Ghana is widely touted to be a successful democracy in Africa but can a country has failed to provide many of its people with basic needs like quality healthcare or affordable housing despite its great riches be described as a democracy? To see if Ghana is truly a democracy, let us go back to the 1980’s and look at the military government of Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso.
In my opinion, the military government of Thomas Sankara is one of the most democratic governments in African history.
Yes, Thomas Sankara was a military ruler but let us look at what he did once in office.
The wonderful achievements of Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of ministers. He reduced the salaries of all public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of 1st class airline tickets by government officials. The savings made were then invested in building pharmacies all over the country to cater for the people. Sankara’s children studied in the public education system.
Burkina Faso, at the time Thomas Sankara took over had the majority of its people living in poverty and lacking the basic needs of life. Sankara knowing this got the leaders, including himself, to sacrifice some of their privileges. After all, why should the leaders live in luxury whiles the people wallow in poverty and misery?
Is Ghana really a democracy?
Now, let us look at Ghana and see how our leaders are living in great luxury whiles the masses struggle to have access to water or decent healthcare. How can we say we live in a democracy when the basic needs of the people are not catered for?
How is it that the leaders who are supposed to be our servants rather have everything they need and more whiles the people who they are supposedly serving struggle to survive?
In a democracy, the basic needs of the people must be the top priority of any government. For a rich country like Ghana, what can be the excuse for not even one of our basic needs(education, healthcare, housing, jobs) as human beings being adequately provided?
Democracy demands that the leaders dedicate themselves fully in service to the people. But it is rather Ghanaians and Ghana serving our leaders.
When we have Ghanaians dying simply because there no hospital beds, how can the priority of our leaders be to pay the first and second lady a salary?
When we have armies of unemployed youth and schoolchildren sitting on the bare floor, how can our leaders neglect that to engage in frivolous spending?
Just take a look at our representatives in parliament. In a democracy, MPs are supposed to be accountable to the people and must act solely in the interests of their people. But these MPs have proven over and over that they only care about their own selfish interests. Just look at them approving car loans of $100,000 each for themselves where taxpayers will pay 60% with interest. How can this even be called a loan and how can they accept this after all the ex-gratia? Where is the concern for poor Ghanaians?
The fallacy of democracy in Ghana
A country can be said to be democratic when the state is fully dedicated to serving the interests of its people. The State in Ghana is clearly not serving the interests of Ghanaians but rather serving the politicians and their cronies.
What we have is a political system that serves only a FEW. That is the leaders and their family and friends. Just look at how they have looted and shared our wealth to enrich themselves. We cry about no water, bad roads, poor healthcare and education system but our leaders do not care. They have effectively insulated themselves from these problems and so are not affected.
If you are still not convinced, take a minute to compare Sankara banning the use of 1st class on flights by all officials to Ghana’s Akufo-Addo ditching the Presidential jet for a luxury private jet at a time of great economic hardship for his people. When a leader is so insensitive to the plight of his people, how do you talk about democracy?
Does Africa truly have democracy?
I hear many people say that democracy isn’t good for Africa and we need something else. No, they are wrong. The truth is that we have a FAKE democracy and what we need is a true democracy. What we need is a true government OF, BY and FOR the people. Can anyone boldly tell me that the NPP and NDC governments since 1992 have been FOR the people? No, they have clearly been for the leaders of both parties and their family and friends.
It is time for us to have a Government that is truly FOR the people. A government made up of selfless and morally upright leaders like Thomas Sankara.