Monkeys, Cages & Electoral Attitudes in Ghana – By Michael Annor

Re-blogged from Michael Annor’s blog – #bloggingmoment

  • “Five monkeys are caged together and there are some bananas hanging from the top of the cage. Some scientists attach an automated device for sensing if the bananas are moved; once a monkey tries to get any, an electric shock travels through the cage so that all monkeys get shocked. In the beginning, a single monkey climbs up to the bananas, touches them and every monkey gets shocked. So he doesn’t try anymore, but the other four monkeys try the same thing and the result comes to be the same. Therefore, the monkeys learn something in common: that is, do not get the bananas! You’ll get a painful electric shock! The scientists then replace one of the original monkeys with a new one. This new monkey sees the bananas and wants to get them right away, but the other four monkeys beat it when they see its actions. Since these original four monkeys think the new monkey will make them get shocked, they stop the new monkey from getting the bananas. This monkey tries a few times and the others beat it every time without it ever getting the bananas. Of course, all five monkeys don’t get shocked. The scientists then replace another of the original monkeys with a new one. This second new monkey sees the bananas and you bet it wants to get them immediately. But, sadly, the others beat it and the first new monkey beats the newest one even harder then the others (for the newest one is the rookie and has the lowest social status). Just like before, the newest monkey tries several times to get the bananas and is stopped by the others when they attack him. The scientists continue to replace all the original monkeys until no monkeys who actually felt the electric shock remain. Now none of the five new monkeys dare to touch the bananas yet none of them know why. They only know whomever wants to get the bananas will be beaten.”

    This story came up at a literary reading at school with Nigerian author, Chuma Nwokolo. He shared it as a response to one of the questions that came up, and to me, it very much describes our political and electoral attitudes in Ghana.

    As I write this, we’re a few hours away from the EC’s declaration of the results. I do not know who has won, but what I know is it’s between the NDC and the NPP. I always try to minimise, hide or deny any existing biases I have. Cowardly, or strategically, whichever you choose, I decline to respond in favour of any. You may find me rebutting arguments you bring at me from either sides. But when I realize your stance is based solely on your blind unflinching support, I give up. Truthfully, there’s no party I’ll stand, live or die for. There are personalities across board I have mad respect for, some more than others. That’s natural.

    I have friends and acquaintances (real life & on social networks) who are like the monkeys in the cage. For one reason or the other, they have no real clue why they are NPP or NDC. Recently I had one friend tell me she (or he) had realised she’s not so much a fan of the party her family supports. I was shocked at first but as Metty rightly put it, “both the NDC and NPP, do not have brilliant track records of corruption perception indices (CPIs). Both fingers are soiled, fully soiled in dirt and corruption (so say the numbers, which are very similar too!)”.

    It’s the reason alternatives to these two are always trailing with a barely significant number of votes. If we don’t find out why we’re beating the monkey that touches the banana, this will never change. We need at least a little bit of objectivity and maturity to break away from this seemingly unending pattern.

    Allow me to clarify, I’m not saying its wrong to support any of the two, I’m not saying its wrong to publicly declare your support and inclinations. The impulse of this post is that if you do, you probably should have a reason.

    You should read these two objective insightful posts by Metty Markwei and Ato Kwamena Dadzie in which they both make their predictions; and that’s fair.

    By: Michael Annor



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