We need to improve, as part of the fundamental pillars of our democracy, civic dialogue amongst the citizenry of Ghana, especially across the main political divide.
This challenge cannot be left to civil society organisations, the constitution can further enforce this principle towards a more open Ghanaian democracy, consciously built around public discourse. But it is up to the machinery of government to make this a core value of the Republic and our political culture. At the heart of this issue is the divisiveness of partisan politics.
The National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party duopoly over politics has left the people of Ghana more divided than ever. Citizenship is about peaceful coexistence and interdependence. So how can the political space bring people together to ensure that our government meet people’s needs?
The Way Forward.
Ghanaian citizens, in their respective districts, must be engaged at town-hall meetings religiously, to deliberate over national and international issues, from the education policy in Ghana to fiscal discipline and public spending priorities. The community of citizens involved in civic dialogue could, perhaps, constitute a Citizens Council. Civic dialogue would broaden the scope of a larger social reform agenda for Ghana.
And once this method gains understanding and support from the citizenry, government would be able to gather more accurate data to guide its policy framework, upon which they are more likely to arrive at more effective decisions, on behalf of Ghanaian citizens. This process would foster mutual respect and tolerance amongst citizens.
Civic dialogue brings citizens much closer together and allows them to debate issues out with a view to making some meaningful progress in society. It can breathe new life into public discourse which has become largely dominated, besides politicians, by bureaucrats and academics.
Ghana’s role in international affairs has greatly diminished, especially by the afro-optimists who expected the Republic to lead the new wave of Pan-Africanism.
Our traditional international image as the vanguard of the Pan-African ideal is lost. Ghanaians are growing frustrated.
They are asking whether the funds squandered on public administration by the governments of the 4th Republic justify the development in our society. Today, the leadership of the 4th Republic has brought upon innocent citizens painful realities.
No President, since the founder and architect of the modern Republic of Ghana, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, has been able to rally the mass of our people for the attainment of a grandiose ideal, ever since Ghana became an independent nation on 6 March 1957.
Perhaps, this is because it was the closest, we ever got, as a Republic, to reaching nirvana. Since the uniting factor of an alluring vision is absent, could this national ideal be the struggle for economic independence?
Democracy is like a car: to get it going, the engine must work. Civic dialogue can the engine running once more.
Author : Vincent Djokoto