Christians have fasted and prayed, the Moslems have done likewise and so have those who believe in traditional religion. Sadly, God does not seem to be listening to our supplications. What we should be doing is to find out why we are not making any headway, despite all our fasting and prayers.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to sit down to think through why things are not getting better for us. Have we forgotten about A.B. Crentsil’s admonition that “When you are pulling a rope and it is not coming, you’ve got to check because something might be holding it?” What is holding our prayers is our attitude. One televangelist was right, when he said, “Your attitude would determine your latitude.”
It is not because we are not praying enough. What has been our problem is the greed and jealousies that we harbour. When the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is in power, members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) pray daily that things should go wrong. This is the same way that the NPP members pray against the NDC when the latter happens to be in power. Given this attitude, how will God listen to us?
In fact, whose prayer would He listen to; is it the against prayer or the positive one? Sometimes, it looks like those who engage in the negative prayers do so with more vim than those who are praying for things to go right.
Why would God listen to us when we are all harbouring sins in various forms? The scripture says God does not look upon sin. In I Corinthians 6:9-10, it is said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
We have done all that. Our pastors who should be interceding on our behalf cannot claim to be without blemish. The sin that some of them carry is darker than soot. Therefore, anytime they lead any prayer session, it comes to nothing. A very important part of prayer which is found in Mark 11:26″…if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father in heaven forgive yours.”
It seems we enjoy being against everything whether or not it will help build the country and we do not forgive those who criticise our ill intentions. All this is because of the political system we have decided to practice. No wonder, some people think, General I.K. Acheampong of blessed memory was a man of foresight who was misunderstood with his UNIGOV concept.
Looking at what is happening in Parliament today, l think the idea should have been tested before we condemned it. This is because under UNIGOV, elected officials would not belong to any political grouping. They were to be elected on their own merit and this would have saved us the problem we face today where Parliamentarians have to tow party lines because the whips force them to remain in line.
Why would God be on our side when the politics we are practicing is fraught with problems? Parliamentarians do not have to be independent minded because the party line is more important than what the individual MP believes. In addition, since every MP wants to become a minister, they have to play ball so that they are not overlooked when it comes to awarding prizes in the form of ministerial appointments. In the process we have bred a disease called Againstism.
It is this Againstism Disease that has taken God away from us and unfortunately, most of our MPs and party activists are suffering from it.
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines Againstism, as the “position or practice of being opposed to something, or of having an oppositional attitude in general; (habitual) opposition or criticism.” It first appeared as a word in 1944 in Stolberg’s Tailors Progress in which he said,” The new Administration had come in on a tidal wave of angry Againstism—against Hoover, against Big Business, against the bankers and the speculators.” It is also recorded in other writings as “it supplements those liberal writings which define the liberal attitude too much in terms of what may be called ‘against-ism’.” (sic).
As a disease, however, Againstism is a mindset that makes your brain refuse to think through issues. All you think about is how to criticise any idea without considering its merits and demerits. In such a state, you lose your senses and become like a robot. That is to say, if there is a flood coming your way because you or people in your group were not the first to see it, you must refuse to see that what is coming your way is as has been described.
It is a disease that affects politicians of all levels, but very prominent among those who are able to get elected as Members of Parliament, especially in Ghana. When one is infected, the person loses first his sight and is not able to see things clearly except when it happens to be in a colour associated with his party. It becomes acute when the Parliamentarian is obsessed with becoming a minister; he refuses to think and must say things in a way that will endear him to party leaders.
Againstism is categorised as acute or chronic when the person is one that would only speak when others in his political grouping have spoken and this is to show support for the party line of thinking. We have many among us who are suffering from this disease. Those affected would not accept it because it is not easy to diagnose and for this reason, even when it is pointed out to them, they will just brush it aside.
These are the people who have made politics look like a play thing, which should not have been the case. They make you wonder if being a politician makes you a robot of a sort. There are so many issues that confront the country and one would expect politicians at all levels to speak out but that is not to be. From the NPP, it is like anyone who has an idea different from what is perceived to be the collective position is suffering from Againstism.
Within the NDC, you only hear dissent from people who think they can trust you. It makes you think that we have not been able to wean ourselves off the authoritarian rule of the past, where it was unheard of to criticise or speak your mind. In the corridors of Parliament, so much is being said that will never get to Flagstaff/Jubilee House.
What this means is that our leaders are never told the truth or are not able to measure the true feelings of the people. Respect for leadership and protection of group interest are two different things that need not be stretched to make people become cowards. It will be nice to see a minister coming out of a cabinet meeting to resign because he or she does not agree with a particular policy. Or a government official coming out to say, l have failed and must therefore give way. Not in Ghana; because those in authority respect those who keep themselves in line and even reward them. So for those who are independent minded, it becomes difficult for them to be who they are.
It must be pointed out that thus far, the way we have taken our politics, has increased the infectious rate of Againstism and we need to find a way of fighting it like we are doing to malaria. It may not look serious to those who are benefitting from the disease but the fact that it is taking root even at the lower level of the population shows that we are breeding a bunch of dishonest people all over. They are within the Police, the Military and the civil as well as the public service.
Those who have been infected do not show any initiative apart from learning how to become the trusted soldiers of their superiors in order to move on in life. At the constituency level, it is only those party foot soldiers who play the game who are able to endear themselves to the party chiefs. As a result, you hear them on radio parroting only those things their superiors want them to say. This is not a good way to build a nation and we must start fighting it. It pays to have divergent views and sometimes, fair criticism is important to move on in life.
…with Francis Kokutse