THE TRUE DEFINITION OF POLITICAL PARTIES
In different parts of the world where multiparty democracy is practiced, people develop extreme passion for their political parties. Largely across the world, people join political parties because of their; personal interest, believe in the political doctrine, relatives being in that party and other cases, for personal security. People who want to go into politics must understand that others come into the party with varied reasons otherwise, they would always end up disappointed. Today, my piece aims at throwing an insight into political parties.
According to Dasraeli "a political party is an organized opinion" Edmund Burk also postulated that "a political party is an organized group made up of a persons who subscribe to some common set of policies with the intention of winning political power in government through elections to realize its aim".
In my ordinary understanding, political parties are a team of people who believe in the democratic structure of a country, understand and believe in a particular way of governance, and collectively work within an agreed framework with the ultimate aim of winning power through a well conducted national election. It is also important to add that members of the same political party share the same political philosophy or doctrine. The doctrines of the party are propagated by strategies. Of course, any realistic political strategy does not contravene the philosophy of the party.
The origin of political parties in Britain is traced to the 17th century during the reign of Charles, the second. In Africa however, there was a delay in the emergence of political parties because of long persistent colonization by the west. Indeed most of the political parties became prominently dominant around the middle of the 20th century. Indeed, political instability after most nations had gained independence in Africa equally slowed down the development of political parties.
In furtherance, there is no multiparty democracy without formidable political parties. All political parties have essential roles to play whether in government or opposition.
In Africa and elsewhere, discrepancies among different political parties especially during and after elections have ignited pockets of violence and consequently war leading to the loss of several lives and properties. Reference can be made to the Rwanda political genocide, the Liberia war, Ivory Coast political crisis and the most recent Gambia post electoral issues among the lot. The point I want to succinctly hammer on is that, political parties can make and unmake a country. This is what citizens of Ghana must be very conscious of especially with the proliferation of political vigilantism as well as the proliferation of small arms. Political parties must engage in a dialogue and device mechanisms against political vigilantism as early as possible to prevent war in the future. The recent activities of vigilante groups affiliated to the ruling NPP is injurious to our democracy and can easily cause political conflicts should the minority groups who may feel terrorized, take revenge. I don’t pray to see it happen.
In Ghana, the 1992 constitution, article 55 is explicit on the formation and the joining of political parties. Clause one of the said article states that, "to the right form political parties is hereby guaranteed". The clause two added "every citizen of Ghana of voting age has the right to join a political party." Why do people think that everybody must belong to one party? Could it be lack of knowledge on the whole idea of political parties? Obviously, the answer is YES. Many political fanatics are influenced to join parties without any education on what Political parties stand for. They are either politically indoctrinated or they follow blindly.
I think that, most political parties are doing a great disservice to democracy by running away from their core obligation of educating their members to understand the fundamentals of democracy. That certainly is the reason why people develop a permanent hatred for others who belong to different parties. It is also the reason why there is always tension ahead of any elections. That should not be allowed to continue. For the reason that some unscrupulous politicians would always take solace in violence to favor their parties. The law enforcement agencies should not be felt threatened by such political thugs in ensuring a true practice of the law. If the law enforcement bodies feel threaten and run into their hoods, then what happen to the poor ordinary civilian who is the most vulnerable in such circumstances?
Going forward, the legal regimes of political parties must be reexamined and probably given a second thought to compel political parties to stick to the cherished tenets of democracy. People must allow others to enjoy their rights too. Democracy centers on rule of law and rule of law is grounded on equality and fairness. Let's not be carried away by extreme political emotions to the detriment of cherished democratic norms and values, the only panacea to any meaningful development in Ghana as well as the secret of peace sustainability.
To be continued……………………