Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, has counselled the nation to return to its valued systems by rejecting political intolerance, intemperate language, disrespect for authority and divisiveness.
He described as worrying people’s negative understanding and practice of politics and said this had become the greatest threat to the fabric of the society.
“The winner takes all and the do and die attitude of the politicians and their supporters poses danger to the country,” the Asantehene stressed. “Politics has become the shortest route to riches and patronage and people will do whatever is necessary to get there. It is a win and lord over the people (issue) but not to change the destiny of the people.” Otumfuo Osei Tutu was addressing a durbar held in honour of the winners of the Millennium Excellence Awards at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on Monday.
He said it was important for the citizenry to draw lessons from those who had practiced multi-party democracy for many years and had built up respect and recognition for diverse opinions and were prepared to dialogue with people of different political traditions and opinions. “The phenomena of political foot-soldiers and serial callers are unknown in established democracies,” he observed. He said It was these two groupings that had fuelled the unacceptable level of intolerance in “our body politics”, he noted. Otumfuo Osei Tutu said it appeared the more intolerant of opposing views one was, the more that person was recognised and rewarded by his or political party.
The result indeed is “the fear and panic that has gripped the country”. As a nation, “some episodes in our history have contrived to make governance difficult”.
“The military takeovers and the excesses of those periods when there was unnecessary arrest and brutalisation of the civilian population by sections of the community by the army and police, only for them to be accused subsequently of profiting from those endeavours have been indelibly printed on the minds of Ghanaians.
“The lack of job opportunities and seemingly lack of a concerted effort by politicians to solve those pressing issues of our time has spawned the foot-soldiers and serial callers. If they had jobs they will be working hard to earn their keep and not engaging in counterproductive activity,” he said. Otumfuo Osei Tutu reminded political leaders to appreciate the fact that the way they were doing things was unhelpful to the next generation of politicians.
The Asantehene said the millennium excellence awards which showcased individual exemplary hard work and achievements should send a powerful signal to all that “politics must not be the only route to recognition.”