The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin, has cautioned political parties in government to be be careful of what they do, since no party has a monopoly on power.
He has also encouraged Ghanaians, especially supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to come out boldly with their views and perspectives on national issues, as well as party issues to make good governance practices in the country meaningful.
Speaking on a broad range of issues, including the emergence of vigilantism in mainstream politics and multi-party democracy under the Fourth Republic, the 60-year-old veteran politician who granted the Daily Graphic an interview at his office in Accra last Monday, reasoned that: “Government and leadership are about the ruling party and opposition, and how to galvanise all the forces of democracy at all times to govern properly to impact positively on the lives and well-being of the citizenry.”
Mahama and Akufo-Addo
In the light of this, Mr Bagbin, who is one of the longest-serving legislators since the inception of the Fourth Republic, expressed his disappointment with former President John Dramani Mahama and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“I get so disappointed with President Akufo-Addo and former President John Mahama for their inability to build a political culture of tolerance, where there is give and take in our body politic and there exists maturity of compromises,” Mr Bagbin, who is also a founder member of the NDC, explained.
Knowing that no political party can make it all alone, Mr Bagbin was of the strong view that the country’s development trajectory would have been one of inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness.
He said the two leaders who had had all the opportunity of hindsight to do what was right had not been able to do so effectively.
He said a lot could be achieved in politics through compromises, bearing in mind that no political party could make it all alone.
Weakness of democracy
According to Mr Bagbin, the weakness of the country’s democracy is that the political parties are still not strong. He said most of the parties were still weak, lacked knowledge on national issues and rather depended on manifesto promises to promote their parties.
“We don’t seem to have true policy positions of political parties even though we are building multi-party democracy,” he observed, saying: “One of the areas to focus attention is building and strengthening the capacities of political parties going forward.”
He cited the instance where the NPP was in power and was inundated with the problems of political vigilantism and hoodlums.
“These are NPP hoodlums who are seeking to capture everything for themselves. They are not vigilantes; what are they watching? They are just gangsters causing mayhem and seeking their selfish interest. They are not interested in watching over state treasurer and preventing people from taking away government property,” Mr Bagbin stated.
He said the crippling violence emerging in the body politic of the country was a threat to democracy and expressed delight that ‘’many other governance institutions, civil society organisations, as well as few members of the NPP have stated their position against the current violence in the country”.
There is no need for party militia in our body politic, Mr Bagbin stated, and indicated that: “The failure of the President to control the party militia will send the wrong signal, as well as encourage other political parties to build their own militia.”
“Ghana should better watch it, since no party has a monopoly of violence,” he cautioned.
“How can this be happening in our country?” Mr Bagbin asked and wondered why one would have to sleep with one eye opened.
Living in fear
The second Deputy Speaker noted that violence and armed robberies were becoming the order of the day and many people were living in fear in a country that prides itself on freedom and justice.
“This is disturbing me daily,” he stressed and called on the government to use the military to stem the rising tide.
“If I were in the shoes of the President, I would have used the military to support the police to reverse the unfortunate trend,” he pointed out.
He said at a time the nation was engulfed with economic difficulties, political vigilantism and violence in our body politic should not be tolerated.
“It is time to nip it in the bud and focus all our energies on resolving the economic challenges facing the country and its citizens,” Mr Bagbin stated