Most astute political observers would agree that it was the term, “Culture of silence” that paved the way to our current democratic political despensation.
The term was used by Fl. Lt. Jerry Rawlings on April 6, 1987, to decry the “subjugation” of junior personnel in our establishments, to the holders of senior appointments, that had “reduced the juniors to silence.”
The phenomenon, Rawlings said, had also become prevalent in such sensitive institutions as the police service and the armed forces.
His statement was seized upon by the late Professor Kwadwo Adu Boahen, a fierce critic of mlitary rule, to point out that it applied, in fact, to Ghanaian society in general, and not only to a few agencies of Government.
In his J. B. Danquah Memorial Lectures of 1988, Prof. Adu Boahen publicly told Rawlings that the existence of the “culture of silence” phenomenon was to be traced back to the brutal way the PNDC — headed by no other person than Rawlings — had instilled fear into the Ghanaian public, and forced them to suppress their opinions on matters of national interest, so as not to be informed upon and — punished.
The logic of the situation could not be escaped and within five years of Prof. Adu Boahen’s fearless “belling of the cat”, constitutional rule was being re-instituted in Ghana. The beginnings were not perfect, but once the journey had been embarked upon, there was no turning back.
And, of course, today, no Ghanaian citizen, can complain that he or she has been robbed of his/her freedom to say what he or she likes, about any national issue.
But in political affairs, there can be no “benefits’ without “costs”, and the restoration of full democratic rights to the Ghanaian populace has met with what might be called “a coarsening” of the political and social space.
In my view, if this coarsening is not condemned and uprooted, it could lead to the return of totalitarian rule in the nation.
And this is why. It is now generally accepted that we in the tropics will be the principal sufferers, if global warming continues in the way it has been going on. We on this part of Planet Earth are projected to suffer prolonged droughts, interspersed with unusually heavy floods. (In the recent past, countries like Mozambique and Madagascar have experienced floods in which scores of people have lost their lives. )
There have also been “strange” floods at times in normally arid areas (like Mali, a semi-desert “Sahelian” country).
You see, global warming distorts atmospheric phenomena, especially, “seasons” and weather patterns. Cyclones occur without notice. And they just kill and destroy; kill and destroy.
The dangers to life caused by climate change can never be fully anticipated. Even if they are capable of being anticipated, there is usually very little that can be done about their actual effects.
The countries it affects most are usually extremely poor already, whereas combating natural disasters demand a lot of money. Worse, the countries that can provide money for relief in the affected areas are constantly diverting money for military/political usage — which does not help people who are starving, or who have been reduced to sleeping without cover, in forests and on city streets.
Now, when a country is hit hard thus by the multifarious hazards created by natural causes (such as global warming) it needs to UNITE to fight NATURE, or else it will experience man-made carllousness that will make its people suffer psychological disorientation.
If because of party- political divisions, a section of the populace refuses to allow, say, a barrage to be built in an area identified by engineers as needing one to stop flooding, just imagine the social consequences.
Or imagine people telling engineers: “We think that road should pass Point “A” and not Point “B”, because of the [detested] political stance of constituencies sited in Point “A”!
Far-fetched? I don’t think so. Where is the evidence? The evidence is before our eyes: just look at the way some Ghanaians do not seem to understand the need for all of us to unite to try and defeat the deadly social canker known as galamsey.
The main consequence of galamsey — the deliberate ruination of rivers, streams and water-courses — constitutes a mammoth disaster which is a foreboding of what inevitably awaits ALL OF US in the not too distant future.
Anyone who uses his or her common sense can see it. It is present in, for instance, the increasing dependence of our populace on purchased sachet water and water in plastic bottles. Are these things, whose cost keeps going up, even safe enough for us to depend upon them permanently?
We don’t know the true answer! Yet we are allowing galamsey more or less to continue unabated, WITH SECRET POLITICAL PARTY AND SOCIAL SUPPORT!
The Government’s efforts are not fully succeeding, if at all, because they are being sabotaged by some of the GOVERNMENTS’ OWN AGENTS, who profess to believe — quite wrongly — that because galamsey is “the only way” of enabling some people to “earn a living”, it should be “sanitised” and allowed to go on.
DO the people who think this way approve of kidnapping, although that also enables its practitioners “to earn a living”?
Do they approve of rape (although the clothing of rape victims can be sold by people who need to “earn a living”.?)
Armed robbery, and even “white collar crimes” are condemned by these same people. Especially if such crimes affect them.
Yet they condone the operations of galamseyers, using the bankrupt economic argument that galamseyers “need to earn a living”.
Every now and then, we read on the Internet or other media QUOTE:
“A [stated number] of illegal miners [were] arrested by [name of arresting law enforcement agency] personnel in [name of village or town]. The suspects, [named] together with [number of] excavators that were found at the site, have been handed over to ….[Government body names}…..Two pump-action rifles, a side-arm,[and] live cartridges [ammunition]… are currently being held in evidence, pending investigation….UNQUOTE. But nothing is heard of the case ever again.
So hypocritical have some government officials been over this issue of galamsey that one foreign envoy (whose country has been linked to the phenomenon) was provoked into pointing out that: “To end illegal mining activities in Ghana, Ghanaians must first stop aiding foreigners… [who are] involved in galamsey. Foreign nationals engaged in galamsey in Ghana are undoubtedly being assisted by Ghanaians to perpetuate the crime…
“We don’t know where your gold is. We don’t issue visas too for our people coming to Ghana. Ghanaians issue the visas. Ghanaians aid the foreigners to go where they can find your gold. Why are [foreigners] not doing illegal gold mining in South Africa, where there is also a lot of gold? [It’s] because foreigners cannot do that there… The locals don’t support such illegalities.”
Na Asem se-ber!
(That means a word to the wise….)
By CAMERON DUODU