“…Nationalism and patriotism have become very deficient in Ghana today. Absolutely nobody thinks about the country first; we all think about
ourselves first, our families second, our parties third, maybe, our communities fourth and Ghana comes a distant fifth or sixth or even tenth,”
The former President made this assertion in his speech at the induction ceremony of the newly opened Ideological institute.
His assertion has generated heated debate on social media, in the academia, and in the media, by politicians. Patriotism means the love for one’s country and the willingness and zeal to defend it. It rekindle in us the spirit to live for our countries, make sacrifices and protect their values and even die for it if necessary. The former President’s assertion is not far from the truth. Patriotism, the inner determination for owning our country, the spirit to stand and face all odds to liberate country, the love and emotion for mother Ghana has lost for sometime now. But in discussing this crucial issue, I think we must categorise it into four perspective if not more, the political perspective,social, economic and religious perspectives. The former President, being a politician and a former President, shared some of his political experiences with us to support his assertion. Those seeking to discuss the topic comprehensively, must put off their political lenses to enable them deal with the issues objectively. The problem is that, we Ghanaians are not able to define our identity clearly and after 60 years after independence are just hanging from the labyrinth of several dogmas and fake theories and populist policies etc, but the simple doctrine of patriotism is remained forgotten and buried in the books of Ghanaian history. I don’t think we must reduce this important subject to who joined the masses to clean choked gutters and who didn’t. To claim that President Mahama did not instill patriotism among many young people all because, “allegedly” he didn’t willingly affiliate with ordinary people and joined them to clean choked gutters, is false. On many occasions he joined the people to clean choked gutters. He joined some residents in Kumasi to clean up some areas in the region, on 30th August 2014, he, together with some of his appointees descended into filthy drains and went round garbage- choked spots at James Town etc , he joined to people of Pampaso around Kejetia Bus terminal and its surroundings to clean up the area.
When the President affiliated the people and joined the people to clean up our cities and choked gutters, these were some of the responses:
This was what one of stalwarts in the opposition party wrote and published it in our newspapers and online. Another response was this –
From one of our renowned journalists and an officer in the media business I respect and admire so much. Chairman General Kwami Sefa Kayi questioned the rationale behind President Mahama’s decision to personally descend into the gutter simply to demonstrate to Ghanaians the need to clean up their environment frequently so as to stay healthy
And this was the how some people reacted to his action-
Patriotism as i described earlier, is the determination for owning our country, the spirit to stand and face all odds. Did those basing their PATRIOTISM analysis on who jumps into choked gutters defend the President’s action when people vehemently chastised him for joining the people to clean choked gutters? Where was our patriotic lenses when people attacked the former President for embarking on what we today describe as one of the activities a president must do to instill patriotism among the masses. Let me hang this issue somewhere and deal with the phenomenon categorised into the segments earlier stated.
The former President touched on ideological issues and the need for party folks to understand the values and principles underpinning the ideology. The need to understand that social democrats believe in certain unique political virtues including its economic ideology and social values. He advised party folks that strict adherence to these cherished values would ensure internal discipline, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes. Backbiting, bootlicking, unnecessary competitions, baseless hatred, funny gossips etc make our politics unattractive and the arena, unsafe and the President’s assertion was not far from the truth. Lazy and greedy politicians seeking to be kings in tiny islands fan the ember of disconnect between the political class, government and the masses causing unnecessary tension and hatred in the party.
The backbiting, hatred and unnecessary clashes were see in the party could rightly be attributed to lack of understanding of the parties ideological principles and virtues among some of the members and the president was spot on.
If we link it to our national politics, then we must look at how some of our partisan decisions and hypothetical stance on national issues details accelerated development, peace and unity in the country. We deliberately keep quiet for power- hungry politicians to hoodwink citizens into believing their lies because of our political biases. We offer our respected platforms to politicians to attack policies we know are prudent as part of our support for a “regime change” agenda. We fail to criticise actions and policies of government we vehemently attacked when a particular government implemented because of our partisan stance.
Do our lecturers, tutors and teachers teach our students materials and information captured in our books or distort facts in these documents to suit their partisan interest. One practical case is the ongoing “who is the founder of modern Ghana” debate. We know the facts yet we feed our students with distorted stories to suit our interest without considering the longterm effect. We use our lessons to incite students against regimes and political parties whose ideological inclinations we do not agree with.
We have consciously and unconsciously buried about 90% of our traditional values. We no more support each other and have lost that wonderful community spirit which brought our families and communities together. Each for himself, is the new phenomenon. That traditional patriotic spirit our elders cherished and exhibited which inspired them to purchase lands, ornaments and other properties for their extended families is dead and buried. Today, we buy our lands and build our house according to the number of kids we have.
How patriotic are our men of God. Do they preach about issues which instill among their congregation the spirit of patriotism? Do they educate their members to understand policies of our governments? Many of our men of God are more political than religious using their pulpits as platforms for propagation of parties and governments propaganda.