Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Political hookers

Formation of so-called pressure groups is very much fashionable in Ghanaian politics. It does not matter which side of the fence you stand, so far as one is able to punch the weak areas of its opponents, its fine. And dirty tricks are allowed. It is unsurprising that political hookers from both the ruling National Democratic Congress and the opposition New Patriotic Party are desperately setting up groups to go after each other.

There are more than five of such groups on both sides. The loudest of them all however is the pro-NPP group, Alliance For Accountable Governance (AFAG). Members of the group have desperately tried but without successful to distance the organisation from the NPP but not everyone is interested. The group has organised two demonstrations against the sitting government, the recent one taking place on Wednesday in the capital, Accra. The group’s anger was over the recent fuel increase announced by the government some weeks ago. , as well as difficult economic conditions in the country. The "Ahokyere" demonstration as the organisers put it was also to protest against the rising cost of living in the country.

In a swift response to AFAG’s demonstration, a pro government group in Kumasi took to the streets in praise and dancing. The said Movement for a Better Ghana “which demonstrated under the theme "Anigye" or happiness, called on the government to prosecute members of the former government suspected to have stolen state resources for their personal benefits. Their defense for the increasing economic difficulties (obviously not affecting them because of what they get from Osu) was as a result of a certain TOR which has become a convenient spot for both parties to point to, anytime people raise questions about the economic difficulties or the billions stolen from public funds.

Whilst it’s clear that living conditions in the country are no better than we are being told, it is important for us to question the rationale behind the formation of groups pretending to be raising the concerns of the marginalized. The answer is not difficult to find: Their intent is to prop up desperate politicians back to power or help them stay in it. It is surprising that members of AFAG just two years ago were up in arms with anyone who appeared to have criticized the then ruling government. Things, they told us, were extremely important and that John Kufour was doing well. His reign, again told us, brought economic prosperity to Ghanaians; inflation down, Ghana’s image has been bolstered etc.

Whilst things were rosy for them, John Mills and his boys, then in opposition, were on the streets singing on empty stomachs. Some of them made us aware they are struggling to find even a decent meal a day to feed on.

Two years down the line however, they are telling us things are much ‘Better’ than they were; inflation is down, Ghana’s image abroad is solid and more roads and schools will soon be built. Their points were no different from the then ruling government but they, together with the rest of us, rubbished them. So we joined and sent the elephant way out into the bush.

The umbrella is said to be up in the sky but the sun is still beating us, harshly.

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