Can anybody tell us why profound poverty continues to plague our nation of barely 25 million people in this modern era of globalization in 2012? Why do you think the vast majority of our beloved people live on less than a dollar a day and struggle from cradle to grave living in near squalor, and eking out near subsistence existence? As yourself why is it that in the midst of this profound abject poverty less than ten percent of our fellow countrymen and women live in opulence and wallow in untold riches with their mansions encased with six-foot walls, seek medical attention in luxurious medical facilities abroad? Are the vast majority of our people in poverty ignorant and stupid, while the few wealthy ones are perceived as more intelligent and wiser than all of us?
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GHANA: An Incomplete Independence or a Dysfunctional Democracy?
By Kwame Insaidoo Kwame A. Insaidoo Jr. Robert A. Insaidoo
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Kwame Insaidoo
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePREFATORY COMMENTARY
Take a good look at our great nation of Ghana from the peaceful rolling coastal landscape, the luxuriant tropical forests, the beautiful grasslands tucked in the midst of our nation, and the large expanse of virgin soil in the upper fringes of our nation and you know that the Almighty God, the pantheon of heavenly angels and our traditional ancestors so greatly loved our nation and richly blessed its people. The Almighty God further demonstrated his unconditional love for Ghanaians by protecting our land from the vagaries of unstable climatic conditions, by providing our nation with bright sunshine throughout the year. Our people were shielded from the horrible bitter cold and long nasty winter weathers that have become the norm in other nations. Look again and you will see that the Almighty Providence has ensured that his people of Ghana will not endure nor suffer constant chaotic climatic hazards of tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and typhoons which claim the lives of thousands of people in other lands.
To those of you who are blinded and have no faith in Ghana look at the immensity of mineral wealth bestowed unto our nation by the Almighty God. If you go to most villages in Ghana you will see the littered remains of barely scratched bore holes of gold excavations. Our land is richly blessed with gold. Do you also know that paper currencies around the world are just mere paper supported by the various governments around the world, and all of them are convertible to the real natural money, GOLD? Do you see the mighty handiwork of our loving God and his immense and unconditional love for the people of Ghana by richly endowing us with the real money, GOLD?
We must never forget that it was this great blessing of our gold that attracted most of the Europeans to our nation. The Portuguese arrived in the 15th century and named the first town they settled El Mina, literally in the Portuguese language "the mine", because of the immensity of Gold they found there. These huge and abundant gold resources stirred the greed of King John II of Portugal to instruct his protégé, Don Diego d' Azambuja to construct the immense castle in El Mina for the ostensible reason of exploiting or stealing these gold deposits to Portugal. This natural blessing of gold in our land further attracted many other Europeans, who were not so blessed, to our land. Thus we saw expeditions of various people like the Dutch, British, Swedes, Danes, Spanish, and even the Prussians to our coastal areas in search of the gold.
The English Merchants were so astonished to behold such enormous endowments of gold in our land they named it the "Gold Coast", and despite the hundreds of years of European pillage, exploitation and 'thieving' of our gold they have barely scratched the surface of our rich gold inheritance, because this blessing is so immense that huge deposits still lie buried underneath our land.
Look again around our nation and you will notice that God loved our land so much that he insured that his children will not suffer for anything, God continued to bless our land with other wealthy minerals like diamonds, bauxite, manganese, copper, phosphate, nickel, chromium, uranium, petroleum and others. Furthermore, for God being so good to our nation he endowed his children with various forest resources, like the sweetest and the best pineapples in the world, various high grades of natural timber and abundant amount of fisheries in our waters. We should not also forget that because Ghanaians are among the favorite children of God when our illustrious son Tetteh Quarshie brought only a handful of cocoa seeds from Fernando Po, and planted them in his native soil of Ghana, God blessed his efforts, and for many years our nation became the world's leading producer and exporter of these precious cocoa beans.
Above all, the most significant blessing of our nation is the peace-loving, good natured, beautiful and happy people of Ghana. Our people are by nature so trusting and friendly to foreigners that the Europeans began abusing their trust by hurling them into the odious trans-Atlantic slave trade to exploit their labor for wealth in the so-called new lands. Additionally, these untold blessings of natural wealth, coupled with the good-natured people that inhabited our land, led the Europeans to eventually settle and colonize our society for the expressed purpose of exploiting this natural wealth and the labor of our people.
It is instructive to mention that our good natured people did not merely lay down for the Europeans to colonize them. The most powerful nation in our society, the Asante-nation attacked the Europeans in 1807, again in 1811 and 1814 which forced the British, Dutch, and Danish authorities to come to some form of accommodations with the Asante-nation, and "signed a treaty of friendship that recognized Asante's claims to sovereignty, over large areas of the coast and its people." [See Library of U.S. Congress country studies: Ghana]. Furthermore, when the British Governor of Sierra Leone, Sir Charles McCarthy, sought to abrogate these friendship treaties with the powerful Asante-nation, war ensued. At the Battle of Nsamankow in 1824, the Asante soldiers chased, executed and decapitated Sir Charles McCarthy and paraded his head throughout the length and breadth of their capital, Kumasi. Finally, in their determination to resolve the Asante menace permanently, the British mounted an expeditionary force of nearly 3000 British soldiers and a large contingent of African troops under the command of the fierce Sir Garnet Wolseley and eventually succeeded in occupying and burning down Kumasi, the capital of the mighty Asante-nation.
The powerful Asante-nation did not entirely accept defeat until 1896 when the British mounted yet another military expedition to Kumasi and exiled the mighty King of Asante-nation, Nana Prempeh I to the Seychelles Islands and forced the Asante-nation to become a British protectorate. But in 1900, the Asante-nation under the Queen mother of Ejusu, Yaa Asantewaa mounted a fierce military campaign to prevent the illegal colonization of the Asante-nation, but the British prevailed, and succeeded in imposing their colonial rule on our nation.
Our people's indomitable spirits to liberate their motherland from British colonialism did not lay dormant, as gallant men formed the Aborigines' Right Protection Society in 1890 to fight against the British encroachment on our traditional land-tenure system. This brilliant political protest laid the ultimate foundation for political action which eventually culminated in the nationalist movements that led to our independence.
Despite the British domination of our land, political agitation for increased elected native representation to the Gold Coast Legislative Council continued when Joseph Casely-Hayford organized the National Congress of British West Africa in 1920 to demand such representation. These gallant and noble Africans who forced the British to practice the democracy they preached about included John Mensah Sarbah, Africanus Horton Jr., and Attah-Ahoma. Through their gallant efforts, the British grudgingly began to democratize the Legislative Council with elected native representation.
In August 1947 Dr. J.B. Danquah, Pa Grant, Edward Akuffo-Addo and others formed the U.G.C.C., the United Gold Coast Convention [UGCC] to demand self-government in "the shortest possible time." Because they were generally British trained scholars they pursued the process of independence by employing British elitist conventions, styles, mannerisms preferring a gradual approach in their quest for self-government.
Kwame Nkrumah who was invited by Dr. J.B. Danquah from London to become the general secretary of the UGCC became at odds with their conservative and elitist approach to independence. He broke away and formed his own political party, the Convention People's Party [CPP], to vigorously demand self-government 'now'. Thus began the fractured and acrimonious political campaign by two hostile, warring and antagonistic political parties with different philosophical and ideological approaches to attaining self-government from the British.
When Kwame Nkrumah and his victorious CPP ascended into power and attained independence, they alienated their political rivals in the opposition party, who were also bent on the destruction of Nkrumah and his CPP allies. Kwame Nkrumah in his haste to consolidate his political power away from his hostile and antagonistic political foes unwittingly created an incomplete independence and a dysfunctional democratic system, where compromise, the key ingredient of democracy, became an ugly word.
Our independence was incomplete because as Kwame Nkrumah and CPP regime centralized all government and economic activities only CPP members and party officials were truly independent because channels for upward mobility, corporate jobs and lucrative business ventures were open to them and their cohorts. Anyone who dared challenge Nkrumah's policies, especially members of the opposition party, tasted the bitterness of a nation with an incomplete independence, because they were thrown into detention camps without trial.
Ghana became an incomplete independent nation because Nkrumah and his CPP members maintained the political power structure of the oppressive colonial administration. Nkrumah, like the colonial Governor retained the awesome power to appoint his cabinet ministers and deputy ministers from parliament, which further subordinated the parliament to the executive branch of government, much like the colonial power structure. The judiciary, under Nkrumah was also much like the colonial system because Nkrumah packed his CPP cohorts and adherents into all the courts system and the rest of the judicial branch. Additionally, Nkrumah emulated the colonial Governor by appointing all Regional and local commissioners, thereby depriving the people of the various regions and localities the complete freedom to enjoy and practice the independence they have attained by electing their own regional and local officials to manage the affairs of their localities. Sadly, Nkrumah's style of governance, the democratic centralism, has dominated our political landscape till this day.
It is instructive to reiterate that the 1992 constitution which created our current democratic system unfortunately replicated the oppressive colonial political structure and the imperial presidency of Kwame Nkrumah. Like the colonial political structure, and the super-presidency of Nkrumah, our current president has absolute control of both the horizontal and vertical political structures, and so dominates the entire political spectrum of our nation. Our imperial presidency, much like the colonial masters, has absolute control of our horizontal political structure because of his power to appoint cabinet and deputy ministers from parliament, the people's representative assembly. Under such patronizing system the members of parliament are tempted to dance to the whims of the president as they maneuver and position themselves to attain lucrative cabinet positions which bring them wealth, popularity, and national prestige to further their political ambitions. We must realize that under such a patronage system, no parliamentarian appointed to either cabinet or deputy cabinet position has any real motivation or incentive to challenge presidential decisions or policies for fear of possible cabinet reshuffle that will demote him and be replaced with a more pliable and manageable parliamentarian. We should bear in mind that human nature being what it is, there are many parliamentarians waiting in the wings or shadows to seek such prestigious cabinet positions and would not dare challenge the president whether he is right or not.
Additionally, a plethora of reputable international organizations routinely and objectively classify and rank the qualities of democracies in the global system. Such organizations include: Freedom House, Global Democracy Ranking, World Economic Forum, Transparency International, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance and many others. These organizations employ several methods or indicators to measure and determine the quality of democracy in various nations, among which are: political rights, press freedom, civil liberties, corruption perception index, electoral freedom, increase voter participation, the level of crime, electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of the government, methods of financing political parties, supremacy of the legislature, checks and balances in government, independence of the judiciary, bureaucracy's ability to implement government policies, treatment of tribal minorities in the nation, separation of state and religion, mechanism to promote voting among the diasporas, are women sufficiently represented in government, etc.
Between 2005-2009 Global Democracy Rankings ranked the quality of Ghana's democracy on the scale of 0 the lowest score to 100 the highest score out of a total of 100 countries. The results are summarized in the diagram below:
Global Democracy Ranking of Ghana
Overall Rank Total Score: Total Score: out of 100 2005-2006 out 2008-2009 out nations of total score of of total score of 100 100
61 50.47 51.42
Source: http://www.democracyranking.org/en/ ranking.html.
The conceptual framework of Democracy Ranking hinges on its definition and measurements of the quality of democracy as: "Quality of Democracy = (freedom & other characteristics of the political system) & (performance of the non-political dimensions)." Of course those freedoms implicit in a democracy refer primarily to the much celebrated political terminology, civil liberties, which has its origins in the English Legal charter of 1215, the Magna Carta.
Civil liberties in a democracy guarantees fundamental human rights which insist that all human beings are created by the Almighty God and hence possess certain inalienable rights that cannot be arbitrary violated by any government, church, traditional chiefs, individuals, and other powerful entities in the nation, among which are: the rights to live in peace, right to life, to liberty, to a fair trial, freedom of speech, of religion, to own private property, freedom of movements, of association, to vote, to defend yourself, to protect individuals from arbitrary government actions, cultural and rights to educate children etc.
By far the most authoritative and comprehensive ranking of the quality of our country's democracy was conducted by the London based Economists Magazine Intelligence Unit's Index of democracy in 2007 [See: The Economist Intelligence Unit Index of Democracy by Laza Kekic, Director, Country Forecasting Services, the World in pages 1-11]. The Economist highlighted the essential sine-qua-non of the features of democracy by asserting that, "the fundamental features of a democracy include government based on majority rule and the consent of the governed, the existence of free and fair elections, the protection of minorities and respect for basic human rights. Democracy presupposes equality before the law, due process and political plurality." The Economist applied these objective criteria to rank the quality of democracies in 167 nations in the global system. On the scale of 0 lowest score to 10 highest score, the results of Ghana's democratic score is summarized below:
Economists Intelligence Unit of Democracy Index score of Ghana 2007:
International Ranking 95 out of 167 nations
Type of Democracy Hybrid
Overall Score [0 lowest & 5.35 10 highest]
Electoral Process & 7.42 Pluralism
Functioning of 4.64 Government
Political Participation 4.44
Political Culture 4.38
Civil Liberties 5.88
Source: Economists Intelligence Unit: Democracy Index 2007
Ghana's democracy was not developed enough to earn honorable status as "full democracy" not even as "flawed democracy", but was rated "hybrid regime". When I consulted my dictionary, the word 'hybrid' was described as: 'two different types of components; blend of two diverse cultures, or traditions; consists of combinations of ..." The Economists ranking of Ghana's democracy as "hybrid" is what I have been referring to as dysfunctional democracy because a 'hybrid regime' presupposes that our democracy is a combination of freedoms and authoritarian regimes in the governance of the nation. A cursory glance at the quality and practice of our democracy reveal certain glaring inadequacies:
Our electoral process is still not free from coercion and intimidation, and in some polling stations the party-foot soldiers from the dominant parties of NDC & NPP continue to intimidate voters. This significant threat to the security and well-being of voters prevents many voters from going to cast their votes, hence reducing the level of electoral participation which can significantly affect the outcome of our elections. The Center for Democratic Development noted, "The use of violence and violence-prone tactics is become almost habitual and routine in our elections." The mouthpiece of the center, Democratic Watch further observes that in the "Akwatia re-runs gunshots were frequently fired from various parts of the town.... and several people were badly injured" all because these voters were exercising their legitimate right to vote in a so-called free elections. The paper finally informed us that, "reviews of newspaper reports on Ghana's election in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 indicate varying degrees of election-related violence in the period before, during and after polls in many places across the country. Worst still, the incidence and levels of election related violence appears on the increase."
Excerpted from GHANA: An Incomplete Independence or a Dysfunctional Democracy? by Kwame Insaidoo Kwame A. Insaidoo Jr. Robert A. Insaidoo Copyright © 2013 by Kwame Insaidoo. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Contents1. Prefatory Commentary....................1
2. A symbol but not the substance of Independence....................37
3. Incomplete Independence or a Dysfunctional Democracy?....................55
4. A Case Study of Dysfunctional Democracy: The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana....................93
5. The New Revolution: Making our Democracy Work to Complete our Independence....................147
6. Real Independence or Raw Deal?....................189
7. A New Vision To Completing Our Independence & Creating A Functioning Democracy....................239
8. Incomplete Mental Independence?....................287
9. Dysfunctional Democracy & Incomplete Independence Breed Unfettered Corruption....................319
10. Epilogue: What Ghanaians are saying about their Nation....................371
11. Empowering Ghanaians—Issues For Discussion....................391