POLITICAL TOLERANCE, THE WAY TO GO

It is appropriate to note, that, individuals have preferences in every aspect of their lives. If a person can choose what food to eat, which clothes to wear, which school to attend at a point, what car to drive and what church to attend among others, why can’t one have the free will to choose who leads his or her country as president considering the fact that the future of his or her children is at stake?

I watched over the weekend the attacks on Mr John Dumelo an actor in the Ghanaian movie industry for declaring his support for the president of Ghana John Dramani Mahama.

I would have thought that, having practiced democracy for over 24 years, we would have become matured enough to tolerate the views of others.

Looking at the fact that we all cannot support one political party which would have marred the beauty of the democracy we are seeking to build, it should be appropriate for any one to express his or her views and to support any candidate in an election.

In Ghana, one should he able, looking at the front runners into the 2016 elections which others consider as another impending technical knockout waiting to materialise, to choose who he or she prefers over another.

We have two separate presidential candidates who are seeking for power on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party. These individuals are unique in their own ways.

Whereas the supporters of the incumbent regard the candidate formidable and working for the realization of the desires and aspirations of the Ghanaian, the supporters of the opposition are bent on false publications that are constantly being exposed, denting their images further.

It is significant to note, that, the journey into 2016 is not going to be easy. However, that battle must be fought on common grounds of respect and for that matter, the interest to safeguard the integrity of this country.

It is a worry for me, to constantly wake up to attacks on people who have decided to choose candidates other than that of the New Patriotic Party. Must one only be qualified to be human only if that person supports the NPP?

This is unfortunate and an insult to the constitutional democracy we have ascribed ourselves to. It defeats the freedom to associate and the freedom of expression that some claimed to have fought for.

One may ask, how then do you measure the success of such fights for freedom of expression when dissenting opinions are not allowed to go without attacks because they are not for you?

In the run up to the 2008 and 2012 elections, some supposed celebrities were seen openly supporting the flag bearer of the NPP. They were seen on his campaign trail as well as on platforms performing customised songs in support of the NPP candidate. As a matter of fact, that associations and declarations had birthed the hit song of the NPP “Nananana oyɛ winner” to wit, Nana is a winner. People endured whatever unpleasant stimulus that song might have brought them.

Not because they do not have opinions against those who stood against their candidates, but because perhaps we can say they understood what democracy meant.

It is important and imperative to note the open hostility that are vented on people who chose to endorse candidates others than that which the NPP is putting up for the 2016 elections. It is completely out of place for a group of people to openly declare hatred for people who have options others than theirs.

We must learn to be tolerant in this country. What we need to understand is that, people cannot always agree on one thing. They have different senses which are not planted on any other person other than themselves.

We must prepare our minds as a people. We must applaud people who have decided to come open to choose their preferred candidates. The attacks seen on Mr John Dumelo must be condemned in no uncertain terms. It as a backward behavior that must not be allowed to continue in this country.

After 24 years, we have come far into the journey. There are certain lessons we do not need to experience personally as a nation before learning. Fortunately for us, there are models that we can learn from. We are blessed to make references on successful models and to adopt them.

We saw how celebrities in the United States of America mounted platforms in support of presidential candidates in the lead up to the 2008 elections in America that saw President Barack Obama emerging president of the States.

We heard worse attacks by these celebrities on the candidature of John McCain as well as on the person of Barack Obama. Today,  no body had heard of any of these individuals being haunted for standing against Obama. That is a typical model we must learn from.

If we are to grow up in this political sphere, we must understand that we need to eschew these backward political practices and begin to accept the decisions of one another whether for or against us.

If it is good for anyone to declare support for Akufo-Addo, it is equally good for anyone to declare same for the President, John Dramani Mahama. It is long over due to admit the fact that, people would want to gravitate towards victory as against failure and the open support for the president is indeed a clear indication of the faith others have in him.

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