Upon the declaration of 2012 general election results, lives have been lost to extreme jubilations as well as the anguish of losing. While some fanatics of the winning party have lost their lives through unregulated and daring celebrations, others are reported to have committed suicide due to the inability to come to terms with their dear party’s defeat. It is, however, surprising to note that virtually all these groups of people stand to gain no direct benefit from these parties anyway. The questions I seek to answer are whether it is wise to die for politicians and why people are always ready to do so?
It is important to note that these recent reports are only a tip of the iceberg. Many ordinary Ghanaians who stand to gain nothing upon their political parties assuming power continue to risk their lives needlessly. During political seasons, battle ready young men quickly mass up upon the slightest allegation by politicians. They put their lives on the line through reckless motor riding, demonstrations and fierce protests. Some of these activities result in casualties, injuries and even deaths. These sections of people are not only prepared to sacrifice their lives, relationships and families for no reward, but are also prepared to inflict harm on others for their political passions. Despite the enormous sacrifices by party loyalist, some of whom do not even have membership cards, the direct beneficiaries of these political parties and politicians remain in the comfort of their homes and go about their life activities in a very serene manner.
In spite of the glaring consequences of political fanaticism, the market of people who offer themselves as sacrificial lamps for various political parties are always on high supply. Presently, there is a huge supply of protestors chanting war songs and violence to register their grievance in what they believe to be an injustice meted out to their party by the electoral commission. Even though their leaders at this stage appear to be calling for calm, they seem hesitant to retreat.
What then move people to offer themselves for such unrewarding and perverse actions? While such extremist sentiments could be informed by passion, intolerance, deceptions, indiscipline and ignorance, the major driving force in the Ghanaian context perhaps is idleness. Unemployment on the part of the youth easily pushes them into offering themselves as a living sacrifice which will not earn them a place in eternity anyway. Lack of employment opportunities for the young people in Ghana today is not just economic worry but is gradually becoming an issue of national security. Cases of mobilizing idle youth for rioting and rebellious actions are not far from us. This gives credence to the saying that the devil finds work for the idle hand.
Unfortunately, our politicians are taking undue advantage of such victims, who to a large extent, co-created by these same politicians who are presiding over corruption and lack of economics opportunities in the country. Clearly, if these young people were engaged in some serious employment, they would not offer themselves to political machinations that only succeed in destroying themselves and society at large.
It is time we demanded politicians to bring their children and family members on board when they call for riot, violence and needless demonstrations as a sign of commitment to what they incite others to do. In addition, legislation that will compel politicians to surrender their passports to the National Security ahead of elections will be of help. This will coerce politicians to commit themselves to peaceful campaigns and elections beyond the usual rhetoric of words. Such laws will ensure that when they succeed in setting the country on flames we can all burn together. To the youth- “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example of the believers, in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity”-1Timothy 4:12. WISE UP GHANAIAN YOUTH, LONG LIVE GHANA.
Emmanuel Kwasi Mawuena