The heat has eased off a little. But in a sense, not in the very least. Without any political party affiliations, and yet having solidly supported a single candidate this entire election, I am so so happy of the outcome. Nevertheless, far from all the emotion, rationality must set in. This election process I have called the formation of my political consciousness, or at least so I think. There have been some key lessons I have imbued along the way. and for sure, the teaching is far from over. I shall monitor the next four years keenly, whole-heartedly and passionately, for I reckon that it is going to be laden with many life-long lessons. For now, here are a few thoughts (the lessons I speak of), that I’ll jot down:
1. Character compliments competence. The election teaches us that character means significantly more in leadership than we often ascribe to it. Or at least, the way people perceive your character to be. Not to say in the least that character overrules competence but rather, that it is complimentary to it. For instance; I happen to be acquainted with a Harvard Law School graduate who was in Obama’s Law School graduating class. And when I asked her what he was like then, she said, and I quote, “Oh! He was prominent. I mean he was the president of the Harvard Law Review – very prestigious position. But more so, he was prominent because of his character. I don’t say this because I’m a democrat but I tell you the truth, there wasn’t a single person who didn’t point to him and say, hm, this guy is going to change things up in this country, someway somehow. Of course, we all automatically thought Senator suited him, we never imagined the Presidency – or at least not as fast as it happened!”
2. Youth is a beautiful thing. It turns out the Ghanaian youth have a powerful voice. I chose to think that this is also reflective of African youth, or should I say, youth worldwide? I cannot speak enough of the power of the media platforms people used Ghana Decides, Facebook, My Joy Online, etc. So much youth participation. Good stuff.
3. Titles, accolades, labels, are all just that … words. We have been hailed and heralded as the “beacon of democracy” in Africa and yet our elections were soo tedious and slow to follow through until the end. I watched many videos of people queueing for biometric posts and ballot boxes and I couldn’t help but think, come on, we can do better! This is the 21st century, and I know I am sounding like ‘that’ impatient child born int he 90s in this generation that knows only the ‘fast track’ but I tell you, sometimes the speed is necessary! It is totally unacceptable that we’ll be experiencing widespread systemic failures across the nation. Failures that can jeopardize the peace that has been so hard and long fought. Failures like electoral staff reporting on site late, biometric systems breaking down, technical glitches, unsettled voters, long queues and electricity power outages (even if it was for 10 minutes), during elections. This is highly unacceptable! I know we are still a young country (if you consider 55 years as such), but I believe we shouldn’t get carried away with the labels we have been heralded with and forge ahead – Seriously, Furiously and Expeditiously.
4. We live in a time of Movements and not Revolutions. Seemingly, we have grown past the decades of revolutions where one man pushed past all the hurdles and drove nations to freedom or war, or some achievement or some failure. We have moved past the days of Nkrumahs, Kenyattas, Mandelas, Mobutus, Mugabes to an era of GhanaDecides, Tumblrs, BloggingGhana,Kony2012s, ReportingGhanaPresidency,Change.orgs and what-have-yous. It’s the era of Movements, not Revolutions.
5. The People have more power than you think. They may not be wealthy, they may not be educated, but once they have needs, needs that deserve to be met, they have power. They have power over who they think can best meet their needs, power over their their leadership, power over their futures, power over the opportunities they want, and if given the choice, in a free and fair process, they will exert that power. Indeed, there is a lot of truth to be told, epiphanies to be realized by politicians after elections. The questions politicians should be asking deep down should not be “Where did I go wrong or what did I do right?”, win or lose. The questions should be “Hm. What are the people’s thumbprints by my name crying out to mean? What are the people’s needs? Was my manifesto perhaps attentive to them or not? How do we reconcile these needs with my capacity of office?” Also, if the people recognize their country is the only one they have, if they decide that their country is more important than their politics, they will go to anything to save it – peace or war.
6. Everything has a starting point and I reckon, an end to it, even if it wasn’t what you would call an end. Seriously. I get this sense of a serious paradigm shifting happening in my nation. I get this sense of serious hallmarks in our history laying in wait. Liek something is starting and it is so tangible, so new, so real, so exciting! And boy oh boy, am I proud to have been born in this era. Yes, I am that 90s child who was born when Madiba was concluding his fight of apartheid, JJ Rawlings was in power, Rwanda was suffering the results of a genocide…Yes, I am part of the 90s children who were born in the chasm of Africa’s despair and stagnancy, and yet fortunate to be born after some of her direst moments, on the brink of her transformation and the beginning of her baby steps. And now, we are fortunate to be a part of her renaissance, her rediscovery, her maturity. Wow.
7. I am convinced, there is meaning to life. Yup, it’s not a redundant saying – life is a story. There is a narrative of each of our lives that intrigues me so much. It’s fascinating, intricate and remains a philosophical quandary to me, whether you believe in God, providence or not. Seriously. A president dies, his deputy suddenly must man the helm. His deputy suddenly runs for president on a ticket he did not expect to take up, at least not until four more years of “under-study” if even lucky. And now, he is steering the wheel of a burgeoning democracy in Africa, a country with bright prospects and a keenly aware populace that has made it extremely clear that they are ready to hold him accountable. Seriously, if you tell me life has no meaning, overarching narrative or at least some substance that makes you stop to think, then i would tell you, you are not living it, and, you’re missing out big time.
In the thrill of these exciting times, and with more lessons laying in wait to be learned
God bless Ghana. God bless Africa. God bless the world.