In DepthColumnsAll die be die: A battle cry or a state of mind?

Wed,22Nov2017

Posted on Thursday, 18 October 2012 17:31

All die be die: A battle cry or a state of mind?

William Manful

When the leader of the opposition in Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo enunciated the now famous or rather infamous 'all die be die' mantra which is to say that there are no different degrees of dying, implying that dying for a political cause is as good as dying of natural causes; he veered into a foray of issues that travel well beyond the confines of Ghanaian politics.

Addressing party faithfuls Nana Addo wanted to drive home the message that the opposition National Patriotic Party (NPP) was no longer going to be bullied by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The audacious politician's cry for aggressive defiance amongst his party supporters was not an invitation to win political power by any means necessary but rather to resist the perceived oppression coming from the ruling party.

It is important to bear in mind that, the belligerence of an ambitious political party is also fundamentally rooted in the human drive or rather human will to resist injustice with violence. The 'all die be die' chant is in essence a symbolic credo for oppressed masses longing to be heard. It's a state of mind brought on by social inequity. It's the Malcolm X rally to African Americans during the struggle for civil rights in America.

The reason why it resonates loudly within the politics of an African state is that, there is always the risk that the wretched masses might take it to heart and base a campaign of violence and mayhem on the populist chant of a politician nursing presidential aspirations.

should the notion of realpolitik à la Africaine be equated to a political campaign of threats and intimidation orchestrated by desperate politicians...

The scale of poverty, unemployment, misery that defines the lot of many in Africa therefore means that, national elections are always going to suffer the odious undercurrent of violent clashes due to the politicians' inability to address the basic needs of the people.

It makes one wonder though if this undesirable threat of electioneering violence can ever be arrested within the body politic of African states. Or should the notion of realpolitik à la Africaine be equated to a political campaign of threats and intimidation orchestrated by desperate politicians cleverly using demagoguery to rile people up to cause mayhem just in case they fall short at the polls?

It behooves African leaders to exorcise this ever present canker which poses an existential threat to all African states by firstly ensuring that successive political administrations make a concerted effort to educate their citizens and improve their conditions of living.

Secondly, the idea of reducing the stake of politicians in the outcome of national elections ought to be explored. The situation whereby a winner takes all attitude is adopted in the method of governance creates or rather foments an environment that has the potential to breed animosity amongst political parties.

The issue of campaign finance reforms also needs to be explored particularly in those African states where funding a political group is viewed as a sort of investment that is expected to generate dividends when the recipient political party comes to power.

A country like Ghana needs a freedom of Information act that facilitates the transparency of campaign finance and advances the state's ability to place restrictions on how politicians source funds for their political campaigns.

The aim is to forestall the creation of oligarchies in Africa and to enhance the state apparatus as an instrument for national cohesion and human development.



William Manful

William Manful

William Manful is a human rights advocate committed to the democratization of Africa. He has worked as a contributing columnist for afrik- news.com and talkafrique. He holds degrees in french and spanish as well as international relations from the University of Cambridge. Mr manful also writes on philosophy, sports and cinema. He is currently working for the Government of Ghana.

 

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