Ghana is widely touted as a successful democracy in Africa, but can one country fail to provide basic needs such as drinking water or quality health care for its many people, despite its vast wealth can be described as a democracy?
To see if Ghana is truly a democracy, let's go back to the 1980s and look at the military rule of Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso. In my opinion, the military government of Sankara is one of the most democratic governments in African history.
Yes, he is a military ruler, but let's see what he does once in office.
Sankara sold the government's Mercedes fleet and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at the time) the ministry's official car. It lowered the salaries of all officials, including his own, and prohibited the use of first-class airline tickets by officials. The savings were then invested in building pharmacies across the country to supply people. Sankara's children study in the general education system.
When Sankara came to power, the majority of people in Burkina Faso lived in poverty and lacked the basic necessities of life. Sankara, knowing this, forced the leaders, including himself, to sacrifice some of their privileges. After all, why should leaders live in luxury while people are drowning in poverty and misery?
Now let's look at Ghana and see how our leaders live in luxury while the masses struggle for access to clean water or proper healthcare. How can we say that we live in a democracy, when, even though we are rich, the basic needs of the people are not being met?
How can the leaders, who will be our servants, have more than they need and even more to deal with the people they serve in order to survive?
In a democracy, the basic needs of the people should be the top priority of any government and in a rich country like Ghana can this be the reason for even one of our basic needs (water, education, health, housing, jobs) because the people are adequately insured?
In a true democracy, the leaders are fully committed to serving the people, but Ghana and the Ghanaian people serve our leaders.
If we have Ghanaians who drink water from rivers that bathe animals, and we have Ghanaians dying simply because there are no hospital beds, then how can our leaders' priority be paying big salaries to the first and second first ladies?
When we have an army of unemployed youths and students sitting on vacant lots and under trees, how can our leaders ignore this to partake in reckless spending?
Just look at our MPs in Parliament. In a democracy, members of parliament must be accountable to the people and may only act in the interests of the people. But these MPs have proven time and time again that they only care about their own interests. Just look at how they agreed to a $100,000 auto loan with taxpayers paying 60% interest. How could it be called a loan, and how could they accept it after voluntarily taking a large sum of money? Where is the supply of Ghana's poor?
A country can only be called truly democratic if it feels fully committed to the interests and needs of its people. The state in Ghana is clearly not serving the interests of the Ghanaian people, but the politicians and their friends.
What we have is a political system that only serves a few people. These are leaders and their families and friends. Just look at how they plunder and divide our wealth to become rich. We cry for water shortages, bad roads, poor health care and education systems, but our leaders are not interested. You have effectively isolated yourself from this problem and are therefore unaffected.
If you're still not convinced, compare Sankara, who says all government officials use aviation in the first trouble for their people. If a leader is so insensitive to the plight of his people, how do you talk about democracy?
I hear a lot of people say that democracy is not good for Africa and we need something else. No, you are wrong. The truth is we have a fake democracy and what we need is a real democracy. What we need is real government by, by and for the people. Can anyone boldly tell me that the 1992 NPP and NDC governments are FOR the people? No, it was clearly aimed at the leaders of both sides and their families and friends.
It's time to have a government that is truly FOR the people. A government of selfless and moral leaders like Thomas Sankara.