Features: Confessions of a Politician (Part 1) – By Julius Hamenoo

Confessions of a Politician (Part 1)

Call me a political novice. Wear your defensive amour of opposition. It’s exactly what’s expected to throw light on the pitfalls of some of our democratic voting structure. You may climb rooftops with a gong to debunk this reality. But you cannot challenge the
observation of a committed heart and how it feels with respect to its environment. You cannot even whisper to yourself that an engaged heart can’t observe its surroundings with sincerity. You can’t see the heartbeat or feel its pounding in a concerned rib cage.

Julius Kwesi Hamenoo was born and raised in Takoradi. As one who is down to earth, he is clearly self taught and has with great interest read books which help to build strong character. This comprehensive reading has endowed him with a deep sense of simplicity and humility gracing him with strength of character and the tendency to question some accepted norms. These have served to fuel the critical, yet powerful observation of his environment portrayed in his writings.

Certainly, you may be oblivious to its subtle and intricate connection with life. The heart is where honesty springs from. It’s also where compassion, empathy, and goodness reside. The desire to help dwells there. Yet these qualities are not taught in the classrooms. We mostly come out of our classrooms dried up of empathy. With all human feelings sucked out of us in there, we come out tainted with insatiable desire to cheat, steal and soak ourselves in mediocrity. In the end, whatever the schooled people do in their offices at the top, affects all of us big time, whether positively or negatively.

The decisions of those who claim to have had education affect our future. Especially when they get to occupy the offices where social policies are designed for our benefit. Democracy has allowed us to have some inputs in the process by which our future is
constructed. Probably it’s the reason why democracy had been encouraged to trample on all other forms of government. There have always been some suspicious viewpoints about the kind of democracy we practice in Ghana for example. This may have stemmed from the way it is practiced in Africa. Where nothing seems to be working economically for us except the importation of finished products, from vehicles to secondhand clothing and toothpick from everywhere.

The continent has become the dumping ground for countries skilled with technological wherewithal. Africa is abundant with raw material. Yet the values of our raw materials are determined for us by others. The values of imported finished products from the raw materials we practically gift to them on a silver platter are also determined for us. Ours is all about consuming and consuming and getting constipated with imported substandard food and drinks. Then have had to fast and pray all day and all night for God to provide a concoction for us to free her bowels and rescue us from our nitwittedness. Whether this will happen or not, we will always pray and expect that miracle to happen.

Meanwhile, each morning the cacophony from the media airspace would be loaded with opinions from various political party sympathizers. This agitates my constitution even before sunrise. Though I don’t have a radio, nearby homes and shops blare such noises into my room. Oftentimes I wouldn’t be able to help it but to hear what they say. What our politicians have been successful at doing has been to provide vents for opinions to be spewed through the proliferation of the media houses. Apparently to dissipate pent up bitter energies before they implode in on a constitutionally elected government. 

 I think we should be able to muster the courage to temper our democracy with a meritocracy based on tested results of individual accomplishment. Loyalty and allegiance to the course of a political party must be rewarded. But not necessarily with the holding of a political office. It could be paid for with money. After all, money is the reason why we work, and not love for its sake. But we have to have demonstrated the ability of courage to absorb peer pressure, to rise above the influence of society in wanting to impress wannabes. To have the competence to truly lead, have compassion for humanity, have the sense to commit to the country’s human development, and the stamina to work long hours before being entrusted with the responsibility to occupy a higher political office. 

 That may be understandably difficult if not impossible to achieve given how our political parties are financed and sustained in this country. However, financiers can equally be paid back when their political party wins power. The goal is to employ the most competent people to occupy higher offices and be able to demand probity and accountability from them. Nothing good is impossible to do when the mind teams up with the heart for a common course. 

Politics is a science that deals with different characters as one. If one traces politics back to its humble beginnings, it would be realized that it began with the unit. Which is the maintenance and running of the household? This concept percolated through the cottage to the village and town, to the city-state, and then to the country until we now have international politics. Where the world is now considered a global village because of the discovery of our complex interconnectedness.

 One must understand what a human being is in order to be able to contribute to the process by which humanity is governed. Even if one doesn’t understand, one must be possessing a higher consciousness of what the human being is in order to be an effective contributor to the democratic process. To know what something is, is to know what it is for. Thus to know what a human being is for, we must know what is our nature, our character, and our form. Political actors could consider the truth being a function of form and character. Always endeavoring to understand the purpose of our existence. With this basic understanding in my store of vital data, the natural question that begs expression is who qualifies to contribute to politics in a democratic dispensation? 

 We have all been given the franchise to exercise our voting power equally, every vote counts for the politician who wants to be elected to a higher office to serve the people. One would have expected that those that understood politics would be the ones to contribute to the process of election. Because their choice would be informed by their understanding of what constitutes true leadership, basic economic principles, and the discipline needed to manage human beings in a society. 

To be continued,…please do read part two of this piece here.