When a group of people meet or come together in any way, a leader is one natural thing that happens. He could be chosen or just assume the role. As time evolved, the decision of who becomes a leader has moved largely from the monarchical system to a democratic one, which has birthed the partisan system. This is largely because so many people want to be leaders and the decision-making has become much harder. In the end, whoever is chosen is supposed to cater to the needs of the people; in Ghana, for example, that means catering to the needs of more than 25 million people which is a huge and sacrificial responsibility.
Ghana has been hailed all over the world for our exemplary democracy. In fact, it has ensured that, when someone is elected into power, they don’t hoard all the power to themselves and the people play a large role in making decisions that concern them. Democracy is about the people. That is what it is supposed to be; but is that really the case? The practicality of what happens is this; most politicians want to get rich while in power and undertake projects that will make the headlines and not projects that focus much on the welfare of the people they are supposed to be serving. This imbalance in governance results from incumbent parties prioritizing the image they want to portray; so that when the next election period arrives, they can add it to an elaborate list on their manifestos. That is why there are so many uncompleted projects lurking around. No one wants to finish them because they are not the ones who started them and so they won’t receive the credit. This is wrong because it’s not even about them in the first place.
About a week ago, I heard news about the flood victims in the north. Their items had arrived but the people had to wait for the Northern regional minister or his deputy who were elsewhere on a national assignment before they could receive the items. I thought this was totally ridiculous since these people had been without aid for more than a week. We tend to forget that these are human beings who need to eat and drink water for their survival. But their survival, which was clearly not a priority, had been put on hold for the aggrandizement of other people. Just so that in the end, someone could take pictures and say they provided aid.
Political parties have become a beautiful façade that hides so many dirty acts. In 2015, we heard of the gruesome murder of the Upper East Regional Minister who suffered an acid attack. This is just one of many heights people can go to get what they want in terms of power. How far must we get before we realize that parties do not mean division; they don’t mean being in total opposition to ideologies other than your own. It’s more of a battle of what’s right than who is. The people are there to be served and not to be trampled upon. Politics has become a dirty game no one wants to partake in unless you’re willing to be ruthless.
It is about the people and they, as well as their leaders, have to realize that. When this tiny shift in focus occurs, a drastic change in governance is going to happen. There would be less uncompleted projects because no matter who’s in power, the needs of the people remain the same and governments would begin to tackle projects that positively impact the people and not those that only generate good PR.
WRITER: Mawunyo Avetsi