Political actors must shape and influence the conduct of their followers
To the political elites – especially those in the current government I have four words for them.
Stop the partisanship.
And oh, let me add this: find yourselves some principles.
I know politics is about defending partisan interests.
No qualms about that.
But we must draw the line at some point.
And say to ourselves:a wrong is a wrong no matter who does that.
It is still a wrong.
A wrong does not become right simply because of the person involved.
And this is where the principles I am talking about matters.
Take the Hawa Koomson case for instance.
And let’s do some scenario switching.
Imagine the NPP was in opposition.
And the opposition NDC was in government.
Imagine that it was an NDC minister who went to an electoral centre to fire a warning shot.
What would have the NPP said?
I am sure they would have rightly been angered by such a move.
They would have engaged the media and asked the President to do something about his minister – in addition to whatever the police might be doing.
I am very positive about this.
The NPP media would have rightly pilloried the minister for her actions. Trust me.
No one in the NPP would have said that the minister involved was acting in self- defence.
They would have seen the facts for what they are as criminal conduct.
They would have probably articulated better the situation better than it is being done by the NDC.
But alas, our politics is basically about protecting our own and leaving others in the cold.
And these moves only deepen the partisanship.
A ministerial appointment is more than just another employment.
It is a public service position.
It is a position that requires you to act with the greatest integrity.
A minister’s obligation is one which is fiduciary.
A minister’s role is to look out for everyone with the highest standard in mind.
And this is why people are disappointed when ministers act with impunity and get away with it.
Firing a gun in broad daylight when you could have obtained the services and support of the police service is not right.
Spin it whichever way you would.
It is not justifiable under any circumstances.
It is not. It is not justifiable in Kenya.
It is not justifiable in Zimbabwe.
It is not justifiable in Tanzania and it is not justifiable in Ghana.
Wrong is wrong.
It does not matter the position of the wrongdoer.
It should not matter who the wrongdoer is.
And it should not matter who the wrongdoer is related to.
Until we get these little things right, we would struggle to build a just and equitable society.
We cannot build a society where the law’s response to an incident is dependent on the characters involved.
That cannot be right.
We cannot build a country where a wrong ceases to be wrong because of what one stands to gain.
We are only setting ourselves up for failure and eventually resentment.
Last week, I wrote about why people delight in the misfortunes of politicians.
Thinking about it, it is not that they are evil.
But it is the selective application of the law in their favour and the disproportionate inequity that they create leaves many excited anytime something bad happens to them.
Our politicians must stop the ill-considered partisanship and show some principles.
We are all smart enough to know that some acts are just simply wrong – no matter what anyone says.
And it is not enough that these acts are condemned in private (if at all).
They must be publicly condemned because for good or bad, political actors shape and influence the conduct of their followers.
Condemning such acts stops more people from repeating the acts.
That is why the President must speak whenever such incidents happen.
His voice carries weight. And people listen to him.
They listen to what he says and does not say.
And to the security service: you are our buffer in times of trouble.
We need you to act in our best interest in and out of season.
We need you to be firm and stand up to the politicians – regardless of who is in government.
Don’t fall for the political games of the politicians.
What we must know is that selective enforcement of the law only makes the service weaker and poorer.