Do Ghanaians want Akufo-Addo as their President?

Sat, 5 Nov 2011 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

(Part I)

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Factors that prevented the NPP’s Akufo-Addo from winning the 2008 Presidential elections may not have evaporated; new ones may have emerged ever since then to add to his credibility problems. But whether he will win the next general elections or not cannot be gauged by how much his opponents denounce him. Personally, I have my qualms against Akufo-Addo and will hate to have him as Ghana’s President in my lifetime; but my sentiments are my private matter. Others too have their sentiments and expectations of him and mine alone will not prevent him from being so if the majority of voters go for him. Akufo-Addo’s electoral fate is in the womb of time; and the objective reality of the Ghanaian condition will determine what he becomes at the end of the polls in December 2012. That objective reality will be shaped and shaved by the NDC government’s performance and how confident the electorate will feel that another four years under President Mills will provide the relief that has eluded them all these years. Based on what President Mills has demonstrated (or failed to demonstrate) so far, will there be any difference between his first term and a future second one? If the electorate assess this objective reality and decide against him, no amount of vilification of the NPP and its Akufo-Addo will save the situation for the NDC. That is why when some NDC functionaries disregard the objective reality of the Ghanaian condition and rush to intone the common refrain that the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo will never be Ghana’s President, I laugh them to scorn. For Akufo-Addo to become Ghana’s President or fail in his bid will depend on how the NDC administration performs to neutralize his influence on the electorate. It won’t depend on mere bad-mouthing or the dissipation of energy and resources on propaganda stunts all over the country. The NDC Member of Parliament for Sege, Alfred Abayateye is the latest NDC functionary to strike this chord. He is reported to have “prophesied” that the NPP’s presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo will never become the President of Ghana. Speaking on Adom TV’s morning show “Badwam” on Multi TV, Mr. Abayateye said “Nana Addo’s eyes will see Canaan, but his foot will be miles away from the Promised Land. I am prophesying to him that, he will never see the presidential seat. If a whole flagbearer and a presidential aspirant could stand in public and openly insult a sitting president, referring to him as a visionless and an unthinking person, then he cannot rule as president, never!” MyJoyOnline, Nov. 3, 2011).

Abayateye was taking issue with Akufo-Addo whose utterances at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the KNUST wing of the NPP students group on Tuesday had something unpleasant for the NDC. He had said that under the Mills led administration, “Ghana is hopeless despite the huge economic gains left by the Kufuor administration”. He took on President Mills personally, describing him as “a visionless leader”, and was also quoted as saying that the “NPP must win power at all cost.”

Akufo-Addo couldn’t resist the temptation not to base his campaign on promise-making and said that the transformation of the Ghanaian economy to create jobs and decent standard of living will be his topmost priority if elected president in 2012. This promise is just one of the many that he has so far made. We expect more from him as he seeks to take undue advantage of the supposed gullibility of the Ghanaian electorate. That’s a double-edged sword but he is prepared for the consequences. After all, “All-die-be-die”! Being the only party capable of unseating the incumbent, the NPP is streets ahead of those mushroom parties in the backwoods of Ghana politics that are noticed only by how much in-fighting they indulge in. I am referring to the pro-Nkrumahist family that has splintered into parties leading themselves far into the political wilderness. Who cares about the CPP, PNC, GCPP, or even an independent presidential candidate without any reliable constituency in the country?

As the situation currently stands, the NPP is the NDC’s only formidable political foe; and its presidential candidate is more than power-hungry or armed to become Ghana’s President at all costs. As his clarion call of “All-die-be-die” suggests, he is more than prepared to test the depth of the political stream with both feet—and swim too, probably already conditioned to drown if that is what his audacity and power hunger will bring upon him! That’s his choice.

The NDC functionaries may roundly condemn Akufo-Addo and predict an electoral doom for him; but their wishes are not horses for any beggar to ride. Electoral success depends on many factors, none of which these NDC elements seem to be factoring into their assessment of the political situation in the country. Public perception of the Mills-led government and the daily bashing of the President himself and his appointees indicate that something is basically wrong with the manner in which the government is tackling national problems. Such a perception will go a long way to influence the electoral decisions that the voters will make.

The government seems confused and can’t endear itself to the hearts of the electorate, especially as the economy stagnates while the cost of utility services rise and hardships continue to be the order of the day; and as the mass of unemployed youth can’t get the jobs they’ve been promised and don’t have the slightest hope that the situation will change for the better. The IMF and World Bank may indulge in their ritual praise-singing about the economy but it will not translate into votes for the government, especially if the people’s lives aren’t positively affected in any way by such abstract indicators of success. Some painful happenings worsen the situation for government. Those walking the corridors of power take advantage of the system to cushion themselves. The people know what happens. Allegations of corruption against government functionaries have eroded confidence in the government because no official action is taken to investigate those allegations or to punish the culprits. The numerous industrial actions by aggrieved workers reacting to the unfavourable conditions of service (such as the distortions in the Single Spine Salary Structure) indicate that the government has lost favour among such a voter population.

Government’s inability to undertake major projects (e.g., the STX housing project) or to fulfill its 2008 electioneering campaign promises will hurt it. Furthermore, it doesn’t seem to know how to manage projects and programmes aimed at alleviating the suffering of the people. These projects and programmes have either failed or been politicized and made ineffectual.

In other areas, a major stumbling block exists where anger against the government is caused by what the people consider as “deception” (e.g., the government’s inability to conclude the Ya-Na murder case by punishing the perpetrators of the Yendi Massacre or the murderers of Alhaji Issa Mobila). The government’s credibility is on the line and those aggrieved segments of the society will have no other choice but look elsewhere and vote for a different party and its presidential candidate. To be continued…

Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.