- Are we losing our values as a discerning democratic Ghana? What does free speech mean to Ghanaians, particularly Ghanaian politicians? Is it a licence to say anything?
Written by Kobby Asmah - Freedom of speech is allowed in any democratic state and Ghana is no exception. As a critical pillar in the democratic process, free speech cannot be trampled upon or undermined and must be given unfettered access to blossom. However, in the recent past, the political space is choked with loose talk, all in the name of free speech. While it is good that repressive silence has given way to expressive voice in the country, it is equally disturbing that we now find ourselves living in a country where respectable and honourable citizens make inciting comments all in the name of freedom of speech.
Losing values of democracy?
Are we losing our values as a discerning democratic Ghana? What does free speech mean to Ghanaians, particularly Ghanaian politicians? Is it a licence to say anything?
For instance, will it be right to say, “ If you see any Ewe or Ga in Kumasi, strike him dead with anything you have in your store?” How about scandalising the judges of the Supreme Court with death threats through the power of radio in the name of freedom of speech?
Just last week, there was the threat from an opposition leader of a social revolution or a civil coup taking place in the country as it did happen during the Second Republic.
The earlier the citizens rise to condemn such attitude any time it comes up, the better for the country’s well-being and prosperity. After all, careless speech, which is often unled, disorganised and unchannelled has not in anyway helped to accelerate any developmental change. Otherwise, why is the penchant for loose talk not engendering good and accountable governance?
Careless talks are simply not in the nation’s interest and the earlier our political actors who seek refuge in this negative act stop it the better for the country. After all, it is only through a responsible action by political actors that the ailments of society can be addressed.
For the first time in recent times, President Akufo-Addo showed visible signs of outrage over some defamatory comments made by his political opponents regarding the Ghana-US Military Cooperation Agreement that he and his government had sold the sovereignty of the country.
Since the US and Ghana military defence pact became public, it had sent the country talking and had generated heated disagreements between the government and the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Last week Wednesday, some Ghanaians also took to the streets in Accra to register their dissatisfaction with the pact that was ratified by Parliament, urging the government to consider a withdrawal.
But addressing the nation last Thursday night in a broadcast, President Akufo-Addo did not mince words in questioning the patriotism of some of his political opponents.
“Let us concentrate and spend our energies on working together to achieve that goal of a happy and prosperous Ghana and reject the hypocrisy of the naysayers who led our country into bankruptcy and the worse economic record of modern Ghanaian history,” he underscored.
Clearly, it appeared the President spoke with anger and since then, the opposition have also not spared him, describing his action and demeanour as “talking down on Ghanaians.”
Because our politicians seem or appear to be power-hungry, both the NDC and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) are spinning the truths to suit their whims and caprices.
Are we as a people talking too much and sometimes loosely in this country? This is the time to cool the political temperature and narrow the political divide between the NDC and NPP in particular.
Political actors must not only be mindful of what they say but the issues they address, how they say it and whether they are saying it to the right person or persons and at the right place and time.
We are either NPP/NDC
Now in the country, most of us are no more Ghanaians or are losing our ‘’Ghanaianess,’’ we are either NPP or NDC.
We do things thinking about our political allegiances ahead of Ghana. I have difficulty when we think about our political allegiances ahead of Ghana.
After 61 years of independence and 25 years under the Fourth Republic, we are still playing political ping-pong, no longer between the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the United Party (UP) but now with the NDC and the NPP.
Many good social policies have been rejected on the basis that one belongs to either NDC or NPP or simply because it was drafted during the NPP or the NDC eras.
It has not been easy getting a consensus on the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme, national youth policy, free senior high school programme among others.
That regrettably captures our present state of affairs where the country is polarised into two opposing camps -the NPP and the NDC.
If the NPP and the NDC are both thinking nation first, then there will be a meeting point that the country can work together for progress.
God bless our homeland Ghana.