Political responsibility, patriotism and partisanship are not mutual enemies

BY: Collin Essamuah
Parties are the foundation for the constitutionality of divergent views which make up our society
Parties are the foundation for the constitutionality of divergent views which make up our society

With all that we have gone through since the return to constitutional rule in 1993, I have been wondering whether the widely assumed conflict between these three lofty ideals are not the root cause of our problems today.

The idea of a usable sense of duty to the nation is lost in the condemnation of partisanship which leaves out our love of Ghana stranded on the lonely beach of unfulfilled promises.

We are gradually but surely diminishing ourselves as citizens with rights and responsibilities in the confusion over the relevance of these ideals to effective, responsive politics in our country.

It is certainly not partisanship which is to blame for our inability to make our governments and institutions of state to work effectively.

Anyone who says so is a shameless supporter of the ridiculous concept of Union Government, or the one party state outlawed by our Constitution.

We all cannot think and behave alike. Screaming that we must think and behave alike will find no universal support.

It is not our lack of patriotism which is our bane.

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It is rather the lack of a sense of duty to the public welfare which is crippling our efforts to build for ourselves, a nation we can be proud of.

This lack, carefully cultivated in our political leaders, lies at the root of our problems.

Party support

Belonging to a party, or professing support for one, is a legitimate legal and constitutional duty to enable our democracy work.

But you hear and read daily from feckless politicians and ridiculous journalists that so and so is too partisan.

Without partisanship, we cannot mobilise ourselves to do anything national or meaningful in our country.

Here, the need for partisanship is critical to the meaning we give to divergent opinions as a foundation for democracy.

To accuse a politician of being partisan is not revealed truth but a clear attempt to suppress divergence of opinion on national matters.

We confuse and conflate partisanship with lack of a sense of duty to perform one’s duty.

The political animal is first and foremost a citizen who ordinarily has responsibilities towards fellow citizens.

Refusing to perform one’s duty on the altar of partisanship is irresponsibility, not partisanship. Which brings us to the frequently abused word, patriotism.

Parties are the foundation for the constitutionality of divergent views which make up our society

Beyond elections

Patriotism as love of country for most politicians has suffered the most in this contrived irresponsibility.

Fake observers do not fail to quote Samuel Johnson that patriotism is the last defence of the scoundrel looking for sanction for their fecklessness from this English patriot.

Dr Johnson was definitely an uncontested English patriot and lived and died as such.

He was definitely an English patriot to the core who took his rights to free speech very seriously.

We deliberately confuse partisan opposition with lack of patriotism when the two are very different.

One is not patriotic by being a party member.

It is in this jumble of deliberate confusion that we are creating a nation incapable of seeing our lives beyond the next election.

It is even more ridiculous when in our zeal to damnify other parties, we wrongly consider the presidency as a partisan position.

We correctly have an Akufo-Addo presidency and parliament dominated by his party.

Always claiming the presidency is a party victory endows the holder with too much control over our lives and elevates party above the specific individual who may be president at any time.

And it is distressing to see our opinion moulders and movers thinking alike so wrongly with the intention to condemn our democracy itself as if it is the problem and not hypocritical and dishonest applications.

It is not right to blame our problems on partisanship when parties are the foundation for the constitutionality of divergent views which make up our society.

It is wrong for some of us to always condemn partisanship as a smokescreen to prevent evaluation and criticism of public policy.

Patriotism includes vigorous unfettered criticism of public policy by our leaders.

Incapacity to confront opposition both intellectually and politically does not mean criticism is wrong or not part and [parcel of good governance.

It is instructive those who were screaming our bane winner takes all are quiet.

Are they satisfied with a particular winner and the style of taking and sharing power or they were screaming because their presence must be felt or anything?

We cannot progress if we are always asking ourselves fundamental questions answered comprehensively in previous republics to allow all of us to take part meaningfully in our democracy.

All three of these ideals, a sense of responsibility or duty imposed on our leaders, partisanship and patriotism, are the three important legs of our political system.

We must always as leaders be seen actively encouraging our sense of public duty, our partisanship and in so doing, elevate our love of country.

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