#1SimpleStep holds Forum on Power

#1SimpleStep holds Forum on Power

The 1 Simple Step Initiative, a campaign launched by Golda Addo in 2013 to get the Ghanaian citizenry more involved in seeking accountability from government, held a forum on power yesterday, March 19, 2014 at The Hub, Osu. The panelists were Mr. Nii Ayikwei Parkes (author, literary icon, literary judge), Ms. Farida Bedwei (CEO of Logiciel and Director, National Board of Communications) and Mr. Sydney Casely-Hayford (Consultant, Columnist, Activist). The forum was moderated by Golda Addo and Nana Nhyira Addo.

The forum started at 6:30pm with an invitation to the audience to describe their understanding of power. Most of the responses focused on political power and electricity. Some members of the audience also felt power could be viewed as wealth or influence.

Mr Nii Ayikwei Parkes said that power, in the exploitative sense, can be traced to colonisation. He felt that power was complex and that it involved much more than a political mandate. Power, to him, was the ability to make a change. He also stressed the difference between commerce and power. The traditional communal spirit that was necessary because of barter trading had been lost due to the abstract concept of money, he asserted. He revealed that he retired from a multinational company because he felt they were not working in the interest of the country and that he took up writing as part of his contribution to help bring about a social reawakening which he feels is necessary to tackling our problems.

Ms Farida Bedwei suggested that power can be used positively or negatively. She felt that the citizens must make their opinions heard by isolating issues and dealing with them one after the other. She expressed her frustration with what she thinks is too much talking which leads to no solutions. She agreed with Mr Parkes that writing was very important because Ghanaians have short memories. Ghanaians, she thinks, are responsible for our own problems. As an example, she gave the lack of data and the failure of people to realise the importance of keeping data.

Mr Casely-Hayford asserted that sex was the ultimate power. He said sex has the ability to cause jealousy, anger, pain and so on. Sex controls a part of us that is primordial, and that is real power, he suggested. Mr Casely-Hayford spoke about the activities of several people including Kobina Sakyi and his own great-grandfather and their contribution towards the struggle for independence. He criticised Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, for institutionalising dictatorship and felt that his overthrow (which he partook in) was the only way to remove him from power since there was no democracy or freedom of speech, and a spy network had made people feel threatened to express dissent. As a solution to Ghana’s problems, he called for the adoption of proportional representation in determining the number of seats that political parties have in parliament.

The forum concluded with a segment where the audience interacted with the panelists through questions, answers and suggestions. Inform Ghana was there to cover the event and below are a few tweets from the coverage.

 

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