Kufuor’s 'losing 2008 elections was a mystery' comment explains the incumbent NPP's date with destiny in December
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor (JAK) has said that he never thought that his incumbent NPP could lose the 2008 general elections until the last stages.
JAK said: "Things happened in ways that I could not comprehend", that especially when Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, the then finance minister died, it hit him hard.
He forgot to mention among the "mystery" events that Peter Ala Adjetey, a party chairman and Speaker of Parliament also died.
JAK's list included the death of Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, his finance minister; the global food crises and global financial crisis of 2008; the then unprecedented crude oil price of USD147 at a time when Ghana was not an oil producer; too much democracy within the then incumbent NPP; the decision by some NPP folk to contest "some constituency results" that is, Volta Region votes even though he did not want to mention it by name; and his party's decision to boycott the Tain bye-election as some of the pointers to an impending defeat.
But of all the pointers, the outstanding Tain election, that was boycotted by the incumbent, but which was needed to decide the winner of the run off election, and the decision by some NPP lawyers led by Samuel Ata Akyea to head to court and stop that outstanding ballot which an Accra court rejected by allowing some NDC lawyers to join the "ex parte" motion via "amicus curia" were the worst for Kufuor.
JAK called the verdict of the people "crazy democracy" by giving a specific reason, to wit, "Tain" to Kwaku Sakyi-Addo who interviewed him on Sunday Night on Asaase Radio on Sunday 6 September.
Which animal is Tain?
Tain's "capital Nsawkaw" saw a "tarred road", that is bituminous surface for the first time since creation under JAK, his own words not mine. The NPP administration was building the Bui dam, according to JAK, "if you know the location of Bui" he reminded Kwaku Sakyi-Addo.
The people who were settled from the dam's affected area were given free housing and free electricity. Today the whole of Ghana is Tain thanks to free water and electricity on account of the Coronavirus stimulus package.
What was JAK alluding to by these "Tain" and "crazy democracy" mentions? Infrastructure projects do not necessarily win elections - simpliciter.
The NPP should admit that they have lost the infrastructure debate, and then focus on their strengths instead, period. After all, according to JAK's "crazy democracy" concept, human beings will always go for their "enlightened self interest", a term JAK used when he was president to explain his foreign policy.
In marketing this is alluded to as "what's in it for me?".
Anyone ever seen the Ashanti Region "serial callers" burning their mobile devices including tablets? Anyone heard the reasons they gave? They calculated the cost of buying credit at 10 cedis a day from the four years of Mahama's presidency to date, and added that if they got the promised jobs, things would have been different for them. They also mentioned that their regional leadership is impervious to advice.
But hey NPP might still win: JAK even mentioned "rigging" as part of the reasons NPP lost in 2008, as in NDC may have rigged better than the then incumbent NPP.
“The first round our candidate led with about 49% […]. Then there was a second round which again we believe if democracy was common sense, we should have taken but it didn’t happen. Then, there was a third round when we sent people ahead to talk to the chiefs and people of the area [Tain], so how our own party people said they were taking the Electoral Commission to court to retrain it from having the elections but the court didn’t rule for us but meanwhile the outstanding elections was taking place; we had boycotted it and so that’s how power slipped from our hands. It wasn’t a rejection from the people as such, but so many things came together in a very strange way to deprive us from power”.
Kufuor also explained that the party lost the parliamentary elections because some candidates that lost the parliamentary primary decided to run on an independent basis.
Today about 30 NPP MPs have lost their respective primary elections, and...well...
Back to Tain. For the first time ever Tain became a district, explained JAK, yet the people ignored that gift.
Now if we do not run "a crazy democracy" why will anybody ever think of creating six new regions if not for votes, when the real issues within those regions are heavier than the nomenclature that has been placed upon them. "What's in a name?" is Shakespeare's poignant reminder.
The average 99 per cent at a referenda in those regions does not mean similar margins of victory for NPP come December, for, it did, this election would have been a no contest.
Just a few days ago, the Minister for Roads announced some massive road projects to be undertaken within "three months" in the new regions including Oti. Will that be enough where free SHS has failed to count?
As Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has said: "Every election is a referendum on the incumbent's performance".
And here I add as a matter of JAK's "common sense" quip, that there shall be a referendum on corruption in December, if we care to read between the lines.
On corruption, JAK explained that he reshuffled even the best ministers often, and in some cases asked appointees to submit their resignation.
However, unlike JAK's "over democratic" NPP which prevented him from leading the party even as president, President Akufo-Addo has absolute control but has hardly done a reshuffle in the face of clear failure.
Hear JAK himself: “I attended the meeting [at the NPP headquarters] and the national executive were complaining that there is no money, so I said please let the president assume leadership of the party, they said no. You are the president of Ghana so you remain there and let the chairman of the party be the leader. So, I said look if the president goes out and pleads with the business community they are likely to support but I don’t know if the chairman can do that and they still said no,” Kufuor narrated.
Frankly, who in NPP today can say no to Nana Akufo-Addo, their presidential candidate and current President.
As the management concept goes: "Internal regulation is better than external regulation". This means where the internal party people do not have a voice, the electorate will speak in December.
Sadly however, in this "crazy democracy", a victory for NPP will be interpreted to mean 130 something ministers do not matter, corruption does not matter.
So goes the merry-go-round; the "mystery" of losing,or of winning, as JAK said, does not follow "Mathematics"; it does not follow "average common sense".
It's just a "crazy democracy" we practice here in Ghana.
The author is a journalist, communications and media analyst and a writer. The views expressed are solely his and do not represent the organisation he works for.
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