The never learning nation
Last week, I wrote on how the more things change, the more they remained the same in our political space.
My premise was simple. As a nation, we do not learn from the past. We complain of how things were in the past. But there is nothing that shows that we learn from the past. Absolutely nothing. And even if we learn, there is no proof that we desire to better our lot.
In the past week, Mr Koku Anyidoho made the news. He was heard on live radio telling a show host that the current President should be wary because history will repeat itself. And that a coup was well on its way.
Obviously, this sounds familiar. But if Mr. Anyidoho had thought deeply of his actions, he, himself, would have realised that history was about to repeat itself with the reckless comments that he was making on radio.
It will be recalled that under the previous administration, a law maker was said to have declared war in Ghana. Specifically, he had declared war on Ewes living in the Ashanti region. And he called on activists of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to do so with machetes and cutlasses.
This country then was on “fire”. Social media was busy. People were expressing views of different kinds. Exchanges were hot. The NPP came out to disassociate itself from the comments of the law maker. Then the police came in. They had no choice. They had to be seen doing something – in spite of the fact that the current legal regime we operate was helpless in the face of the issue.
The law maker was arrested. And charged with treason, genocide and terrorism. He was taken through the criminal investigation process. He was placed before court.
Let me digress a bit. In an article entitled “Democracy’s rascal”, I said: “So when we hear persons like Kennedy Agyepong taking liberties to spew unsavoury comments about the public officers, it should be a cause of concern to us. When we hear persons, who for all intents and purposes should be considered as responsible, engaging in toxic conversations culminating in threats and abuses to the judiciary, we need to sit up. It cannot be business as usual.”
In there, I wondered why political operatives felt emboldened to act and say things that ordinarily other persons will not muster the courage to do so. And I laid the blame fairly and squarely on the “big men and women” in society who the rules do not necessarily apply to.
Anyways, the lawmaker was placed before the court. His supporters were firmly behind him. Their support for him was unflinching. They stood by him in and out of court. A series of procedural errors on the side of the prosecution made him walk as a free man.
Governments have changed. And here we find ourselves. Similar challenges (though I am mindful of the fact that someone can comfortably say that a supposed declaration of a coup d’etat is radically different from a call on supporters of a political party to take arms and attack people from a particular region). Different faces And now the poor police, through no fault of theirs (but clearly not learning), have to charge him with an offence that they might find hard to substantiate and prove. This is because of the very nature of our laws.
The absence of sedition laws on our books means that people can say anything foolish and detestable and still walk away. But when someone does something very bad, someone must be seen doing something about it. And more often than not, the lot falls on the police.
The police, as I have already pointed out, will definitely struggle to prove the charge made against Mr. Anyidoho – if the rumours that he will be charged with treason are true.
The NDC has come out to disassociate itself from the comments. Key members of the NDC have also come out to condemn the statement made by Mr Anyidoho. We just have to wait and see what happens. But Mr. Anyidoho’s comment is a clear sign of the fact that we are not a learning nation.
His action shows that we do not give serious thought to our actions. Blinded by political factions and affiliation, we would rather close our eyes to the obvious political wrongs rather than speak boldly against them.
It is interesting that he had people march together with him to the police (when those very same people would have been jumping and screaming all over the place as if they were standing on hot coal if someone from a rival political party had made those same comments).
In all of these, let us not forget the institutions of state as well. They also clearly do not learn from history. They just walk unconsciously and dizzily through it. This has been the story of our nation.