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Alhaji Asoma Banda, come for your thanks

Mon, 21 Dec 2015 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Sunday, December 20, 2015

In less than 24 hours after Alhaji Asoma Banda had dismissed him as not intelligent or wise to become Ghana's President, Akufo-Addo is out to prove him right. And we expect a lot more from him as the days roll by.

Here he goes: "Mahama has nothing to campaign on in 2016": "Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says he is convinced the government of President John Dramani Mahama has nothing to campaign on in the 2016 elections. His claim, he said, is based on the fact that the government has less achievements to justify the huge borrowing it has embarked on." (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Mahama-has-nothing-to-campaign-on-in-2016-402120)

President Mahama has nothing on which to base his electioneering campaign for Election 2016? An intelligent and wise politician well-cut-out to be Ghana's President won't go that way at all. But not for Akufo-Addo. Is he really alive to happenings in the country as far as political messages to the electorate are concerned?

The fact is that President Mahama has more campaign messages for the electorate than does Akufo-Addo. He has ruled and left behind visible traces, good or bad. The people who see these traces will use them to make electoral decisions. And for President Mahama, it is a simple task of situating these traces within the context of his government’s policies and the challenges that have made it difficult to implement those policies. Those that have already been successfully implemented and yielded fruit will need no expatiation. They are evidently observable in the massive infrastructural development and other accomplishments that have kept Ghana on its feet all these years.

What specifically President Mahama will do is to go to the people to level with them, explaining to them the challenges and urging them to retain his mandate so he can tackle those challenges. He has evidence to point to, and the people who see the accomplishments will not hesitate to agree with him. He has a stock of campaign messages, thereby.

How about Akufo-Addo? Nothing so far except the constant bad-mouthing of President Mahama and self-adulating pronouncements bordering on his bogus claim of not being corrupt or not seeking power to steal Ghana’s money. Is that the message that will boost any support for him?

I am, however, not surprised that he will see no campaign message for President Mahama while not considering his own lack of substance. Apparently, his nephew (Gabby Otchere Darko) has confirmed it all by saying that “The NPP is our campaign message”. What humbug? What is “The NPP” but an anathema to most voters?

I see Akufo-Addo as bereft of any campaign substance. So far, he and his followers have been touting the so-called achievements of ex-President Kufuor and basing their ugly noise on it as if it is Kufuor who is seeking power. By going that way, they have only succeeded in pushing themselves to the shadow of Kufuor and devaluing themselves in the eyes of the electorate. Kufuor di; Kufuor did that. And so what? For elections 2000 and 2014, Kufuor gave Ghanaians concrete campaign messages even if he had to rely on the mushroom political parties for traction.

What Akufo-Addo and his team have failed to know so far is that although the mushroom parties are also condemning the Mahama-led administration, it is not automatic that they will support the NPP at the polls. The conditions that made Akufo-Addo lose Elections 2008 and 2012 aren’t the same but worse now, especially because of the head-butting going on to alienate party members not seeing eye-to-eye with Akufo-Addo. He will be sorry to under-rate the impact of such disaffected people. Floating voters won’t go for him just because he is leading the pack to badmouth President Mahama. There is more for him to do to reach out to the voters; that is, he can give them anything to know that he has better policies to solve problems. Otherwise, the challenge is tougher for him than for President Mahama.

Given the circumstances surrounding the "Rice and Beans" ("Rise and Build") tour that he undertook and the "Transforming Lives" one by President Mahama, could Akufo-Addo see the difference between public attention to him and to President Mahama?

What specific campaign message has Akufo-Addo for Ghanaians? When he led the NPP's campaign teams to the Talensi and Amenfi West constituencies to prepare the grounds for the bye-elections there, he said nothing to move the electorate, which was why they rejected the NPP. All he did was to irritate the people with self-righteous posturing and useless utterances. No attraction.

What exactly is Akufo-Addo going to base his campaign on apart from the usual name-calling, repetitive allegations of corruption without proof, and arousal of ethnic sentiments or preaching of violence if he loses the elections? Or the making of "huhudious" promises that will annoy the people more than entice them toward the NPP?

What is Akufo-Addo's own campaign focused on? That is what he should be telling us. As of now, nothing to prove that he has what it takes to rule Ghana better. It's all recycled rhetorical garbage.

Then, consider this aspect too: "They have used every infrastructure project they have undertaken to enrich themselves and impoverish Ghanaians. Every classroom and hospital they have built have been at twice or three times what it should cost, every kilometer of road they have built has been at an obscene cost and our country has become a byword for corruption,” he said.

All coming from the lawyer that he claims to be? Where is the evidence he has that the government has used infrastructural development to enrich its functionaries? And can he not know that beneficiaries of those projects won't desert President Mahama for him just because of his desperate manouevres?

If President Mahama has nothing on which to base his electioneering campaign, should it be Akufo-Addo's bother? Why not come out with your own campaign message(s) to prove to the electorate that you have something up your sleeves?

As is to be expected of such unintelligent and unwise politicians, undercutting their political opponents becomes their main political tool. In the process, they fail to connect with voters because they fail to tell them what they can do better. Alhaji Asoma Banda, come for your thanks!!

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.