Politicians Are Scared of Questions And That Is Why We Need To Ask Them

Guinea-Bissau ruling party presidential candidate Carlos Gomes Junior waves to supporters at a campaign rally in the capital Bissau March 16, 2012. The tiny, unstable West-African country will elect a new president on Sunday after former president Malam Bacai Sanha died in a Paris hospital in January. REUTERS/Joe Penney (GUINEA-BISSAU - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

REUTERS/Joe Penney
There is a worrying Ghanaian attitude towards questions. For some reason, people see it as an overt act of rebellion, hostility or even a call for aggression and violence. These days you cannot just ask questions without inviting trouble for yourself.

So today I’m in my room minding my business and a group of young men come knocking at my door. They are on a campaign mission and want to solicit my vote for their colleague who is contesting for a JCR executive position. The aspirant starts to pay me a lot of compliments which I find rather patronizing and I point this out. Slightly surprised, he tells me the reason for his visit and simply asks me to vote for him. I do not feel inclined to take his words at face value so I ask him to tell me exactly why I should vote for him. He starts rattling off policies and promises expecting me to dance in glee at his selflessness and innovation. Unfortunately, I find huge loopholes in his policies and question its feasibility and pragmatism.

By this time I had been going on with my interrogation for about twenty-five minutes and then I hear from among his campaign team someone grumbling and making gesticulations to suggest that my questions were getting rather irritating. So I ask them if they found me rather obnoxious for wanting logical reasons to vote for their friend rather than being excited at the prospect that “I’d get to go on a date if their friend won”. Again, an approach I found rather trivial to the main issue and an affront to my intelligence.

It is very condescending the attitude politicians and other people aspiring for leadership positions put up towards the electorate. We are drawing nearer to election season and a lot of politicians are going around campaigning, making empty promises and advocating for unrealistic policies which will not serve any real utility to the average Ghanaian. And oh, I heard they share bags of rice and money too. These people expect the electorate to take their word without question but the fact is we are all rational beings with the ability to make informed decisions for our benefit. It is therefore nothing but sheer impudence on the part of politicians to campaign and not expect critical scrutiny of their policies especially when they have only time and again disappointed the very people on whose mandate they achieve their political aims.

If only we were more resolute and united in our demand for accountability and proof of success of campaign policies, we would deny politicians the opportunity to make void pledges and then perhaps our systems would actually work. It’s a democracy after all, the government is ours and should be by us and more importantly, for us.



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