Opinion: Democracy Is About the Will of the People, Not Party Bosses by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo/Photo: The Impact Group

It cannot be gainsaid that parliamentary experience has a significant role to play in the growth and development of Ghana’s democratic culture. But it is also significant to recognize the fact that parliamentary careerism does not augur well for the development of the country, as a whole, as it tends to become an end, in of itself, for some self-seeking individual politicians. Voting out some 40 parliamentary incumbents in the just-ended parliamentary primaries of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), was extremely healthy for our national democratic culture. What this means is that unlike the decidedly ossified and, for the most part, effete chieftaincy establishment, a parliamentary seat is by no means a birth right. Rather, in the bests of worlds, the acquisition or retention of a parliamentary seat must be squarely based on merit or the hard work and competence of any individual parliamentarian, as deemed by his or her constituents, and not what party bosses and/or parliamentary colleagues deem to constitute merit or professional competence.

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You see, the retention of a parliamentary seat and the condign loss of the same, ought to be seen from the perspective of the voters and/or constituents who voted to send the parliamentary candidate to our National Assembly to represent their needs, interests and aspirations, vis-à-vis the allocation and the distribution of our commonwealth or our collective national wealth and resources. So the decision of whether any particular parliamentary incumbent retains or loses their seat must be seen from the point-of-view of how relevant these candidates were deemed by their respective constituents to have represented their needs and aspirations in Parliament, and not how efficient these Members of the House had acquitted themselves vis-à-vis the observation of parliamentary protocol, contrary to what parliamentary careerists like Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the Parliamentary Majority Leader and the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, would have Ghanaians believe.

It is quite clear from his largely self-serving pronouncements, that Mr. Mensah-Bonsu may be woefully out of touch with the very people who voted to send him to Parliament to represent their needs and aspirations some 20 years ago. Which likely was the reason why the equally grossly misguided Chief of Asante-Breman recently took the main opposition National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentary Candidate for the 2020 Parliamentary Election to a cemetery to, reportedly, to pour libation in order to ensure that Mr. Mensah-Bonsu royally lost his parliamentary seat. Now, I am absolutely no fan of Mr. Mensah-Bonsu, my PERSCO senior schoolmate, so it ought not to have come as any surprise that I was, finally, enthused by the fact that a locally powerful traditional ruler had the guts to have opportunely grown to realize the fact that the Parliamentary Majority Leader may very well have effectively outlived his usefulness for the people of the Kumasi-Suame and Asante-Breman Constituency.

We all witnessed the proprietary arrogance of Mr. Mensah-Bonsu, when in the leadup to the 2016 general election, the then Parliamentary Minority Leader led the current Minister for Defense, Mr. Dominic Nitiwul, literally by the nose, to vigorously campaign for Mr. Alban SK Bagbin, the longest-serving National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentarian and present Second-Deputy Speaker of Parliament, against a parliamentary candidate put up by the Constituency Executives of the New Patriotic Party in the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency, in the Upper-West Region, which Mr. Bagbin has been representing since 1992. You see, Dear Reader, parliamentary cultural competence is the least bit among the most significant worries of the Ghanaian citizenry.

What Ghanaians are in dire need of, more than anything else, is an equally visionary and competent political alternative to the New Patriotic Party down the road, as and when the electorate begins to get tired of the present ruling party and begins to clamor for a constructive and progressive alternative to the New Patriotic Party, once Nana Akufo-Addo and Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, highly likely the immediate successor to Nana Akufo-Addo, barring any unforeseen circumstances, exit the scene sometime in 2029 or thereabouts. Absolutely no government, however progressive or visionary, can stay in power for ever, not even an extortionate AK-47-guided military junta like the Jerry John Rawlings-led erstwhile Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC).

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr@modernghana.com