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Prof. Ransford Gyampo

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Any politician who sees power as “time to chop” will always steal public money through all forms of corrupt deals. Given that no ...

Written By Prof. Ransford Gyampo - Fire is good, but if you don’t know how to use it, it can destroy. Democracy is good, and even though several Afrobarometer studies show that it is the most preferred form of government, we don’t seem to understand its substantive canons. Hence it frustrates National Development. Indeed, governmental quest to serve public interest, in my view, continue to be undermined by the way we have operationalised democracy.

Once we have deliberately or inadvertently reduced democracy to the selection of people who perceive the conferment of political power on them, either through election or appointment, as “the time to chop“, our quest to fight for development and improvement in the physical quality of life of the ordinary people, will continue to be undermined.

Any politician who sees power as “time to chop” will always steal public money through all forms of corrupt deals. Given that no amount of stealing and chopping is satiable and enough for any human being, thievery of public money will continue to occupy the thoughts of corrupt politicians, while the need to serve the interest of the ordinary people remains appendages of priorities.

Under our current “mis-democracy”, political appointees will continue to amass wealth, and only give handouts, tokens as well as point to other shallow development interventions to the citizenry only as a means of winning votes. Unfortunately, the citizenry also tend to be overly grateful and appreciative of these handouts, tokens and shallow initiatives, in view of their lack of knowledge and information about the quantum of wealth and public resources that are being amassed by their leaders.

There should be an honest appreciation and acceptance, of how the kind of “mis-democracy” we are practising, frustrate the need for leaders to demonstrate sincere and genuine care, for the interest of the ordinary masses, who own power. There should be a national dialogue and an elite consensus on the need to rethink our “mis-democracy.”

In my candid assessment, democracy is good, but because we either do not understand its substance, or have deliberately reduced it to “time to chop politics”, it is destroying and frustrating the quest for development. We either do an introspection on this or witness more corruption scandals.

Regardless of how incorruptible a leader may be, and irrespective of how sincere and honest the head may be, so long as the “it is our time to chop democracy “ continues to be ingrained in our psyche, politics and our kind of crude/corrupt democracy will confer wealth on only those who have power via election and appointment.

On the other hand, the ordinary people will regrettably, continue to suffer and wallow in subservient hero-worship of politicians (even as some continue to milk-dry public resources), mediocrity, poverty and economic miserization.


The writer is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for European Studies, University of Ghana.



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