Dr. Clement Abas Apaak, Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South Constituency in the Upper East Region, has chided the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its surrogate civil society organizations (CSOs) for keeping mute, while the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government derails the progress of the nation’s democracy with impunity by dismissing public and civil workers without due course.
According to him, over the last couple of years, when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government was in charge of the affairs of the country, many well-meaning Ghanaians and civil society organisations had expressed concerns about what has been described as the “winner-takes-all” politics syndrome.
The political syndrome, described as the capture of all levels of political power and control of all public resources by the winner of a national election, such as the ongoing practice by NPP government, has been identified as one of the main factors responsible for the growing polarisation of contemporary Ghanaian society.
The winner-takes-all is considered to be a complete marginalisation of opposition political forces from the country’s governance process, and was said to be partly responsible for the over-politicisation of nationally important issues that require consensus.
Many Ghanaian personalities criticized the previous government and went further to talk about power-sharing being the best bet for Ghana’s political fortunes if we need to move forward as a nation.
Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, at the 2016 Krontihene Akwamu Lectures in Accra and the third annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lectures at the University of Western Cape, South Africa, urged Africans to shun the zero sum approach to politics.
“We must turn our backs on the ‘winner-takes-all’ approach to politics which has been so damaging to our continent. We have seen how this has led to abuses of power by the winner and encouraged losers to reject democracy as a peaceful means for change,” Mr. Annan was reportedly quoted in the media
Mr. Annan was reported to have added that elections in Africa, “must be based on the democratic principles of universal suffrage and political equality, and must be professional, impartial, and transparent in its preparation and throughout the electoral cycle.”
According to him, “When conducted with integrity, elections bolster democracy, promote development, and produce governments which are more likely to represent their citizen’s interests. But, sadly, elections in Africa can become a trigger for conflict rather than a peaceful way to regulate competition for political power.
The former UN boss was further quoted to have said, “We must turn our backs on the ‘winner-takes-all’ approach to politics which has been so damaging to our continent. We have seen how this has led to abuses of power by the winner and encouraged losers to reject democracy as a peaceful means for change.”
However, Dr. Apaak told The Republic the winner-takes-all system, now offers the Ghanaians two strange pills to swallow, as the current happening under the Nana Addo government cannot lead us to escape from the system.
He said, unlike the previous era where political think-tanks and pro-democracy activists and organizations, religious and other moral society leaders were labeling” winner-takes-all” as evil, all have suddenly turned blind eyes on what he described as ” winner sacks and takes all.”
“We have gone from “winner takes all” to “winner-sacks and takes all,” he said adding “Yet those voices, think-tanks, pro-democracy activists and institutions, leaders of moral society, trade union leaders, who saw everything wrong with what they called “winner take-all,” today seem to accept, “winner sacks and takes all.”
“Indeed change has come. Back then, “winner take all” was dangerous for the future of our democracy. Today, winner sacks and takes all” is not dangerous for the future of our democracy,! Dr Apaak stated.
The former presidential staffer expressed the view that, if care is not taken, the mass dismissal of public and civil workers with the perception that they have political links to the previous government would worsen the already polarized country.
He pointed out that, since the NPP took over governance early this year, more than 30,000 public workers and civil servants have been sacked or dismissed or, better still, asked to proceed on leave.
The affected institutions and agencies are Youth Employment Agency (YEA), National Health Insurance Authority, Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority, COCOBOD, and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), among others, whose directors, deputy directors and other key staff have been dismissed.
The latest affected institution is the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, which is also known as the Ridge Hospital, has its Medical Director, Dr. Thomas Anaba, falling victim to the mass “winner sacks and take all” syndrome.
But Dr. Apaak said, over the years, what is missing from all the concerns and discussions around this syndrome of ‘winner takes all”and now “winner sacks and takes all”politics, however, is a critical analysis of how it dovetails with our competitive and sometimes very violent electoral politics.
He noted that, it had encouraged a short-term ideological focus, prevented more thoughtful and longer-ranged development and management of government appointees and called on same moral society leaders and think-tanks to find same voices to condemn the ongoing mass sacking of Ghanaians workers.
He explained “The winner-takes-all syndrome was born and grown to influence “incompetence and rampant corruption in government by American public administration, under President Andrew Jackson between 1829 and1837.”
“It was the expectation and convention that workers of the America public administrative should be well qualified and discharge their responsibilities efficiently and fairly, while avoiding favouritism for political or personal advantage.
“Likewise in Ghana, we find our NDC and NPP divide that comes along with party foot-soldiers with more power. These suggest that it will not be easy for Ghana, particularly, with the value system broken down; and all that matters is wealth gathering, mostly through any corrupt means,” he posited.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba