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Is Ghana’s politics of interest or ideology?
Published On: September 18, 2012, 03:00 GMT
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Is Ghana’s politics of interest or ideology?

Ghana’s politics after post independence has largely witnessed the formation of political parties based on two political traditions that professes to either be driven by socialist or capitalist political ideologies.

The two main political traditions in Ghana’s politics are the Nkrumah’s political tradition and the Danqua, Busia and recently Dombo tradition, the former believes in social democracy as a system of governance and the latter embraces the capitalist system which in recent political cliché is referred to as ‘property owning democracy’.

To contextualize the thrust of this article I will like to adopt a working definition of a political ideology as “As the fundamental core values, principles, and believes of a political party that influence and shape its policies and programmes in government.” Indeed the ideology of a political party must be the fulcrum within which the activities of the party must revolve.

First and foremost I intend to set the stage by highlighting what to look out for in political parties that are actually driven by ideologies; One of the important feature of ideology driven political parties is that, such parties are institutions. A party is an institution when it has clear and non negotiable vision that individual members must buy into and be willing and prepared at all times to pursue the vision of the party to its logical conclusion.

The institutional nature of such parties makes it possible for the interest of the party to envelope all other interest in the party, leaders will therefore naturally emerge and exit successfully without threatening the continuous existence, relevance and survival of the party.
The second important feature of ideological driven political parties is the fact that they have robust and carefully thought through mechanisms for managing internal descending views and interest of members. Members can therefore differ in several respects and also disagree on many issues but yet still find comfort in their parties because fair and equal opportunities exist for every member to democratically address issues that affect them personally and the party as a whole.

It is important to stress that the absence of this feature in the scheme of affairs of political parties occasions defections, and most of the time the formation of breakaway political parties in order to hurt the political fortunes of their original or mother parties. There is ample evidence in Ghana to underscore the fact that political parties are deficient in this regard.

Ideology driven political parties main interest in the political process is to seek the mandate of the people in order to champion the interest of the nation. In other words the supremacy of the national interest over that of the party is upheld and consistently pursued with vigor and alacrity.

Competence and ability to deliver becomes the function of who gets the opportunity to serve in what capacity as far as the developmental process of the nation is concern, such parties will go any length in such of requisite and relevant talents without due regard to shades of political affiliation in order to advance the cause of the nation for the collective good of the people instead of settling for mediocrity just in the name of rewarding people for haven worked hard to bring the party to power. I am therefore not surprise and I believe you aren’t as well, when a change of government in our country means a lot of people who are perceived not to belong to the party in government loss the sensitive positions they were ably managing for inept party people.

Ideology driven political parties believe in the fundamental democratic principle of rule of law and its fair applications to all manner of people without fear nor favor, in a country where freedom and justice is our motto but yet, the extent to which one is free or will have justice is a function of which party is in power is not consistent with the principle of rule of law. Why will people have to be unjustifiably held in remand just because they activist of rival political parties and suspects in matters regarding crime? Is the position of the law not clear on matters of crime and what ought to be done?

Available evidence in advanced democracies where parties are indeed runned purely on the basis of ideology suggests little or no proliferation of smaller or breakaway political parties in such democracies. A country that practices democracy but yet has more than three parties that cannot compete at the same level cannot be said to have parties based on ideology. The coming into being of the 1992 constitution which ushered in the fourth republic of our country has witness the wanton formation of the following breakaway parties; the United Ghana Movement (UGM), Reform Party, United Renaissance Party (URP), Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Progressive People Party(PPP) and the National Democratic Party (NDP) among others.

The position of ideology driven political parties on national issues necessarily must be consistent whether they are in government or opposition. I hope you have noticed that in Ghana the position of our political parties on these issues is a function of whether they are in government or not.

Otherwise why would the NDC vehemently oppose the creation of thirty (30) additional constituencies under the erstwhile NPP administration when they were in opposition only to turn around today in government, to support the creation of forty five (45) additional constituencies and for the NPP now in opposition to oppose it? Again the two parties have had their positions on fuel prices changed dramatically from opposition to government, fortunately in the impending elections we are yet to witness drastic promises on fuel prices.

For many political analyst and observers including myself the conduct of the two major stakeholders in our political process in the fourth republic on issues that gravely affect our nation and its developmental process and by extension the people, lives much to be desired. I couldn’t but agree with one journalist when he described their conduct as “An avalanche of interest masquerading as principles”.

Otherwise why would the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of our supposed honorable Parliament which has the responsibility constitutionally to protect the public purse turn itself into needless entrenched positions deeply rooted on party lines thereby compromising the interest of the state and undermining its own relevance as envisaged by the constitution?

Let me conclude with the believe that from the afore raised issues you are in a much better position to answer the question that the article seeks to highlight and to caution our politicians especially those that have had the opportunity of serving in the forth republic that they can continue to masquerade as jealously protecting and upholding the interest of our dear nation at all times.

And that they are not deluding themselves into believing Ghanaians are oblivious of their greedy and wicked clandestine pursuit of their individual interest at the expense of the people from whom they derive their power and authority with the promise of using it to better their lot. Indeed monumental greed and selfishness on the part of our leaders account for the wanton dissipation of our scarce resources and the hopelessness in which our country finds itself.

Mohammed Muhamin
National Theatre of Ghana

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