Our democratic institutions are under calculated assault, a sobering reality demanding immediate action from every Ghanaian. This piece serves as an extension of my Arise for Ghana series, elevating this urgent dialogue as we find ourselves on the brink of a crisis that threatens the very core of our democracy. The pillars that uphold justice, rule of law, and equality are under siege, compromised not by external forces but from within our own leadership.
This is not mere rhetoric, but a dire reality that we must collectively confront. Our nation is rudderless, facing existential threats that particularly imperil our youth. At this juncture, the choices we make will echo through history. Let’s rise, united in purpose and resolute in commitment, to safeguard the legacy of our forebears. Failure to act now risks leaving a fractured, leaderless nation to future generations—a legacy we cannot afford.
The bastardisation of state institutions
It is with a heavy heart that I must address the elephant in the room: the systematic perversion and destruction of our state institutions, a cancer that eats away at the very soul of our democracy.
Countless media reports have highlighted how state institutions, from the Judiciary to the Electoral Commission and from the media to the Police, have been compromised under the current NPP administration. The objective is unmistakable: to manipulate these institutions to serve those in power, not the Ghanaian people.
Take, for instance, the Electoral Commission. This body, established to be an independent arbiter of our democratic process, has faced several allegations of bias and manipulation. The recent appointment of known NPP party members as EC Commissioners against all good counsel is not just an affront but a blatant sabotage of democracy. This singular act undermines the very essence of the Electoral Commission, turning what should be an impartial institution into a puppet of the ruling party.
The Judiciary, often considered the last refuge for the common man, has not been spared either. The NPP has strategically packed the courts with party loyalists, appointing them as Supreme Court and High Court judges. This has led to numerous cases of judicial interference, casting a long shadow over the integrity of our legal system.
The media, supposed to be the Fourth Estate and a watchdog of democracy, has also been compromised. The extent of government infiltration into the media landscape is so severe that true journalism is becoming an endangered practice. Journalists find themselves under constant intimidation, facing threats that aim to instil fear and silence critical voices. This atmosphere of coercion extends to editorial rooms, where government directives subtly—or sometimes overtly—shape the narrative, stifling independent thought and investigative rigour. The result is not just a compromised Fourth Estate, but a media environment where sensationalism often overshadows substance, and where the government’s narrative goes largely unchallenged.
Unfortunately, leaders who deliberately manipulate state institutions unmask their own deep-seated cowardice. Such actions are often the hallmarks of incompetent leaders who fear they cannot maintain power through legitimate means. Ironically, that is not leadership; it is despotism, a betrayal of the very democratic principles that put them in office.
The youth as torchbearers
To the young people of Ghana, this message is for you: You’re not merely the future—you are the present. The nation belongs to you, not to any political party. Demand accountability and integrity from both major parties, the NDC and the NPP. You are not just spectators; you are agents of change with the power to reshape our nation’s course. Your energy and passion can propel Ghana into a new era of prosperity and justice. Despite facing daunting challenges, your active engagement can help build a Ghana that is stable, just, and prosperous. As December 2024 approaches, use your vote to halt the NPP’s erosion of our institutions. Opt for the NDC, a party committed to genuine national progress.
The call to act
We stand on the brink of a crisis that threatens the very pillars of our democracy. This is not a drill; it’s a call to arms for every Ghanaian, especially our youth. As the General Secretary of the NDC, let me be clear: the NDC is committed to reversing the degradation of our state institutions and restoring their integrity. But this is a battle we can’t win alone. We need you, especially the youth, to rise up and demand better. Demand accountability and integrity from both the NDC and the NPP. Don’t be passive observers; be active participants in shaping our nation’s future. Rise above party politics and focus on what truly matters: the future of Ghana. Your voice can shift the narrative from despair to hope, setting the course for a more just, equitable, and prosperous nation. Arise, Ghana, Arise!
The writer Fifi Kwetey is the General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and former Food and Agriculture Minister.