Interesting Antecedent to Ghana’s December Elections
By Ato Aidoo
An important factor that has been ignored by so-called political commentators in Ghana is that the quest for power through the December elections is becoming interesting.
This year’s election mirrors a contest of ideas between the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP), though many would argue that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is the largest opposition party in Ghana, and remains a force to reckon with.
Dwindling support for the NDC is CPP’s gains. The CPP under Dr. Paa Kwesi Ndoum can be strengthened for future elections, though as it is now, the NPP has a “competitive advantage” in the upcoming elections.
But Ghanaians should take the new CPP serious as there is something unique about their campaign carefully managed by a dedicated youthful team. “Language” is playing a vital role in the party’s campaign, and it must be applauded.
CPP’s rebirth and a surge in its membership are partly explained by the return of some of its members who left to join the NDC as a result of fragmentation in the party. The youthful faces - the Ampofos, Keelsons, and others, being showcased to the electorate is working for the party. Samia Nkrumah, daughter of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, is the new star in a party founded by her father. As to whether this can translate into presidential victory remains unknown, but it can glitter in the future.
CPP needs to increase its membership in the legislature; and without delay settle the “Freddie Blay Vrs Party “problem out of court, so as to provide the basis for averting unnecessary distraction.
With less than three months for the people of Ghana to cast their votes, the NPP and CPP appear to be the serious contenders for massive support if, indeed, a campaign strategy defines the political fortune of a party. Support for these two parties is derived from their messages, undeniably, a justification for their enviable acceptability by the people of Ghana. CPP, for instance, is building its future in a nice way.
Periodically, I get confused as to whether former President Jerry John Rawlings is the co- flag bearer of the NDC as he continues to lambaste the present government, thus attracting unnecessary commentaries. Was it necessary to bring together former military and intelligence officers to discuss so-called matters related to national security? Is there a breakdown of law and order in Ghana? Or former President Rawlings still supervises the state security apparatus?
This initiative, inevitably, reveals John Evans Atta Mills’ gradual despair to become the next president of Ghana, the belief that “he cannot be a man enough when elected”, his good intentions suppressed by constant outbursts from the former president.
Professor Mills’ campaign team should re-define the former President’s role in the party, for all its vestiges of wrongness, its politically incorrect past, the NDC as a political party in opposition can occasionally offer constructive criticisms.
Is maverick politician, Kofi Wayo, still in the presidential race? “Wayo” means a swindler. Is Uncle Dan Lartey still campaigning to become the next president of Ghana? I strongly believe Ghanaians are well equipped to differentiate political jokers from real contenders.
I am not a pollster, neither do I believe in a poll (it can be twisted to present assumptions as facts), but I am convinced the CPP is engaged in diligent, non-violent, appropriate messaging campaign that must not be overlooked by the good people of Ghana.
The same applies to the NPP’s marathon campaign across the length and breadth of Ghana. And it would only take the politically naïve to believe that people who support Nana Akufo Addo wherever he goes throughout this campaign are “bussed” from one region to the other, supporters of a losing party will live with this notion.
I am not a soothsayer, neither have I dreamt about the rising sun, the birth of a new King of the Jews, or heard a voice from heaven as others claim. All that I know is that by the Grace of God, in January 2009; Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo would be sworn-in as the next president of the Republic of Ghana.
Good works of a government in power sell themselves to voters, as against a commando-style political adventure pursued by “trouble-makers” who stripped our hardworking women, introduced their nakedness to the public, and whipped them mercilessly.
And I still remember how Boye Johnson, a generous businessman, and other businessmen and women were brutally murdered in Takoradi by these so-called “commandos” under the watch of the (P) NDC government. Nobody challenged these killings; the “commandos” were set free and settled in Accra, as children of these departed souls endured hardship of untold proportions. The NDC is guilty of setting a barometer for investigating killings in Ghana.
Today, the NDC sheds some of its turpitudes, and engages other political parties in an accusation galore, as many unsolved mysteries continue to hunt the party – “a zebra cannot change its markings”. I cannot fault the great Law Professor, John Atta-Mills, and John Dramani Mahama, honest and sincere politician. The major concern is that they are just operating in the midst of bad guys whose past activities are tainted with the blood of innocent victims.
The more I try to delineate Ghana’s political past in the light of the present dispensation, the stronger (P) NDC’s atrocities/misdeeds force themselves to occupy a place in my thoughts.
A recent disturbance in northern Ghana reminds me of the party’s machinations and iron-fist rule, though this is not suggestive, that every individual who served under (P) NDC was a murderer. Kwame Peprah, Totobi Quakyi, D.S Boateng, former GNPC boss- Tsatsu Tsikata, Kwamena Ahwoi, Mike Gizo, Kwabena Kyere, Mike Akyeampong, Edward Salia, Paul Victor Obeng, Nii Adjei Boye Sekan, Sam Garbah, Frank Abu, Valis Akyianu, Ebo Tawiah, Kwesi Botchwey, Mary Grant, Anaa Ennin, Ama Atta Aidoo, Joyce Aryee, Christine Amoako-Nuamah, Kow Nkensen Arkaah, to mention but a few, were credible personalities who served Ghana well in many capacities. I think the “latter-day” supporters of the party make the most noise.
The problem of unemployment, poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment in the Northern part of Ghana must be lifted and addressed in political campaign messages devoid of violence.
When the dust settles, influential politicians (many of them from the southern part of Ghana) who are fueling these disturbances should submit their disguised dignity before God and Man and ask for forgiveness, as we pray for an end to these shameful acts. As they say in Ghana, “it is unwise to die a foolish death for a politician to have the benefit of power”.
The fundamental problems facing our people are so enormous, against a backdrop of calls for mayhem and politically-motivated violence, carefully designed to divert the people’s resolution to make the right choices. This, of course, represents a skewed agenda nourished by NDC’s political stronghold mentality which is fast fading.
The NPP should continue advertising the truth, the beliefs of the party, and peace, with the view to building on the achievements of the past seven years, while a rejuvenated CPP should continue to “preach the word” derived from a revival gospel, also promoting a message of peace, job creation, and happiness in a more practical way.
Ghanaians are discerning enough to choose between these two credible political blocks, leaving the NDC with its Kobby Akyeampong, who majored in pathological lies, and would always want to remind Ghanaians of having “lived and schooled” in the United States, immortalized by all the bragging rights.
A violent political party must be told in simple terms: that these “Patapaa, Buga-buga, and insults do not ensure victory”, the reminder being that, the United States which Akyeampong constantly uses as a source of reference also teaches the individual to be receptive.
This year’s elections would be interesting.
Author, formerly of the features desk, Daily Graphic, Accra, Ghana.