The Campus Political System

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Forgetting that the establishment of any institution is preceded by a human need, one can easily point to the fact that the politics of student associations on KNUST campus has failed drastically. There exist no restrictive measures that can yield the maximum benefit to the student populace. The sole original motive of such student associations is to enhance the welfare of the students. However, student associations, including the SRC, COLLEGE, FACULTY AND DEPARTMENT associations only contribute just a meager to the welfare of students in the institution. Student leaders instead of seeking the interests of their members rather tend to seek their own parochial interests.  Promises are not fulfilled; of course, students have never expected their leaders to keep their promises. I must be a bit cynical because the issue at hand because it poses a greater threat than it may seem. I don’t know the number of readers who would agree with me that campus politics is the mother of our National Politics and casts its perfect shadow on the national political scene.

QUESTION: ARE STUDENTS TOO CORRUPT TO DELIVER BENEFITS TO THEIR OWN MEMBERS?

ANSWER IS NO! The structural arrangement of these student associations is flawed in the first place. And this leaves no options for student leaders (human beings who are naturally selfish, aggressive and acquisitive) than to be corrupt. Of course, one does not need to be a political science scholar to know that it is natural for man to be corrupt when not watched. Once a set of student leaders are elected into office, they arrive in a heaven of possibilities where they can enjoy benefits at the expense of their members. We must bear in mind that “if men were angels, no government would be needed!”

A survey conducted in the previous academic year (Kwabena Ansah, 2015) showed that students lack confidence in their own leaders. This is to say that the popularity of student leadership is in no good shape. However, the survey revealed that the popularity of the leadership declines as we move from DEPARTMENT EXECUTIVES to the SRC.

It revealed that the loyalty to student associations is greatly towards the departmental than the other higher associations. It was known that the rationale behind such attitude is largely due to the choice students make with regard to the program of study (DEPARTMENT??) rather than a faculty or college. The university though categorize departments under various faculties and colleges, student are less concerned with what goes on in other departments but rather their own department (progamme of study).

Lack of structures and institutions of accountability kills the interests of students in the activities of student associations. After the election of student leaders, students have no avenues to hold their own lead in check. Though two recognized associations, the SRC and the POLITICAL SCIENCE STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION are known to possess legislatures which ‘seem’ to hold executives in check, it is however not enough to satisfy student involvement . Many student leaders have raised concerns about the menace of student apathy toward association activities. They lament that students refuse to attend programs which they (the student leaders) organize to enhance the welfare. Where then lies the solution to this rhetoric?? If something qualifies to be a problem, it sure must have a solution. This is what this article seeks to address in the best way possible:

CAMPUS POLITICAL PARTIES: A REMEDY?

As it is already established, the creation of any human institution must be preceeded by a human need. It is in the light of this that I am proposing the idea of “Campus Political Parties.” This model suggests that established political parties shall be agents and means of political accountability. Students aspiring to hold political offices must  be elected on party tickets. I know this would be a bombshell in the minds of many Ghanaians alike, knowing how dirty and devastating the state of our national party politics has been and continues to be. However, the effectiveness of a medical doctor’s prescription depends on factors like who takes the medication, under what circumstances was it taken, the time it was taken and other factors which may be inclusively or exclusively related. We should remember that the same medicine that kills the bacteria(an organism) also cures the sick(another organism). Party politics may seem to have failed on the national front though, a proper implementation of CP Political system would deliver many benefits to us all.

MERITS

The CP political system holds the following prospects for us all:

  • Good governance based on Accountability: the rationale is that the re-election of any political party in any polity largely depends on the previous performance and/or the availability of competing alternative parties. Accountability would therefore emerge from the leadership of such campus political parties; their motives of winning successive elections would definitely put them on their toes. On the contrary, independent- run student leaders have little if there is anything at all to fear with regard to successive elections. Perhaps, “I am already in final year and wouldn’t need your votes in the next elections,” or “I don’t intend to run for any election on campus.” Not dwelling on this internal accountability only, the opposition parties aspiring to capture political power would put forward constructive criticism and alternatives, putting incumbent governments on their toes.
  • Eradication of Political Corruption: the taste for corruption and embezzlement of association funds would decline since parties only campaign with dues accumulated from members. Contrary to a situation where an individual spends his all in the name of campaign, leaving him or her no choice than to plough back, campus political parties have all hands on deck to reduce individual loss during campaigns. This would go a long way to help curb the menace of political corruption.
  • Selection of quality leaders: CP Party System promises a higher quality in leadership. A candidate must be tried and tested by the parties’ internal mechanisms before presented to the entire populace. Parties would also ensure that they present high standing candidates capable of winning and retaining political power for them.
  • Training grounds for National Politics: since the system resembles that of the National system, students could easily develop their political potentials to become outstanding politicians in the near future. The system would also indoctrinate them with great values like accountability, rule of law and constitutionalism.
  • Solution to Student Apathy: when students realize that they wield the power to punish unscrupulous politicians, they would be more interested in the political system and association activities as well.
  • Availability of Shadow Government: Electorates shall be presented with would-be executives, giving them the opportunity to weigh and assess their credibility before voting them into power.

BASIC FEATURES AND MECHANISMS OF THE CP POLITICAL SYSTEM

For Campus Party system to work, certain fundamental mechanisms ought to be in place to ensure its successful implementation. I suggest that these and other relevant mechanisms alike would be helpful:

  • Basically, these parties must be neutral and independent of national politics. Their establishment must not be traced on the lines of any particular religion, tribe, political party, student association, programme of study or such social establishment. The identification with such entities therefore calls for the suspension of that campus party.
  • Furthermore, a recognized campus political party must have offices in each faculty in the university. It must have the signatures of at least ten percent of members in each faculty. This seeks to ensure universality of political parties.
  • Constitutionalism
  • The role of Parliaments

By: Gabriel Owusu
Email : thewholegabriel@gmail.com

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