Monday, 14 October

Djokoto’s Diary: I Speak of Freedom

Feature Article
Journalism is a truth-telling business and ought to remain just that. The political establishment must never manipulate the media into articulating views that favour its image. The Fourth Estate is not one colossal public relations firm set up to paint an alluring canvas of the government; it exists to serve the socioeconomic and political interests of the citizenry. The Fourth Estate has a moral obligation, as a fundamental pillar of our democracy, to keep the governed well-informed and the government accountable.

The citizenry is the think tank of the Republic and the press is its mouthpiece. Now more than ever, journalists must use their craft to advance the societal interests of the people regardless of any strong-arm scare-tactics that shield the political establishment from dissent. Ghana cannot pride itself on being a free society when the citizenry feels oppressed.

One thing has become crystal clear: Ghanaians are growing sick and tired of the political establishment. I am glad that we, as a united front, are edging much closer towards a point of enlightenment where statecraft takes precedence over partisanship. And we are getting there in a manner typical of Ghanaians; slow but sure.

There is a personal sense of fulfilment that stems from knowing that the citizenry of Ghana is becoming more politically conscious and are finally starting to reject, what many consider as, the bogus leadership of the political elite.

People across the political divide are boiling inside about the recent proposal by the Parliament Service Board to construct a new chamber for parliament at the cost of $US200 million. And rightfully so –– the decision is utterly bizarre! The Republic has a substantial amount of social issues to resolve that desperately require funding — from healthcare to education to transportation. A new chamber for parliament certainly isn’t a priority right now.

There is a widely acknowledged national leadership crisis and the political establishment has, despite its decades of influence and the confidence reposed in the statesmen of our time to turn around the misfortunes of the Republic, failed to present a candidate worthy of transforming the Republic. The 4th Republic has been dominated by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) from its genesis. Regardless of the failed promises and poor governance across the political divide, voters have gone ahead to throw their weight behind the regime. I tried to rationalise the behavioural pattern of the Ghanaian voter and arrived at the conclusion that the citizenry is handicapped by freedom-from-choice. Today, the biggest threat to the political establishment in the upcoming elections is an alternative political movement.

The 2020 elections are just around the corner, would the pent-up anger of the voting-class have any dire consequences for the political establishment? Have Ghanaians been sufficiently angered enough to finally give the political establishment a shocking thumbs down? Is NOT not also a failure, on the part of the citizenry of this Republic, to discern and empower dignified public servants capable of governing this beautiful, yet chaotic and highly disorganised society?
To state the obvious and cliché phrase; it is, indeed, much better to stand for something than to stand for nothing at all. Ghanaian citizens, especially first-time voters, should not feel compelled to place their reliance upon the political establishment in the upcoming 2020 general elections.

Let us gather together over a delicious meal with our fellow citizens, at least a dozen or more, whether at our workplaces or on campus, and provide our contributions to a national renaissance. But upon conclusion of such discussions, let us then accept the noble task of taking practical steps to act upon our contributions.

The Economic Fighters League represent a group of Ghanaians, many of whom are ardent Nkrumahists, deeply frustrated with the misrule of the Republic, that seek to overcome the political establishment. They are dedicated to realising economic independence within our lifetime: I know this for a fact because I headquartered the organisation for a few months and closely observed the sheer patriotism of its members.

I have absolutely no doubt, that all across the Pan-African Republic of Ghana, there are many such passionate discussions occurring in private spaces about the state of the Republic, and that there is a growing momentum for a radical shift away from the politics of our past, towards a much brighter future.

It shall not be a calm lift-off but it shall certainly be a safe landing. Economic independence is not given; it is taken. And a citizenship willing to make the final sacrifice for life and freedom cannot be beaten. The culture of citizenship we seek to harness, but like a rough stone, must be chiselled into perfection, is a life of work and happiness. Let us share a hot cup of koko and engage in fruitful deliberations about the bread and butter issues of our generation.

The decisions we make in the next election will determine our future. Let us all endeavour to protect the integrity of the ballot box and our precious democratic ritual. We have not yet lived up to the ideal of the Black Star that shall, against all odds, illuminate the universe as a supremely-civilised and enlightened Republic.

I want to be able to look back on these years and say my generation brought Ghana economic independence, climate solutions, equal opportunity for all and an end to tribal-partisanship. We can continue looking at this mess of a Republic or we can look up to the skies and advance forward in an evolutionary way. It is time to get off the fence and get on our toes.

Source: Vincent Djokoto

Source: Laud Nartey