Thursday, 25 September 2008

Ghanaians should vote for a real change

By Archie Bonka
Ghana Election

Half a century ago, Ghana became the first sub-Sahara African country to gain Independence from the then British colonial rulers. With a great dynamic leader, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah whose strong vision of seeing a united Africa, declared on Independence Eve that Ghana's Independence would be meaningless unless it was linked with the total liberation of Africa from colonial rule. Ghana was hailed as a model for the African content, which earned respect for Africans and the black race in the western hemisphere. In fact all Africans became Ghanaians then.

But the whole democracy process had a set back when the military junta and the police overthrew the government, plunging the newly gained independence into chaos and near collapsed. This did not only set the country back but collapsed the whole vision for a united Africa. A new multi party election was held in the year 1969 which was won by the then progress party under the leadership of Dr. K.A.Busia, a strong architect of democracy values, but his term of office was again terminated by another military coup setting the clock back again. From then on the military dominated the political scene with a brief democratic rule headed by Dr.Hilla Limann and the people national party from 1981 to 1983.

Another military junta under the leadership of Jerry John Rawlings had to rule the country in a dictatorship manner until 1992 when the floor was once again opened to a multi-party democratic system. An election was held which was won by the National Democratic Congress under Rawlings who had suddenly turned civilian. Surprisingly, this period paved way for real and strong democratic values such as press freedom, human rights and so on. It steered the country slowly back to stability followed by a steady economy growth and rapid development after a total collapse.

And after eight years in power, Ghanaians voters made a bold attempt and voted out the National Democratic Congress out of power. The transition was held smoothly and was hailed as a lesson to African dictators. They were advised to emulate Rawlings in this regard. Ghanaians once again found themselves in a stable and progressive dispensation in a region where dictatorship and brutality had been the order of the day.

As the incumbent president John Kuffour's terms comes to an end this year, Ghanaians once again will be going to the polls to choose a new leader on December 7 this year. Ghanaians for the past eight years have seen their once peaceful country turns into a den of armed robbers, paid assassins, drugs depot and high level of corruptions among the authorities despite the headway in development.

But the bottom line is, as the elections draw nearer both the leading parties are stampeding each other with war mongering. For instance, by playing tribalism card, which is detrimental to Ghana’s development. The fear of civil war has gripped the nation. During a rally, Defence Minister was quoted as saying "it is the masses that will suffer if there is civil war, because the ministers and their families have the means to check out fast from the country".

I think it is high time African politicians learnt from just concluded elections in the United States of America. There was nothing like civil disorder before and after the elections. We will like the whole world to see us Africans or the black race that we have come of age. But if we allow what is happening in Kenya, Ivory coast, Rwanda, Zimbabwe etc, then the feat by having the first Blackman in the white house will be questioned.

I therefore urge all Ghanaians to vote for a real change and ignore any drums of tribalism by both the NDC and NPP political parties, in so doing, history will be made, moving the country and the continent forward. Long live Ghana, long live Africa.

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