Opinion: Let’s demand system change now – Raymond Ablorh writes
By this time in the year 2000, John Kufuor led NPP were campaigning with Positive Change and “hwe wo asetena mu na tu aba pa”. Newly established Peace FM and the media in general were also blowing the “wind of change”.
Finally, Ghanaians uprooted the NDC and transplanted John Kufuor and the NPP from opposition to power.
As the P/NDC walked sorrowfully into opposition, Ghanaians gleefully expected the promised Positive Change and Kufuor’s Zero Tolerance for Corruption from 2001.
We got a change, at last.
But, that change was nothing tangible beyond change of parties, politicians, colours, emblems and those in power.
By 2004, the steam was gone. By 2008, the gentle gaint had become “Ataa Ayi” in comparison to the notorious armed robber, according to John Rawlings and the NDC, and his administration was drowning in corruption scandals as cost of living galloped steadily against dwindling standard of living.
By 2008, we had to sell Ghana Telecom to take care of recurrent expenditure. Hon Appiah Ofori of Odoben had his own revelations about the sale of Ghana Telecom and why we gave everything out so easily to the owners of Vodafone.
After all the HIPC benefits, a chunk of which government invested in building “small small” toilets in communities, Ghanaians saw no change beyond the social interventions and programmes John Kufuor undertook.
Some of these interventions like Free Maternity were unsustainable because it wasn’t based on well planned sustainable funding. The money we used for it was a gift from UK, our former colonial masters.
At the 2008 polls, Kumasi and Ashanti Region expressed similar apathy to what Volta did John Mahama led NDC in 2016. Greater Accra, Central, Western, Volta and the upper regions voted massively against the Nana Akufo-Addo led campaign to retain the NPP in power.
And, then, a new change was birthed in 2008; Better Ghana led by John Evans Atta Mills who had earlier lost two if not three elections.
Ghanaians, once again, expected John Mills administration to deliver the Better Ghana that John Kufuor’s Positive Change Part 1 and 2 couldn’t deliver.
But, what did we see from 2009 to 2016?
Another group came in to create, loot and share at the expense of our their own party people and our greater collective good.
Corruption grew exponentially in officialdom, cost of living continued to rise as standards of living dwindled abysmally to the chagrin of the masses.
This made it easy for many Ghanaians to pay attention to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who had lost two previous elections and was promising anything and everything on his third trip desperately.
He promised to protect the public purse. He even went to the extent of promising to employ “Anas” investigative methods in his fight against corruption if the need be.
Nana Akufo-Addo passionately begged Ghanaians to “try him” too.
Had Mills/John Mahama made Ghana Better or transformed the country to the benefit of the masses, citizens wouldn’t have paid attention to Nana Akufo-Addo.
John Mahama couldn’t even supervise and protect the investments this nation made in SADA to transform the lives of his own people. His administration misappropriated and siphoned the resources meant to transform lives in the SADA regions leaving the people in acidic poverty.
Today, many Ghanaians have lost hope in our democratic system. Thousands if not millions have given up fully. Nana Akufo-Addo, the man they thought would make a difference has proved to be same than different in many ways.
As the NPP and NDC argue acrimoniously over EC’s decision to register electorates, many citizens are lost in despondency and have no hope left in them to sustain their participation in this democracy.
It’s obvious that the multi-party democracy we subscribed to in 1992 is failing us and breeding hopelessness among the people. And, if care isn’t taken it may explode in our faces.
In our search for lasting solutions to this problem, I stand with the National Interest Movement (NIM) in their call for system change because without relevant constitutional and institutional changes, this democracy will continue to serve very few and their families and friends as the case as been from 1993.
It’s time we demanded system change and make that the focus of our political discourses. It’s time we unshelved the Constitutional Review documents to do the necessary changes we ought to do to save this democracy.
Too many people kept at the periphery are boiling within. They’re walking missiles and timed bombs.
But, what the people don’t realise is that those in power and the beneficiaries of the prevailing establishment will never embark on reforms that will take away their benefits.
The change we need thus must come from beneath and from the people. If only the masses can stop fooling themselves with NDC/NPP partisan politics which, hasn’t made their lives better in about 30 years, and strongly demand for system change, we can save this democracy.
Let’s demand system change now. Let’s insist it becomes the crux of this year’s elections related conversations.
Agenda setters and public conversations moderators must consider that as the way out. Because, there’s no saviour anyway but us.
Written by: Raymond Ablorh