Dealing With The Winner-Takes-All Spectre: Forging Inter-Party Unity And Trust Is Just The Way To Go

I learnt at Saint John's School, Sekondi, during government lessons, that one disadvantage of multiparty democracy is that it encourages brain wastage.

Indeed, decades of experience after school has confirmed and has also attested to the reality and the truism that, multiparty democracy encourages brain wastage. The case of Ghana's infant multiparty democracy says it all.

We claim, to want to do away with the winner-takes-all syndrome in our politics, in a way to minimize brain wastage. I've heard the minority leader Hon Haruna Iddrisu and several other substantive voices lamenting over it. Hence, the resolve by government to elect local level Chief Executives on partisan lines. But, will the election of MMDCEs on partisan lines, be all and end all of the problem of winner takes all in Ghana?

Political actors, those in government and in opposition do not trust themselves to champion the nation's course together. We seem to be too loyal to party allegiance than to Ghana. I beg to caution our leaders that election of MMDCEs on party lines is not an all in all endeavor. We will be surprised to see our efforts become futile because of the nature of our politicking.

Prior to 1949, before Dr. Nkrumah broke away from the UGCC to form his CPP, Ghana's interests were being pursued in unity and in solidarity. Because then, we had just the UGCC. The introduction of Dr Nkrumah into the independence struggles brought this spectre of division upon our heads.

Nkrumah arrived in Ghana December 10, 1947 upon the recommendation of Arko Adjei, a staunch member of the UGCC. Somewhere along the line, he felt he could not work with the UGCC anymore. Stating it plainly, multiparty democracy commenced as a result of Dr. Nkrumah's break away from the party that provided a fertile ground for him to germinate his seed of politics in Ghana.

The irony was that, after the break away, Dr Nkrumah sought to create a one party state after becoming Ghana's first president - he knew, that unity was imperative in our political discourse. Why then, did he defect from the UGCC to form his political party? His intentions were very clear. 

It was an attempt on his part to sideline those that invited him to dine at the banquet - he moved to entrench his political ambitions at the expense of his one time colleagues - forgetting that his colleagues provided him the opportunity and the platform to ride on. He should have known that nobody will agree to that injustice - the very basis of our politics today.

Sabotage and pull him down syndrome became the new phenomenon; and we have had to live with it all this while. Leaders of the then UGCC felt Nkrumah's action before and after he became president was a stab in the back. We could not manage the problem as a country at the time. In fact, it got escalated when he staged persecution on his one time colleagues.

The sometimes antagonistic posture and mistrust between Ghana's political actors today, could be attributed to what transpired before and after Dr Nkrumah broke away from the UGCC and eventually got elected as Ghana's first prime minister on CPP's ticket. So, our political problem today has got a historical antecedents. The Ghana project got totally diminished. 

Persecution of opponents who were his peers began and even got worst when he became president in the first republic. He outrightly forgot that they were once upon a time together chasing the same dream; Ghana's independence. I have always asked, who the vice president of Ghana was under Dr Nkrumah? Did Dr. Nkrumah ever had a vice president? 'He was the one and only, maybe as a result of mistrust. Isn't it? 

He disdainly overlooked the capabilities, the prowse and the potentials of his so called perceived political opponents. Those that were very vocal like JB Danquah got incarcerated for no wrong doing to the extent that he was left to perish in prison. In fact, this was a cruel precedent to have been adopted by us, all along until now. This was the Genesis of winner-takes-all in Ghana - nobody trusted anybody anymore.

This has been the journey we have come so far as a nation. And there seem not to be an end to that. Our national politics since then got wired with hatred, mistrust and animosty. Do we sometimes doubt we are Ghanaians with a common destiny? And that, it's only through our collective efforts that we can ensure it's progress and development? Individual or group interest cannot be projected over national interest.

Our leaders claim to have resolved to do away with Winner-takes-all; the very essence of the impending referendum. The question I ask is, whether the people who are to vote, those who are the very people that matter, do appreciate the essential issues in the up-coming referendum? 

Are we not trying to export our style of politics upstream to downstream? Because, our woes as a country have come as a result of our voting pattern. We vote without appreciating issues to understand them. It has always being like, it is coming from my party, so, it's good; this is not coming from my party, so it's not good. Political party's stance on issues have become the barometer we use to determine how we vote. Very pathetic. 

We have brilliant and excellent individuals with equally brilliant and excellent ideas scattered all over in various ideological groupings with similar objectives: to better the fortunes of Ghana. But we are not ready to work with one another. I think that if only trust can be built amongst ourselves, irrespective of one's political affiliation, we can appoint people from all political parties to serve Ghana government. President Kufuor began something like that which we ought to have continued as a nation. In my candid opinion, t is a very good precedent to follow. 

We don't need to consider to tamper with article 55(3) before we can think of ensuring inclusion in our governance system. The way to end winner-takes-all is just the bravery we can muster to appoint political opponents as ministers and the rest. The way we want to do it will rather worsen our plight. Because the power is going away from the president not to the people, but to political parties. Since they will have to select candidates for the people to vote on. 

This is why Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda posited that "the problem of Africa has not got to do with finance but the mobilization of the right mindsets". Now that we seek to elect our MMDCEs, I hope that we will try to overcome our political nature and posture, otherwise, it is a wild goose chase for local freedom, development and prosperity.

Here in Ghana, hardly would you see parties in opposition hailing or commending government for a good work done. Neither are they ready and willing to proffer alternative solutions for government to consider. To them, it would be extremely difficult to clinch political power if they do that. Opposition parties normally think its not their business. 

Reader, is it not in order for alternative government in waiting to proffer alternative solutions? Today, there is none because our politics have been adversarial! Each group is holding their cards to their chest. 

Now, the decision about who can take very good care of the grassroot is in the process of coming to the people if only we can decide to do it on non-partisan basis. When it happens so, I believe we can ensure accountability ourselves than to blame same on government. It is the very reason why it must be devoid of politics. It is therefore so imperative to educate and concientize voters about the consequences of their votes, such that they will cast it well.

The agenda have always been to cast negative aspersions on every decision of government, as well as bastardize every action by government so as to look good in the eyes of the electorates. I dare say, all political parties in Ghana are guilty of this practice. This is where the minds of the people have been tuned to. Let's have a determination to draw parameters for party politicking, as it is against national interest, to make meaning of the up-coming referendum.

The practice of choosing self and group interest over nation has been the norm and so, the fortunes of Ghana which we all claim to salvage per the various ideological stances of political parties in Ghana keep dwindling. Ghana has become the perpetual loser as a result, whiles individual interests are being promulgated. 

In Ghana, government is poor but individuals are very rich. Who knows? If this constitutional amendment is not coming to compound issues for lack of understanding of intents about the referendum.

Let's endeavor to strive together to forge unity, trust and confidence in each other on our political landscape if we truely abhor the winner-takes-all syndrome. Considering to do this will activate active participation of all without partisan consideration and fear of victimization.

Our actions at the moment depict a scenario where opposition parties are doing all they can such that, the government of the day should and must fail at all cost to give way for their turn. This is not a very healthy practice. Let's not be afraid to describe spades as such if we hold utmost allegiance to Ghana.

As Ghanaians, we should endeavor to note that, the failure of every government is an indication that, four or eight good years of our welbeing as a people have just gone down the drain. And we all bear the consequences as a result.

The orbit we are revolving have not and would never yield the kind of results we so much desire. Let's change for the better. Let's build trust and confidence in ourselves. Let's use the potentials of all and sundry to see Ghana where we all deaire to see her.

If we work together for Ghana in unity and in trust, I'm very sure certain resentments and sentiments expressed on our part as citizens could be minimized or avoided.

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