“For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” [Genesis 2:24]
Marriage in itself can sometimes be very straining; therefore, after a stressful day at the office, the last person you would wish to talk to about how the day has been should absolutely not be a spouse who doubles as your political opponent; especially when politics filled the better part of the airwaves during the day.
Such is gradually becoming the case of many Ghanaian couples. Due to education and civilisation, Ghanaians have become more socially cohesive overlooking their ethnic and tribal differences even in the context of marriage. As much as I hate to admit, politics in Ghana has been gravely influenced by tribal motivations virtually driving the course of every events and activity.
This is the story of Rex and Rita, a beautiful couple friends of mine affectionately called the ‘Rs’.
Rex and Rita come from different parts of the country and the circumstances that brought them together was neither extraordinary nor love at first sight; but after a few dates together, they had become very good friends. A year into their relationship Rita had gained exclusive access into the family of Rex and says she discovered how loyal they were to a particular political party with one of his brothers virtually ‘eating’, ‘sleeping’ and ‘dreaming’ politics.
Coming from a different part of the country and the niece of a Member of Parliament, Rita on the other hand was politically aligned as well.
Rita says on few occasions, she witnessed a severe criticism of a political party whiles visiting Rex and family which she felt pretty uncomfortable because it was her favourite.
Rex and Rita tied the knot against all odds about three years ago and have since had an absolutely great life together. Although they are both matured adults who can manage their political differences, there are occasional episodes of intense debates bordered around their political affiliations. ‘We sometimes argue when scandals rock a member of the two major parties and sometimes the debate become so heated that we choose to quit to prevent it from spinning into something else, yet nobody concedes defeat’, she says.
The IEA Presidential encounter nights and subsequent Presidential Debates also stirred up the political rivalry between this couple. Rex says Rita acted like nothing was happening that night, but at her candidate’s encounter she got so busy and stayed glued to the television without even noticing her husband’s arrival from work just to make sure she never missed any part of the interaction. After each of the encounters, they would debate the issues out and grade the candidates but without anybody succeeding in attempts to lure the other to their side, life goes back to normal as husband and wife.
Their domestic assistant – Takyi, who will be voting for the first time tells me he is also caught up in the rivalry and with barely three weeks to elections, he is yet to decide which of his guardians’ candidate to vote for. “I just wish I could please both of them”, he says.
It looks as if being political rivals alone is not enough for the ‘Rs’. A great sport such as football that could otherwise be a medium to unite people let alone married couples can only achieve this between Rex and Rita when it is a national team on the pitch.
Whiles Rex is an officially registered supporter of one of the top football clubs in the country, his ‘better-half’ remains a loyal fan of his club’s arch rival. They occasionally clash as well, either at home or at the stadium when their two favourite teams meet each other.
In the English Premiership, Rex says he could die for Arsenal at any day whiles Rita will support any other club but Arsenal. Her policy is to throw her weight behind any team that plays Arsenal. And when Arsenal loses to that team, she rather celebrates her husband’s loss instead of celebrating the victory of her so called-side; clearly defining her motives. Rita has realized after thorough assessment that what matters most is not which party he belongs but a leader who is focused on improving the lives of the people. I believe many Ghanaian voters hold the same opinion.
As we count down to Dec 7, Rita has disclosed to me that she intends hiding her husband’s car key to prevent him from going to vote as all attempts to woo him to her party has failed. This is awfully ridiculous because when someone makes up his mind on something; nobody can stop him. Rex will certainly find other means of going to vote on that day.
After careful observation of the lives of Rex and Rita, I cannot help but wonder how a couple may well be so politically and to some extent, socially divided and yet so much united in spirit and love.
Like this couple, several homes experience similar situations. While some manage it well, others unfortunately do not do so well.
It is definitely possible for couples with different political association to have a blissful and successful marriage if they choose to put peace and love above any other thing.