As Ghana takes careful and anxious steps towards another very difficult election in its infantile democratic life,   the cries and prayers for peaceful polls are resounding louder than ever.  A lot of civil organizations   and think-tanks are doing all within their means to help organize peaceful, free and fair elections.  There  is a public outcry against   some political  maneuvers  that  serve as threats to the peace of  the  state  chief among them being political insults and intimidation  which can degenerate  into  conflicts  that might end up leaving  an indelible blot  on the peace map of Ghana.  Efforts being made to ensure peaceful elections must be applauded in as much as activities that seek to undermine peaceful polls must be bemoaned and condemned outright irrespective.

A cursory look at the nature of our politics exposes a lot of inadequacies and dangerous practices that are detrimental to the development of Ghana.  As frantic efforts are being  made to ensure  the nation  comes out unscathed after the December polls,  we need to take a holistic look  at the  root cause  of the  kind of politics that does not aid development  and see the best prescriptions  that  can  help minimize  such diseased politics  in the country.

Our tertiary institutions, being the highest repertoire of knowledge is arguably the grooming grounds for people who will take over the mantle of leadership in the very near future.  Our universities and polytechnics have been major grounds for the grooming of politicians.  So if there are problems with our politics, it is just prudent  to  take a look at  how politics  is handled  over there.

Political activities actually rub shoulders with   academic activities on our campuses.  That points out how vibrant   politics is in our tertiary institutions.  The quest for power is   just a little below what we witness in national elections.  There are a number of positive sides to campus politics.  However the negatives of campus politics are speedily relegating the positives into an unwanted corner.

Elections on our campuses today have been reduced to an activity of personality attacks instead of being issues-based.  It is amazing   how students go to the length of creating ridiculous stories to tarnish   images of their political opponents.  It is equally amazing how these same people   find it a herculean task when asked to explain their own policies and why they want to be leaders.

Tribalism   is yet another dangerous canker  that  is eating  deep  into  the grooming grounds  of our political leaders.  Anyone who ever involved himself in campus politics will attest to this fact.  It is so disheartening that institutions of higher learning who are supposed to know better are the worst culprits when it comes to the use of tribalism in politics.  There have always been two sides to it.  One said being people campaigning against a candidate just because he is from a particular tribe.  Another facet is where candidates  who think  they come from minority  tribes  mischievously create their own propaganda to make it look as if they are being victimized.  This is done just to gain sympathy votes.  Which ever form it takes, it is in very bad taste.

Corruption and electoral malpractices just did not descend on the nation from outer space.  They are very rife in our tertiary institutions.  Issues of vote buying, rigging, bribing and many other malpractices including intimidation characterize elections.   When one delves a bit deeper into students politics, these horrible revelations will not be taken with a pinch of salt.

The infiltration of partisan politics can not be excluded.  General interest of students are easily traded for political party interest. It is therefore not surprising when politicians seek the interest of their parties even if that interest will be to the disadvantage of the country.  This  partisan  interest  has deeply  taken  root in  the umbrella body of  students  unions  in Ghana,  where instead of fighting for the  interest of the Ghanaian student,  leadership waste  their energies on unnecessary partisan political wrangles.

If  the grooming grounds  of our politicians  are bedeviled with   such negative attitudes of politics,  one can easily  draw a conclusion  that our politics  have very shaky  and feeble foundations  hence  the  anxiety created  even during bye-elections.

The efforts being made by various bodies are very laudable.  However  if a builder  keeps beautifying a house  with shaky foundation,  one day soon,  the whole building will come crumbling down  and the consequences would be very devastating.

What we need as a nation is rigorous education and attitudinal changes. Frantic educational campaigns even  on our tertiary  campuses on the dangers of tribalism  is very much needed.  Our tertiary institutions at this stage  needs it as much as our unlettered folks.  Sensitization on the possible outcomes of certain negative electoral practices should never cease on our campuses. However Education alone is not enough since education without attitudinal change is just like decorating an orangutan. If we really want to develop as a nation especially  in this time when the golden sun of economic buoyancy  is shining on the continent of Africa,  then we need to make serious adjustments to our attitudes.  We need to put up attitudes that will lubricate the wheels of development.  We need to develop attitudes that will attract investors.  Investors are also only interested in politically stable countries.  Therefore our attitudes must be those that help build a strong foundation for our democracy. A misunderstanding of what politics is about is partly responsible for this.  Since our tertiary institutions are the major grooming ground of our political leaders, the education and attitudinal changes must start right from there.

Politics is basically about the best ideas   to help use limited resources to solve unlimited   wants.  If everyone should have this understanding, we would not go to the length we go   that ends   up putting the lives of the masses in danger.  Our democracy is in danger because our foundation is shaky.  Let us therefore go back and build a stronger foundation.



  1. I differ on some points. Insults or tribalism not danger in themselves. Insults and tribalism/racism exist in established democracies like even the US and yet they don’t go grinding themselves to death. The Danger we face are people who perpetuate violence in the name of such dirty and sadistic or primitive principles as ‘all die be die’. And added to this danger are those who see it and yet pretend not to see.

  2. Ethnicity is always an issue in any democracy, it shouldn’t be limited to Ghana or Africa. Student politics is just like all poilitics. It’s time we realise what democracy generates: the pros and cons and make fundamental changes if it’ll be in the national interest.

    1. Yes Jerome, student politics is just like all politics. It’s rather bogus to hear some people, in their attempt to call for decency in politics, make derogatory conclusions about student politics as if it’s alright for students to engage in dirty politics, or that student politics is reserved for joking.

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