The 21st could be characterised as a dispensation having fought and emerged as a victor against dictatorial and tyrannical dominance all in the quest for one royal crown called democracy.
However, the fundamental bedrock of fruitful democratic governance has been stained, trashed and worst of all deserted! Abraham Lincoln says it well when he asserted that “democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Stratifying Lincoln’s definition would emerge a very conspicuous but also essential word “participation” which also means “do it yourself.” Democracy since its inception has been accepted and adopted by many countries all over the globe because of its positive correlation with good governance.
Over the years, as countries in Sub-Sahara Africa adopted democracy as a system of governance, good governance also improved instantaneously. Some key indicators of good governance are Rule of Law, responsiveness, accountability, equity and inclusiveness, consensus-oriented transparency, effectiveness and efficiency and most importantly Participation.
Contrary to participation which is the fundamental bedrock of democracy is political apathy; which means lack of interest by people in political matters. This includes lack of interest in elections, demand for accountability, taking part in public meetings, taking up government appointment, giving public opinion etcetera. The 2016 elections recorded a voter turnout of 68.62% which implies that 31.38% of the registered voters were apathetic towards elections. This taints our democracy as the outcome of elections may not represent the true intent of the people. Political apathy places the future of our democracy in danger. Most Youth’s also have the feeling that participating in the things of politics is not going to make any difference since they believe the political system is flawed. We must not only sensitise the youths on the political process but also build their capacity through empowerment so that they can effectively participate and contribute their quota to national development. Institutions such as the Electoral Commission, National Commission for Civic Education, National Youth Authority and many more have a dominant role to play in increasing political participation especially among young people.
Party-dominated political arrangements, religious beliefs, unwelcoming political confrontations from family and friends, poor government performance, lack or inadequate sensitization on the political process, violent campaigns, vote-rigging among others are but few of the factors responsible for the canker that has eaten deep into the fabric of our Ghanaian democracy. If these issues and many others are not resolved with utmost urgency, then I am afraid to say that even though our system of governance is in nature democratic, we are yet to see a Ghana which is “truly democratic!” We may be left with no choice than to continue to witness obscene epithets from the political arena such as; lack of accountability, corruption, misrepresentation of opinions, barrier in communication between government and the citizens and many other ills. Democracy in our world today especially Ghana has been erroneously redefined as “government of some people, by some people and for some people” and if that is what democracy stands for, then it’s not worth the fight! What is worth the fight is “true democracy” which I define as “government of all people, by all people and for all people.”
To wipe out political apathy from Ghana and the Global space, it is incumbent on individuals, corporate bodies, religious groups and many more to actively and effectively take up roles in the political process and by participating in elections demanding for accountability, knowing and defending their right is key.
Political apathy undermines the very essence or the core of democracy to uncompromising disrepute, hence an ignominious slap on the face of democracy.
I, therefore, entreat all Ghanaians especially it’s Youth to get involved in political matters because political decisions ultimately come to affect every aspect of our social strata and individual lives
God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong!