It seems the Swahili proverb “good manners is not a punishment”, must be taught to some of our New Patriotic Party (NPP) politicians because they are beginning to show signs of arrogance. As a country, we expect everybody, and that includes our politicians, to have good manners because it is what the child will learn when he grows. Therefore, if all we see around us is poor manners, we can only conclude that we are teaching our young ones the bad things that they will grow with. We need to know also as the Swahili proverb says, “a person who has no manners does not care about others.”
Our politicians must know that good manners and behaviour must not only be shown when they are out of office.
There is this New Patriotic Party (NPP) party politician that l used to know. When his party was in power in 2007, l went to his office and he virtually walked me out because he was “busy”. What he was busy with, happened to be a young girl who had come to visit him whilst l was waiting to see him after booking an appointment a week earlier.
Then, the unthinkable happened, his party lost power and we met in a friend’s house. The same politician called me “senior brother”. I laughed. He did not understand my laughter but l was amused because apparently, the man had learned a lesson about life – that political office is not forever. Out of office, reality sets in and politicians begin to behave “normally”.
That is why I am getting more and more exasperated that our politicians only seem to behave appropriately when they are in opposition. Whilst in power, you do not see any difference in character and behaviour from their predecessors. Is it a case of leopards do not change their spots, no matter what? Or was Jeremiah talking about Ghanaian politicians when he wrote; “Can an Ethiopian change the colour of his skin? Can a leopard take away its spots? Neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)
Of course, in the days of Jeremiah, bleaching creams were not known, so an Ethiopian, as described, is an African and so can never change his dark skin just like how the Leopard cannot lose its spots. In the same way, no good can ever come out of those who only know how to do evil.
Before the 2016 elections, National Democratic Congress (NDC) politicians were condemned for being arrogant and talking down to the people they were supposed to serve.
What some of these politicians have forgotten, as the “Weekly Spectator” keeps repeating on its front pages is, “Be nice to people you meet on your way up; they are the same people you meet on your way down”. What is the point in being arrogant because you have been offered a political appointment which is not forever – in the first place?
Just listen to the radio and the tone in which some of the new political officers answer questions. It shows that they have not learned from the mistakes of the past and the misdeeds of their political counterparts.
Admittedly, political office is fraught with frustrations of diverse kinds; things may not be moving the way you want; political opponents may also be creating problems for you and worst of all, media intrusions can be frustrating. However, no one pushes people to enter politics in order to get to the offices they hold. It is their personal decision and they must have known that it comes with a price – except that our politicians want me to believe that it is only the perks of office that they expected to enjoy.
Sometimes l wonder why we appoint politicians to office without giving them some kind of orientation to teach them a thing or two on how to behave while in office. In the absence of that, l am not surprised that some of these politicians are misbehaving. The reason why most offices have Public Relations Officers is for them to represent their Executives, because they know how to relate with their stake-holders.
Our office holders now think it is important that they face the cameras and microphones rather than those who are paid to do so. That is why they are failing. It beats my imagination to think that the same people who now sound very arrogant, were not too long ago, speaking in very placid tones to the electorate.
The new breed of politicians have also started jumping traffic all over Accra, with sirens blaring from their four-wheel-drives as if there was a national emergency. May they be reminded that, if they want to make it to their appointments, they must set off early. We did not vote for them to disturb our peace with sirens and show contempt to us by pushing us off our lanes so that they can go past us in traffic.
We know most of them do not have appointments to meet but are just trying to show off the new status and images they have acquired. This is the way they destroy themselves slowly because the people keep all these misdeeds in mind and use them to make a decision at the next election.
If they are not aware, Jeremiah 13:14 says, “I will scatter you like chaff driven by the desert wind.” So they must know that if they do not change their colours, to look different, when the election comes in 2020, they will be scattered as chaff by the desert wind. It has happened before and it can happen again.
It is my hope that NPP politicians who are occupying offices have not forgotten the noise against former President Mahama’s officials who were perceived to be arrogant. It is early days yet, but President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo must take steps to call his people to order, otherwise, the growing dissatisfaction will grow out of proportion. When this happens, they can only blame themselves.
On the other hand, is it that as the Yourba say, a man cannot give what he does not have because good or bad behaviour is a reflection of one’s background? If it is the attitude of those who have not learned to be polite because of their background or upbringing, it is not too late for President Akufo-Addo to start a campaign on how political office holders should behave. This is just like the call to fight corruption, it has to be consistent and sustained.
Perhaps, President Akufo-Addo does not know and may not hear of what some of his appointees are doing; For that reason, l want to bring it to his notice that, the people say some of those he has put in office have started using insulting language. They have also started jumping traffic to the annoyance of road users. These acts must be nipped in the bud otherwise, by December 7 2020, the story will be different. Our sages say, a word to the wise is enough!
…With Francis Kokutse