Divisive political atmosphere cause of weak citizenship – Prof. Abdul-Gafaru

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An Associate Professor of the Department of Public Administration at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), Prof. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai says citizenship in Ghana is weak because of the “toxic and divisive nature of the country’s political environment”.

Prof. Abdul-Gafaru made the remark on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, when he contributed to a panel discussion at a Star Ghana Stakeholder Dialogue which was themed “Active citizenship for transformational change.”

He insisted that national issues take partisan character which ends up making them uninteresting to the citizenry.

“Active citizenship thrives in societies where citizens are prepared to engage in collective action for the pursuit of the common good.”

“In Ghana, overcoming collective action problems has become challenging at all levels due to the factional, acrimonious, highly abusive, intolerant, and uncivil nature of political contestation between the NPP and NDC. Debates on most national development issues take a partisan character. Zealous party supporters blindly defend the policy decisions of their political patrons.”

Abdul-Gafaru also disclosed that amongst most African countries, Ghana trails with regard to the involvement of its citizens on developmental issues.

He however suggested ways by which the above challenge can be arrested.

According to him, advocates for active citizenship should focus on reorienting citizens to the importance of their actions and inactions in the administration of the country.

“Advocates for active citizenship need to take steps to directly challenge the dominance of clientelism in Ghanaian politics and also reorient citizens’ understanding of public goods provisioning from a rights-based perspective.”

“Decentralisation needs to be taken more seriously with particular emphasis on strengthening sub-national government structures and what all these means is that to be able to transform Ghanaians from being spectators, we (Ghana) will really need a lot more beyond the notion of attitudinal change on the part of citizens that is being advocated on the part of government officials.”

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Source Author: Ernest Arhinful