Edwinology’s Lab: I believe in democracy, but I no longer believe in democrats


There is no problem with our democracy except that democrats have over-democratised it.

It has moved from a tool for thinking about progress to a tool of thinking about punishment which it ought not to be.

If anybody thinks E-Lab is playing with words, they have not met the Ghanaian politician – a Ghanaian democrat.

We looked at our laws barring foreigners from doing retail trade, gave them a deadline after which we will exact punishment. But what died after the deadline was not foreign retail trade it was the law against foreign retail trade.

And it is because the democrats said it was better to call in the offenders and discuss how to solve the offence. Because we tried to solve the problem ‘democratically’, the problem has not been solved.

E-Lab does not have lonely examples. They abound.

The reason why we have not and will never, ever make Accra the cleanest city in Africa is because we intend to solve the eyesore by jawjaw. Our city is overflowing with waste is because our politics is overflowing with democracy.

And the reason why we won’t solve the problem of political thuggery is because we want to solve it democratically hence a new law is in the offing.

Of course the media campaign against vigilantism will work because a malaria patient will be free of his symptomatic headache if you give him paracetamol. But you have only postponed the cure for malaria.

We cannot cure a lawless society with more laws or more lawyers.

And the last example is that the reason why districts are not developing fast enough is because it is over-democratised and under-decentralised. Government is keeping the taxes and given talking to the masses.

Government has given the grassroot a local parliament so it can keep the purse. And if the president pushes his plan to elect DCE’s we would have destroyed our best chance to actually develop through local government.

Of course this point needs elaboration but E-Lab’s readers don’t have the time but since they have a mind, he will leave them to think about it.

E-Lab feels a generosity in giving more examples and so will add as a bonus. We want to legalise okada because it is the most democratic way of do nothing about the menace they pose. We did nothing with the law illegalising it. But now we will agree to legalise it so that it will be fine if we do nothing about it.

We are not conscious of the great danger of an over-democratised society. It becomes ultimately a violent society.

Because the angry Ghanaian retailers will grow tired of watching democrats talking about solving the problem.

The residents will get tired of the talks about keeping the city clean and the sensitization campaigns will make them eventually senseless because years of unproductive campaigns has left angry.

And if new laws on vigilantism does not produce results, it will undermine a respect for the law and usher in lawlessness. We may be surprised that what brings more anarchy is more laws.

Democracy is the fear of the people which prompts the government to act. But what we have is a fear of the people which prompts the government into paralysis.

It doesn’t act.

When the people really want to see the government act as in forcing out foreign retailers, the government does not act because of special interests.

But when the people really don’t want to see the government act as in forcefully ensuring sanitation bye-laws are strictly adhered to, the government agrees tacitly not to act because the people are special.

And this is why although I still believe in democracy, I no longer believe in democrats.


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