, Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan and Prof Edmund Delle. Some legislators, notably Alban Bagbin, Papa Owusu Ankomah, the late MP for Abuakwa North, J.B. Adu-Danquah, cannot escape being mentioned as well.

These politicians are no saints but have managed to raise the bar of democratic governance in the country and shown statesmanship both locally and globally. 

They have also endeared themselves not only to the good people of Ghana but also the international community with their strict focus on issues. They have done so through their deeds and words and the records are there for all to examine.

Political discourse

However, recent developments in our political discourse leave much to be desired. Some politicians are clothed in the belief that making unfortunate, repugnant and inciteful comments will guarantee them fame and win them political power. They have therefore thrown everything to the dogs and are engaged in politics of insults, divisiveness, personal animosity, hatred and rancour, which does not augur well for nation building and development. 

Regrettably, the nation appears helpless as some of these politicians, who are seeking to run the affairs of the state continue to institutionalise attacks on personalities instead of raising issues.

Already, Kennedy Agyapong is being chided for insulting the EC Chairperson. Last Wednesday, one Alistair Nelson also made very threatening comments against some judges during the Pampaso programme on Accra-based Montie FM. 

As a nation, we all must be worried about these negative public pronouncements which seem to be in the ascendency.

By such strange attitude, discerning people who wish to participate in the good governance process become withdrawn.

It is the nation that suffers because mediocrity then assumes the reins of government after it succeeds in shutting the doors to good minds. If we continue to toe this line, the country will ultimately be the loser because good people who cannot stand such public disdain will have no interest in playing a critical role in the affairs of the nation.

Otumfuo’s admonishment

The Asantehene,  Otumfuo Osei Tutu II,  was on point when he cautioned that if democracy, with its attendant periodic elections, would always lead to instability and chaos,  then it is not worth pursuing it. 

Giving the caution at Awukudae and to also welcome President Mahama to the Ashanti Region on his ‘Accounting to the People’ tour, the Asantehene said he was for the good of Ghana which was why he facilitated the process leading to Ghana opting for HIPC during President Kufuor's era and did same for President Mahama to go for the IMF economic bailout. 

These days how politicians are attacking personalities instead of raising issues is most worrying and must be condemned.  A number of our politicians have ignored any standard of morality as they take delight in spewing hot air.

Sanitise political environment

I do not believe that all politicians are scumbags. But I honestly do believe our current political system needs some fixing. 

It, therefore, requires concerted efforts by all well-meaning Ghanaians to help sanitise the political environment. Few troubleshooters must not be allowed to undermine Ghana’s democratic credentials which have been touted as doing so well globally. 

Politicians can continue to be politicians and positively influence society if this country remains peaceful. They must, therefore, refrain from being bad choices for the country.

Ethical standards

We need to have ethical standards for our politicians, because it is only when they, who are leaders of the land, show exemplary leadership that others will emulate.

The country is faced with numerous socio-economic problems including deficit in infrastructural development, new ways of improving the lot of Ghanaians, high cost of living including high utility tariffs, school fees, youth unemployment, poverty among other challenges. The deplorable condition of our major roads is also a worry to the citizenry. Aside from these issues, Ghana is confronted with the activities of murderers, rapists, child molesters, etc all of which retard national development. 

So those aspiring to lead the nation by holding the highest political office of the land must show how they are going to work to overcome these challenges.

This is the time to sanitise the political environment by embarking on issue-based discussions, as well as ensure that peace prevails througout the country. Engaging in politics of insults and personal attacks is cheap and must not be encouraged in our body politic at all.

There is the need for all to emulate those politicians who have kept the flag of Ghana soaring from independence till date and refrain from treating our perceived opponents with disdain. Ghana is almost 60 years after gaining independence from the British on March 6, 1957 and 56 years since gaining Republican status on July 1, 1960. Clearly, the country is getting mature by the day and our politicians cannot pretend otherwise

Nov 7 polls

The November 7 election, which is a test case for the nation, is only four months away. A successful outcome of the 7th election under the Fourth Republican dispensation will go a long way to consolidate Ghana’s democratic credentials. Clearly, the stakes are so high. 

But this should not lead the nation into wanton destruction, unguarded outbursts and rabble-rousing in the public sphere which serve no purpose.

It is the hope that the call on the National Media Commission, the National Communications, Authority, the Ghana Journalists Association and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association to step up efforts in controlling acts of unprofessionalism will be   adhered to.