Democracy as a system of government is one of the best we have invented so far. Theoretically, it is supposed to take into account the view of everybody in the country, from the richest businessman to the poorest petty trader in the system.
A truly representational, system of government.
The contrast with a dictatorial regime, where one person decides who lives and who dies- is that accountability is also the job of everyone. Often systems have to work for those who circumvent it to actually be punished.
However, with the selfish nature of the species, there are very few people in authority who would actually see to it that those who flout the rules are given the appropriate punishments. Right in this very country, we had a uber corrupt judiciary that presumably has been that way for a long time now, and it took the intervention of a singular, determined private investigator, Anas Aremeyaw Anas– to bring that to light.
So with the reluctance of leadership to do the job they’re often elected to do, the people have to seize up that mandate. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” was how Edmund Burke put it. Without any motivation to be straight, no one would stay on the narrow.
That’s one of the biggest problems in this country- the willingness of the citizenry to put up with virtually anything without any need to take any corrective measures. The Ghanaian can complain about everything, but do pretty much nothing about it. It is a consequence of a very apathetic approach to everything, mostly couched in the religious term ‘Fama Nyame’- to wit, ‘leave everything to God’
In that vein, corruption, incompetence in public circles, and an approach to running things in the country that’s as laissez faire as it gets- permeates every facet of Ghanaian society. Ghana has been embroiled in a power crisis for much of the last four years, the currency keeps depreciating, an unkempt capital that leads to the outbreak of endemic diseases- many other issues that could be raised. In spite of daily complaints on the mouths of everyone, practically every single day; not a single public official has been held accountable by the people for presiding over any of these problems.
Which is why it is kind of refreshing to hear of a government being brought down by concerted public action. It concerns an issue that probably has very little with what government is actually supposed to do, but they were still held responsible for it. In Ghana, we have public officials messing up the very jobs they are supposed to do and going away scot free.
“Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has resigned after some 20,000 people took to the streets to protest over a nightclub fire that killed 32 people” the BBC reports.
“Friday night’s blaze in Bucharest started when a band performing at the club set off fireworks inside.
“Demonstrators called for Mr Ponta to step down, complaining of government corruption and poor safety supervision.
“I’m handing in my mandate, I’m resigning, and implicitly my government too,” Mr Ponta said in a statement.
“I hope the government’s resignation will satisfy the people who came out in the streets,” he added.
“Protesters also demanded the resignation of the mayor of the Bucharest district where the nightclub fire occurred and the country’s Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea. Both men also stood down on Wednesday.
Activism does not always work; many regimes worldwide do not simply care about the sentiments of their populace to that level. But with enough determination pretty much anything can be done, and the pressure should be there for it to be said that the attempt was made, at least.
Recently Let My Vote Account, an activist group in Ghana, got brutalised by police during a demonstration. That’s not what you should expect from a democratic nation like Ghana; and incidents like those do not promote the mindset of citizen action that is really needed for accountability to reign.