Ghana should be way ahead of where it is currently, I think a lot of people would admit that. Of course, the two dominant political parties, who have taken turns to govern could have done more to better the lot of the Ghanaian people.

I have read my colleague Evans Mensah’s fascinating article about Rwanda’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) 35TH Anniversary and how that reflects on Ghana with his fundamental assumption that to fix a country, you must fix its parties. Evans Mensah suggests that Ghana stagnated in terms of development because of how its political parties are run. Respectfully, I demur.

While the observations made by Evans Mensah about the disciplined nature of the RPF are commendable, it is an oversimplification to suggest that fixing a country is solely dependent on fixing its political parties. While political parties play a significant role in shaping the policies and governance of a country, they are not the only factors that determines a country's success or failure.

Indeed, in Rwanda, Paul Kagame is literally a dictator, he runs the whole country like one would a personal venture. In fact, I will go as far as to argue that many personal ventures are way more democratic than Rwanda under Kagame. Since 2000, Rwanda has known no leader other than Kagame, interspersed with a few shams of elections which his party usually wins with more than 90% as well as the deprivation of a thriving opposition, as we have in Ghana. Democracy has a price sometimes. Since Kagame came into office in 2000, Ghana has had two successful turnovers from one political party to another, Rwanda has not even had anything closer to credible elections.

The modes of our respective democracies and the way our political parties function explains why Ghana’s political parties do not organize congresses like the way they do in Rwanda. When you govern a country in which your political party is literally the only political party, you can go ahead and organize Chinese-Communist-Party-like conferences where you discuss ideas most of which are steeped in propaganda and desire to make your country look good in order to blur the serious developmental and human rights issues.

Ghana’s political parties – in particular, the NDC and NPP are well-oiled bureaucracies, and we tend to give them less credit than they deserve. When you rule a country, where there is only one political party, you tend to have so much room to not only be relaxed, you do not even watch over your shoulders. The argument that party paraphernalia is not lined up to the venue of the congress, and the little chaos that characterizes political party congresses in Ghana connotes so much indiscipline is such a debatable proposition.

It is not even accurate that Ghana's political party conferences or congresses as they like to call them are devoid of real policy discussions. The keynote addresses usually delivered by the party leaders focuses on policy. Those in government use the opportunity to explain policy decisions and those in opposition either criticize government policy or announce theirs.

The “chaos” is only a testament to the broad base following of these political parties and how huge these conferences are held which actually reflects their democratic nature. If the NDC or NPP selected a little less than 5,000 political party supporters or officials and gathered them in a certain conference room, the events will be more organized than holding an event where more than 50,000 people attend. As for what people wear and hold, it is just a different political culture which is even a feature in advanced democracies like the US, so I have very little to say about that.

There appears to be a certain glorification of how things are done in Rwanda which are usually used as an occasion to look down on the gains made in Ghana. Why do we almost always overlook the bitter dictatorship the people of Rwanda have to endure? Even the basic rights we enjoy here, our abilities as journalists to take government officials and their policies on and walk, rights that are basically non-existent in Rwanda. Why is the debate always about some vain idea of ‘orderliness’? If we want to compare Ghana to come countries so bad, why is it always Rwanda and not another country that shares similar democratic ideals as us in order to make the comparisons even?

As has been said, the comparison made between the RPF and Ghana's political parties overlooks the unique historical, cultural, and political factors that shape each country's political landscape.
It is my view that Evans Mensah’s characterization of Ghana's political parties as "indisciplined" overlooks the fact that political parties are made up of individuals who may have different beliefs, ideologies, and agendas. It is unfair to label an entire political party as indisciplined based on the actions of a few individuals within the party.

Instead of solely focusing on fixing political parties, it is essential to address the root causes of Ghana's economic and developmental challenges, such as corruption, lack of infrastructure, and inadequate social services. These issues require a comprehensive approach that involves not only political parties but also civil society, private sector, and the general public.

Fixing a country's political parties is an essential step towards improving its governance and development. However, it is not the only factor that determines a country's success or failure. A more nuanced and comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of a country's challenges is required to achieve sustained progress and development – I do not believe Evans’ article is nuanced enough.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.