Nothing is inherently dirty about politics’ – Akufo-Addo

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According to President Akufo-Addo, there is no permanent dirt about politics. He said this during the delivery of the State of the Nation Address on Tuesday, February 27, 2024. The President was touching on Ghana’s political challenges and the benefits of the 1992 Constitution to the country.

“We in Ghana have had our fair share of political instability and experimentation about how we should govern ourselves. There might be new names being ascribed to some of the supposed new ideas being canvassed by some today, but I daresay, on close examination, we would discover they are not new, we have tried them here, and they have failed. We know about all-powerful, cannot-be-questioned Messiahs, we know about liberators, and we know about redeemers and deities in military uniform.

“It might sound new to some, but those of us who have been around for a while have heard the argument made passionately that democracy was not a suitable form of Government if we wanted rapid development. It is a tired argument that was regularly used by coup d’etat apologists.”

According to President Akufo-Addo, “It is also not new to have political parties and politics, in general, being denigrated, indeed, there used to be national campaigns of fear waged against politics and political parties.

“It took time and it took long battles, but, in the end, a consensus did emerge, and we opted for a multi-party democratic form of Government under the Constitution, which ushered in the Fourth Republic.”

Touching on the weaknesses of the Constitution, the president said the Constitution is not a perfect document but that does not mean it should be discarded. He said changes can be made to the constitution to suit changing demands or fix the lapses.

“Mr Speaker, it is not a perfect document, Constitutions do not ever pretend to be; but it has served us well these past thirty-two (32) years, considering where we have come from. It is a sacred document that should not be tampered with lightly, but, I hasten to add, our Constitution did not descend from heaven, we, Ghanaians, drew it up to serve our needs, and we can amend it to suit our changing needs and circumstances. We should work towards finding a consensus on the changes that the majority of Ghanaians want made to the Constitution.”

Also, the president said the increased political tension and alleged animosity currently witnessed in the country are because it is an election year. He said it is part of politics and people should not take it out of context. He, however, urged the Electoral Commission to put in measures to ensure a credible election.

“A lot of the responsibility lies on the Electoral Commission to put the organisation in place that would ensure that we have credible elections. Government is doing its part to make the work of the Electoral Commission go smoothly.”

President Akufo-Addo also called on political parties to be more responsible during these times to ensure the process is smooth in violence-free.

A lot of responsibility lies on the political parties as well, and I hope that the parties recognise that their credibility is also on the line, with some people wanting to undermine the multi-party democratic system of government. It is up to the parties to demonstrate that competitive elections are an honourable, character-enhancing experience, and, at the end of the process, the loser will congratulate the winner, and the world does not come to an end because an election has been lost.

There is nothing inherently dirty or corrupt about politics, and nothing about elections that should generate violence. We, who are in politics and we who are members of political parties, owe it to ourselves, the institutions we claim to belong to, and, above all, we owe it to Ghana and the people of Ghana to make politics and elections the serious and joyful phenomenon they should be.

“In discharging their responsibility, I urge the Electoral Commission to work with the political parties to iron out whatever problems there might be, and I am happy that the Electoral Commission, after engaging the parties, has shelved plans to change the 7th December date. Politics, after all, has been described as the art of the possible, and, if that is what we are engaged in, it should not be beyond us to resolve the problems that come up, and concentrate on working to build the happy and prosperous country we want.”

Akufo-Addo also expressed confidence in the security services in the country to ensure that everything is handled well during these tensed periods.

“I have confidence in the security services to ensure that those who might want to cause havoc or any kind of mischief to disrupt the electoral process will have no room to operate.”

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