The electorate and governance in the Ghanaian political system

Abraham Lincoln, one time great President of America, made the follow­ing landmark statement: “Government of The People, By The People, For The People”

This is the popular definition of democracy, championed and propagated by America all over the world, to countries which practise this system of governance at the present time.

Ghana, a developing country in the modern world today, practises this system of governance at the present time.

In order to ensure an effective and efficient practice of democracy in the Ghanaian situation to be on the same level as prevails in other countries and America, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth today, there is the need for a thor­ough and an elaborate education for the Ghanaian electorate as to what entails in the practice of this democratic system of governance.

This is so and very necessary, because there had been deep ignorance among some of the Ghanaian electorate pertaining to democratic system of governance.

Since Ghana embarked on democratic system of governance, it can be observed that majority of the electorate in Ghana do display ignorance in the choosing of leaders and other political office holders of government of the country.

There are a number of nega­tive factors for this unfortunate situation which this article seeks to identify and to address as a way of minimising this situation, if not eradicating it completely from the body system of Ghanaian politics.

The first factor that one can identify is that of low educa­tion and illiteracy. The second is ethnicism and sectionalism. The third is selfishness and avarice. The fourth is over-ambition. The fifth is corruption.

I shall attempt in the following to offer some suggestions for the minimising and eradication of this persistent and problematic situa­tion in the body politics of Ghana.

Although, the ratio of litera­cy and illiteracy rate in Ghana is higher as compared to other Afri­can countries, there is the urgent need to step up the literacy rate in Ghana so that a great number of Ghanaians will be able to read and write.

This will facilitate easy communi­cation, interaction and understand­ing among Ghanaians; and this in turn will bring about good under­standing of national issues and aspirations of the developmental process of the country.

To this end, there is the need therefore for successive govern­ments to pay priority attention to the formal education of every school going age Ghanaian child; and also to organise a country wide, mass illiteracy education cam­paign programmes with the aim of eradicating illiteracy in the country among Ghanaians who cannot read and write.

Ethnicism and sectionalism constitute a major obstacle in Gha­naian politics; and efforts must be made by all Ghanaians, both high and low stature to eliminate this unpleasant situation in the country.

Ghanaians must therefore learn to live in unity, peace and tolerance; seeing each other as brother and sister with one common destiny in the developmental process of the country. Ghana belongs to all Gha­naians irrespective of where one comes from. And with this mental­ity and consciousness, Ghanaians can move together as one people with a common destiny.

Avarice and selfishness must be shunned and uprooted among Ghanaians to enable Ghanaians to show much love to each other. This will enhance a speedy development of the country.

The inordinate desire to get ac­cess to political rule and authority to amass wealth, no matter what is involved must be eschewed by all Ghanaians. This will ensure peace, unity and justice in the Ghanaian society, so that Ghana will move healthily to experience a speedy economic growth, development and prosperity.

Self-centeredness and over-ambi­tion had been the bane and setback of any realistic and meaningful development to many a nation in Africa; and Ghana should not fall a victim to these militating and negative factors for political control and rule.

Corruption and immoralities had contributed to the fall of great nations in the past and in modern times.

All forms of corruptible prac­tices must be uprooted from the Ghanaian society, so that virtues and moralities will prevail.

When Ghanaians are guided by morality and upright living styles, the country will speedily experi­ence optimum economic growth, development and prosperity.

Ghanaians must therefore learn to become disciplined in their lifestyles, so that they can work together in faith and honesty with each other to bring about a speedy development of the country.

In the matter of choosing candidates for the various po­litical offices and leaders of the country, the electorate by virtue of good education, clear men­tality and consciousness must endeavour at all times to choose the right and honest people to occupy political offices.

The electorate must not choose people for political offic­es by virtue of where these peo­ple come from in the country; but strictly by their capabilities and abilities to deliver to the best interests of the country.

This is what prevails in the most advanced and most pro­gressive nations of the world such as America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan etc. The electorates are highly educated and well informed; and they exercise their franchise by carefully choosing the right and capable candidates to occupy the various political offices of gov­ernance to ensure the progress and advancement of their countries. To this end, the electorates of these countries choose their candidates for governance, not on the basis of ethnicism, sectionalism or political organisation; but strictly on desir­able qualities and the needs and interests of their countries.

In fact, this simplistic, naïve and ill-informed way of voting practice is popular in African countries including Ghana of course, the star of Africa!

This is most unfortunate and unacceptable for the smooth and healthy developmental process of African countries in their continual efforts to experience economic growth, development and prosper­ity.

It is uncivilised, barbaric and ret­rogressive as it is the root cause for conflicts and dissatisfaction, which often plunge African countries into civil wars and genocides which had besieged African countries in contemporary times.

When this occurs, it impedes stability, progress and development; and introduces chaos in African countries.

Ghana is the star of African liberation and aspirations; and so she must strive hard to reverse and change this unpleasant situation in order to bring about sanity, justice and healthy developmental process in the life of African countries for the benefit of posterity.

Compared to other African countries’ situations, Ghana appears to have a long, somewhat peaceful and sustaining democratic system of governance.

This is commendable and must be further sustained for Ghana to experience a healthy economic growth, development and pros­perity, that will become a shining example for the rest of Africans countries to follow.

The Ghanaian experience up to date needs to be improved upon as it is fraught with the anomalies and shortcomings that had been highlighted in this article.

The Ghanaian experience has therefore not reached the stage of perfection. To this end, it is highly imperative for the Ghanaian elec­torate to become more enlightened and well informed in the choice of political leaders and represen­tation, so that Ghana can become more peaceful and strongly united to experience economic growth, development and prosperity.

Ghanaian political leaders must also try to become more sincere and honest in the devising of their political manifestos for the development and prosperity of the country.

They must also try to refrain in their campaigns for political power and leadership, the fanning of sentiments, of ethnicism and divisiveness in their utterances; as this will generate and reinforce the conditions for divisiveness and sectionalism in the rule of the country; which are at variance in the smooth and healthy develop­ment of the country.

Ghana must rise above all the unhealthy conditions that had been mentioned in this article in order to pave a healthy and enlightened way of co-existence of the rulers and the ruled of the country to promote economic growth, devel­opment and prosperity.

In conclusion, I reiterate that the electorate and governance con­ditions must undergo a rigorous transformation and change by the suggestions that had been advanced in this article for a new good chapter to be opened in the democratic system of gover­nance of the country which at the moment appear to be shaky and vulnerable from a critical point of view.

A healthy and a well informed democratic system of governance must prevail in the present Ghana­ian political situation for the rest of African countries to follow.

This is the big challenge and test to Ghanaian democracy practice.

A citizen casting his vote with the help of an electoral official


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