How Sweet Is President Mills’ Sunyani Victory?

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 Source: Baafi, Alex Bossman

By Alex Bossman Baafi

President Mills’ landslide victory at the just ended NDC Congress in Sunyani had been hailed by GAME and their supporters as indication of the preparedness of the president to as they put it “retire” Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo – Addo, the presidential candidate of the largest opposition party, NPP, in the impending 2012 general elections.

Many political pundits, scientists and observers have made their views known about the boldness of the former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, to challenge with the view to dethrone the sitting president of her ruling party. One common view that came out of the numerous interpretations was that of her democratic right and fact that her action had deepened democracy within the NDC in particular and that of the country as a whole. Though I agree with this view, in another breath I disagree because if all had been well with the current “Better Ghana Agenda” dispensation campaign been championed by the president, it would not have called for any leadership challenge from anybody for any reason from the same party.

After post-congress analysis, there are again some two divergent views depending upon whether one is either wearing GAME or FONKAR spectacles. GAME and their faithful are rejoicing, pointing to the fact that the overwhelming endorsement of the president showed mass approval rating of the performance of the president and his government. This fact had been sharply debunked by FONKAR group. For them, the competition was unfair because the incumbent abused his powers by resorting intimidation, vote buying, bullying and meanness that eventually led to the unwelcome defeat that is unacceptable. For me all the two positions hold water and so you are the judge.

Days after the emphatic victory of the president, many political analysts believe that, there are many pressing challenges facing him and his government that keep waking the president at night, so how sweet is his recent victory, they ask. For two and a half years that he rose to the highest office of the land on NDC ticket, the party had known no peace of UNITY. A party that won power with less than a half per cent, which needs all hands on deck to face a formidable opposition, NPP, that is well prepared, is more than fragmented. Observers believe that because of the circumstances surrounding the disunity in the party, unity will prove notoriously difficult, though not impossible, in the coming days ahead for want of time. Time indeed is running out for the president to be bashing in his victory honeymoon. It is only UNITY and nothing else that can throw a lifeline to the president to survive a second term presidential ambition in my view.

The factors that motivated and culminated in part to the leadership challenge remain vividly fresh in the minds of the electorate. According to the former first lady and her allies, the president is incompetent; there is widespread corruption, weak leadership, and mass joblessness in his government. There is hopelessness in the country because the president is not exuding inspiring leadership and as a result, many supporters of the ruling party are defecting to join the party of the opposition. How is the president going to turn these around within this short remaining tenure is a herculean task from the point of view of the voter. Many critics of the president from his own party believe he is a liability and poses a threat to the electoral fortunes of the party in the 2012 general elections. Therefore, the huge task, again, ahead the NDC is to rebrand the president and disabuse the minds of the electorate that the president is not a performer. The marketing package should include the convincing evidence that the “Better Ghana Agenda” is really on course for the betterment of everybody in the country.

In all these, many people are now complaining of severe economic hardships because of mass unemployment and underemployment due in part to the Britton Wood’s stabilization program policy that the government is enslaved to as well as lack of policy initiative of the government to encourage the private sector to expand to create jobs. Other issues militating against the economic wellbeing of the people are high utility tariffs in the face of irregular supply of water, electricity, gas, premix fuel, and cement in the country.

Again, many critics from within and without the ruling party could see defeat staring in the face of the ruling party because, in addition to many developmental challenges confronting the government, it has a huge debt of unfulfilled promises to retire. When are taxes going to go down, our communities being free of filth and fuel prices going to go down drastically? Majority of people are looking forward to pay one-time premium for their National Health Insurance. The fisher folks are hoping for a reduced price and reliable supply of premix fuel as well as pair trawling being outdated to improve their livelihood this peak season. For many, these and other challenges seem to have proved overwhelming for Mills – Mahamma Administration with no hope in sight.

In my humble opinion, proper sweet victory is ahead of us in 2012. If the president, his government and party want to enjoy that to the max, then they have a long way to go. The sweetness of the 2012 victory would be found in the bitterness of the Sunyani Congress. Email: abkbossman@yahoo.co.uk

Columnist: Baafi, Alex Bossman