The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has condemned what he considers to be the “compulsive and obsessive” politicisation of issues in the country. He said it was unfortunate that the national goal had now been perverted by politics, describing the phenomenon of politicisation of issues as “demons eating away the gains of democracy under the Fourth Republic”.
“The air we breathe is polluted with party propaganda. There is no issue that is not politicised,” he said in Accra Friday when he delivered the 2013 Annual Democracy Lecture organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).
The lecture formed part of activities marking this year’s Constitution Week, which is on the theme: “Advancing together.”
The significance of the occasion did not only lie in the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the inception of the Fourth Republic, but also the array of dignitaries who graced the occasion.
They included former President J. J. Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu; the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012 presidential election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; the President of the National House Chiefs, Professor John Nabila; the Chief of Staff, Mr Prosper Bani, who represented President John Mahama and Mr Frank Agyekum, who represented former President J. A. Kufuor.
Mounting the podium in his full royal adornment, the Asantehene did not hide his displeasure for the manner partisan politics is eating up the Ghanaian society, and his words of wisdom and good counsel attracted loud applause from the audience.
He said Ghanaians had tossed true scholarship and good intellectual discourse into the litter bin, and in their stead, a culture of insults and abuse now prevailed.
He said although people might belong to different political persuasions, the true meaning of democracy was for them to forge unity in diversity to address their common problems.
The Asantehene stressed the need for Ghanaians to be guided by the warning signal at level crossings – Stop, Look and Listen – and reflect on the shortcomings of the country’s democratic dispensation in order to make amends.
He said there was the need for a national consensus on fundamental issues in the country, suggesting the enactment of a legislation that would forbid governments from abandoning projects initiated by their predecessors.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said freedom of speech did not mean freedom to defame anybody, adding that people must be held accountable on what they did and not what others said about them.
He advised journalists not to mortgage the honour of their profession for a “pot of porridge”.
In spite of the gloomy picture he painted about the country’s fledgling democracy, Otumfuo Osei Tutu said there was ample room for optimism.
While commending Nana Akufo-Addo for resorting to the legal avenue, and not any other means, to resolve the election dispute, he said the petition case at the Supreme Court demonstrated the maturity of the country’s democracy.
He urged Ghanaians to calm their nerves as they awaited the outcome of the petition, while calling on the parties involved to, as an obligation, accept the ruling of the court.
The chairperson of the NCCE, Mrs Charlotte Osei, said there was the need for all Ghanaians to work towards the consolidation of the country’s democracy.
“We neglect our democracy to our own peril,” she said, adding that it was time for all Ghanaians to come together and work in unity.
Most Rev. Gabriel Charles Palmer Buckle, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, chaired the function.