#Ghana@TheCrossRoads: WE NEED A STRONGER SOCIAL FABRIC FOR SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRACY – John Mahama

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My brothers and sisters, aside reversing the economic decay, I wish to emphasize the need to re-weave our social fabric which is bursting at the seams now. It threatens national cohesion and our democracy as well.

The despair and disenchantment that the economic and social problems have created within our people cannot and should not be underestimated. There are many in our country today, who question the relevance and usefulness of the democratic path we chartered thirty years ago. They see too little progress or hope to convince them that democracy of the sort we are practicing is worth the effort.

I am an unrepentant believer in democracy, and I hold that it is the only viable path to nation building. Disruptions of the constitutional order cannot be an option and would rather worsen a dire situation, but I am also pragmatic enough to realize that mere rhetoric and exhortations about democracy no longer give our people hope, particularly our young people who are desperately searching for jobs or the young families out there whose mortgage plans have been disrupted because the dollar has arrested the cedi. What threatens them must threaten us and jolt us into solution mode.

Of course, I know they also have a responsibility as citizens towards national development, but I also appreciate from my interactions with them that, they do not expect government to solve all their problems. They are not unreasonable!

Therefore, we as political leaders must demonstrate through our deeds that the struggle to restore democratic rule those three decades ago and the flame of hope that was lit in our people has not been in vain. We must restore confidence in the democratic path.

We can, if we carry out extensive reforms in our political and governance system and deliver the goods and services they yearn for. This is the way to go so that even in times of crisis, they still see a silver lining at the edge of the clouds. And can wait out the hard times assured that effective and responsive leadership will work in their best interest.

The political elite in Ghana are taking Ghanaians for granted and are governing and using resources in a manner that suggests personal benefit rather overrides national collective benefit. Under no circumstance must personal benefit override national benefit.

The time has come to adopt bold and radical measures to carry our people along so we can win back their trust and confidence to manage the affairs of the state with dedication and sacrifice.

After thirty years of operation, the young people of Ghana expect us to carry out a comprehensive review of our constitution and governance system. They expect a strengthened fight against corruption and waste. They expect modesty and frugality on the part of our leaders. They expect humility and respect from those who lead us.

In the meantime, this current administration must show commitment to building genuine consensus on the matters that concern Ghanaians the most and rally support around a common national cause. I am ready to support this national goal with patriotic zeal. The President must show leadership and take urgent steps at this crossroads to end the dangerous levels of inequality and polarization we see in the country.

To do this, let him respect the rights of all citizens and refrain from the intimidation of the media through hostility and needless arrests of critical voices. Let him end the politically motivated witch-hunts of leading opposition voices. For emphasis, President Akufo-Addo and his Vice President must demonstrate a commitment to the fight against corruption by prosecuting his officials many of whom have engaged in corrupt acts and disarm and stand down his militants he has drafted into the security agencies.

On the security front, this government must weed out the rogue elements it has drafted into the security agencies because they constitute a major threat to society – including robbing bullion vans at gunpoint.

Let the Attorney-General prosecute the killers of those eight innocent Ghanaians who were killed during the 2020 elections as well as the perpetrators of the Ayawaso West Wuogon violence. Let the President be interested in his Attorney General securing justice for Ahmed Suale, the journalist who was killed in cold blood for simply doing his work. And let justice be done in the case of Major Maxwell Mahama, a fine soldier who was lynched at Denkyira-Obuasi in 2017 whiles on duty tour.

These are the measures that can begin to set the tone for a genuine dialogue on building national cohesion and consensus and bring an end to the dangerous levels of polarization and discontent we see and feel around.

There is not a single example of any country in this world where repression of the opposition and dissenting voices or bad governance kept any party or leader in power forever. Eventually change will come because there is only so much that an oppressed, and over-burdened people can tolerate.

President Akufo-Addo inherited a buoyant democracy with strong institutions that made it possible for him and his party to win the 2016 elections. And that happened without a fly being hurt. Let him take those steps that would ensure that he leaves the country in one piece at the end of his tenure in 2025.

At the moment, this government has lost its way and seems ill-suited to govern.

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