Convenor for the Arise Ghana Movement, Bernard Mornah, says one of the major reasons why civil society movements are unable to be sustained in the country is due to poaching of its members by political parties and governments.
According to him, over the years, political parties and governments have taken to giving political appointments to civil society actors as a means to silence them and depopulate these movements.
The phenomenon, he said has been witnessed among several popular civil society movements including the Committee for Joint Action movement, the Occupy Ghana movement, the Kumepreko movement among others.
He noted that, for instance, key figures in the CJA movement were immediately appointed by the National Democratic Congress government after it won power in the 2008 elections.
Same can be said of the Occupy Ghana movement which had the current Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta actively participating in.
“When you have political poaching of your members what do you expect? That is why some of the movements cannot survive beyond a particular regime and so for instance the CJA, let me be very blunt, as soon as the NDC won power – the NPP was obviously defeated – majority of the CJA members got appointed into government. We talk about Omane Boamah, Mahama Ayariga, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, even Tsutsui Opoku who was the convener of the CJA, many of the people.
“And so when they moved into the system we even – I remember even then, the CJA did a few demonstrations and I remember the late President said he participated in our demonstrations, today we are demonstrating against him. Then of course, majority of the people moved into government, and then we were left without membership.
“So even to start, it means that in order to sustain it you needed to court new membership and don’t forget that when you’re doing that those in government will also be doing their own tricks to see that the movement doesn’t survive,” he said on JoyNews’ PM Express.
“So if you’re in government, how do you come and participate in the actions any longer? So you see that naturally that group seems to become dormant and docile, it will not function. And so that is one of the weaknesses,” he added.
He further noted that often times these civil society movements are whipped up to action by current pressing needs, thus, when the situation is dealt with and favourable results have been attained the group fall into latency and soon disband.
He expressed concern that same may happen to the Citizens’ Coalition, which is made up of 34 civil society organisations and some individuals of high repute.
“The other thing is that look, we’re fighting so that some situations will become ameliorated , and once the condition is settled there is no need for you to go when you think that the situation is settled.
“This 34 civil society organisations that have come together because we are in this economic mess, in our intensive care unit, if the situation becomes better probably you will see that they will say okay we came together in order to champion a certain stability of our nation, we’ve been able to raise it there let’s continue to do our individual things,” he said.
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