- Though Rawlings is no more in charge, the position of Chief Bully remains intact, and each one of his successors have dutifully enjoyed the bullying perks of Office that the position comes with.
Anytime you sing or recite our National Anthem or Pledge, you’re bound to immediately feel a strong sense of anathema between these patriotic expressives and our country’s politics, that’s if you’re so minded to reflect on them for a minute.
For some time, I have tried to think back on why there’s such an immense chasm between the exhortation of these patriotic songs and recitals on the one hand, and the general body politic on the other. I have found a number of possible causes for these. And when it has to do with the corruption of our democratic institutions and hierarchies, thus reducing them to nothing but corrupt tyrannies, my thoughts take me immediately to the most recent influence that cemented this phenomenon in our country; the episode of John Jeremiah Rawlings and his PNDC.
One of the greatest sins of the Rawlings led PNDC is how it brutally silenced dissent and effectively sealed fear into the psyche of Ghanaians, to never stand up to abuse of power nor tyranny. Even as a young lad, I sensed the apprehension and trepidation with which persons who dissented from the then established political institutions were cautioned by loved ones.
The fact then was that they were more likely to lose their lives, be maimed, or at best become a social and economic pariah of the then immensely centralized economy. Ghana is still reeling from the immense subjugation of the people’s will in standing up fearlessly and honestly against obvious injustice perpetrated by those in positions of power. This is simply because those leaders who wield the bully mentality are still with us, and worst still have infested many young ones with it.
The language that bullies understand is counter-violence, as such, we have a democracy which is built on a “bullying hierarchy”. Hence the strongest man, not the competent nor the most productive, always gets to carry the day. With this sort of system in place, the Kennedy Agyapong’s and Asiedu Nketiah’s and their protégés are the most likely candidates for political office in this sort of setting. Therefore, there’s a high predictability of success when one relies on tough talk or hires an army of thugs to perpetrate such at their behest; in order to make a headway in the current setup.
And this will not change any day soon. Because, the Constitution that was supervised by the Chief bully at the time ensured that all other bullies in the hierarchy were subject to him. Hence the police and all other agencies of state have virtually no autonomy to operate. They were and still are directly and unequivocally answerable to the Chief Bully.
It’s been over two decades, and we’re wondering why the act of bullying and “Strong Manism” are still being perpetrated with reckless abandon in our politics. Yet we forget that the blue point of this so-called democracy, the 1992 Constitution, was crafted to amuse the Chief Bully at the time. Making him the author and the finisher of our fate, in this State and all matters concerning its politics.
Though Rawlings is no more in charge, the position of Chief Bully remains intact, and each one of his successors have dutifully enjoyed the bullying perks of Office that the position comes with. The fact that we haven’t fundamentally since shifted from this state of a “Strong man constitutionalism” itself goes beyond Rawlings, and what he did, and remains a direct reflection of us as a people and what we have become.
To think that men like Nana Addo, who were the few to stand strong against the corrupt tyranny that the PNDC became, would waste a minute to push for the passing of the RTI bill, and call for an expedited review of the potentate ethos of our constitution; tells so much about how much more work is left to be done in order to set Ghana on real democratic ways.
So, until we take a critical look at this document and rework it, with open and free minds; and not the trepidation with which the original authors did under the intimidating watch of Jeremiah Rawlings, our so-called democracy would continue to be a charade.
It’s utterly sad to notice that most of the Youth of today do not have a voice, let alone raise it, to merely caution against glaring acts of extreme irresponsibility, corruption and wanton economic treason against the State; acts which are several hundreds of exponents more deplorable than the incidents that caused Rawlings and his mates to strap their elders against some wooden pillars and shoot them to death; at close firing range. Today, those amongst the youth who’re loudest include the few coopted into looting the state and perpetuating economic treason against their many other jobless, voiceless and utterly disenfranchised colleagues. Some have even been groomed into armed mercenaries who’d not blink an eye to sniff the life out of the likes of Ahmed Suale (May His Soul RIP) who dare to shed any form of light on the ensuing gross injustices.
The mayhem that was perpetrated by their age against the society then is nothing we want now. But the fear and tyranny established by his sort of government subsequently has left behind a reversed psyche, where it’s become very perilous to question impropriety in high places, a total betrayal of the cause that shot him up from obvious ignominy into political office.
I think it is time young people must once again be re-educated that though it’s important to respect authority, this respect shouldn’t emanate from a vacuum. Those in positions of authority who seek respect must demonstrate and be seen to be demonstrating commensurate responsibility. We must be re-educated to know that it’s okay to question authority, whenever we sense abuse, and to do so with fearless honesty.