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Electoral violence, ethics and society


THERE IS a political union known as pan-Africanism. I struggle to fathom why Africans waited after colonisation of Africa and the introduction of obnoxious Trans-Atlantic slave trade before realising their identity as Africans.

The Organisation of African Unity sat down and watched as Iddi Amin Dada killed 500,000 Ugandans before finding out that he was cruel.

Today, there is a continental political organisation like African Union, and regional groupings like Economic Community for West African States yet, Yahya Jammeh continues to murder, torture, arrest and detain Gambians with impunity.

Let the world leaders decide to unseat the iron-fisted dictator of Gambia. Tthen you will hear the same sleeping African leaders using derogatory terms like Western imperialists and neo-colonialists or the leading super nations.

Must we sit down for the selfish politicians to plunge the country into chaos before knowing we are Ghanaians? This article reflects on electoral violence, ethics and society.

“Supporters of the two major political parties – National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) – clashed last Sunday morning in front of the Nima residence of the NPP flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo” (Source, November 13, 2016).

This incident raises some questions. There are many streets in Accra, so why did NDC supporters decide to use a street in front of Nana Akufo-Addo’s residence? Who permitted them to use that route? We have to work hard to eschew electoral violence in our country. Chinese are engaging in illegal mining in Ghana, albeit amid political stability. What will happen to our resources in the event of political instability?

Almost every human being has a different view on morals. We all have diverse views about when it is wrong to lie, cheat, steal, betray a friend, flout a law, murder and threaten to kill. We have convictions about the role of good life to material well-being, artistic accomplishment, athletic prowess, intellectual curiosity, friendship and love, sex, courage and so on.

What makes an act right or wrong? What things are good or bad? Consequentialist moral theorists assert that the rightness of an action is determined by the goodness or badness of relevant consequences. The most famous of the consequentialist theory is utilitarianism.

The utilitarian theory posits that the only thing that is bereft of derivative value is the welfare or happiness of sentient beings. It claims that other things such as courage, knowledge, love and money have value. The degree of their value is linked to their contribution to happiness. Moral philosophers, like Jeremy Bentham, claimed that happiness goes with pleasure and absence of pain and proceeded to fashion out a calculus to measure the relative value of different pleasures and pains.

How many Ghanaian politicians will enjoy their political powers when the very people they are supposed to exercise such powers over are murdered through electoral conflict?

Certainly, there can be no happiness without society because all human problems are social and those within the province of individuals are capable of becoming social. Destroying the very society individuals want to lead is very quixotic. The government is significant because of the opposition parties.

If the Accra Hearts of Oak football club destroys all soccer clubs in the world, then its very existence as a soccer team would not mean anything. We live in the world of unity in opposition. Health is important because of diseases, NDC is important because of NPP. The youth in the country are inundated with hopelessness due to high rate of unemployment. The clash between NPP and NDC supporters near NPP candidate’s residence was needless and irresponsible.

The youth in Ghana are vacillating between hope and apprehension. In spite of abundant natural resources like gold, diamond, manganese, bauxite, timber, oil and rich cocoa plantations, our leaders have failed to create jobs for the youth. Are these leaders worth dying for? Let us see ourselves as one country and avoid the needless political tensions.

Let us raise our country above the selfish politicians. I also support the call for USA and UK to revoke all the diplomatic visas of political leaders who incite violence. Let us love the innocent citizens, women and children of Ghana and eschew electoral violence. “We can conceive of a future without high rises. But humanity without music and love is not just inconceivable: it is impossible.” (George Leonard).

God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.

Writer’s e-mail:

Nana Yaw Osei (Padigo)

About Benjamin Sapaning

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