Kyerematen is not Akufo-Addo's problem (Part II)

Mon, 9 Sep 2013 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

Alan Kyerematen is not Akufo-Addo's problem (Part II)

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Friday, September 6, 2013

Akufo-Addo’s problems can be traced to his own streaks of character that his opponents highlighted in their scare-mongering electioneering campaign efforts. They hammered on character traits and personal habits that they blew out of all proportions to alarm the electorate. We needn’t reiterate those traits and habits because we know that they’ve been in the public domain all this while to damage Akufo-Addo’s public image. We are even not talking about his performance under Kufuor.

Of all, though, nothing harmed him more than his portrayal as divisive, arrogant, and violent, which he confirmed with his own unguarded mantra of “All-die-be-die” and “Yen Akanfuo”—traits that would become the buzzword against his political interests for Election 2012.

Akufo-Addo failed himself by not boldly reacting to allegations of drug abuse; thus, giving his opponents a field day to tear his image into shreds. Mention his name and it conjures “horrible images of incontinence, immorality, and flippancy” (according to his opponents).

Interestingly, while all this negative publicity was being given him, he chose to develop a tough skin, and pretended not to bother about what was being done to him. In politics, this kind of “I don’t-carism” is dangerous, especially if it turns into the swan song that resounds all over the political terrain. And for Akufo-Addo, it was resoundingly clear.

The unfortunate sequel is that even the good aspects of Akufo-Addo got blanketed by the negative propaganda hitting the electorate, especially those undecided voters who might be looking for factors other than party loyalty to make their electoral decisions. Let’s remember that Ghanaians can be petty at times when it comes to weighing political issues.

We know how one’s physical appearance and ethnic extraction can become huge factors in the political game. So, why won’t people turn against Akufo-Addo on account of the negative propaganda against him while he turned the other cheek for more slaps?

Other problems can be traced to the NPP itself, which to date still comes across to many people as an “Akan-based party”. Unfortunately, the acts of commission or omission and pronouncements of the party’s leaders and followers confirm such perceptions. Those considering themselves as non-Akans won’t be attracted to vote for the party. This problem isn’t being solved because those to solve it react with insults instead of level-headedness to see it as a problem worth solving. I know how they will curse me at this point!!

The “book politics” done by the NPP people itself is too off-putting. Although Akufo-Addo’s promise of fee-free senior high school education caught on, it didn’t win the votes for him, apparently because they were eventually overshadowed by the negative issues about him that his detractors hammered on to doom him.

Yes, in politics, age counts; but age per se isn’t the be-it-all-and-end-it-all. It doesn’t necessarily account for victory or loss at the polls. What does is the accidents of the candidate’s own personality, accomplishments, political and administrative acumen, and ability to reach out to the electorate to instill confidence and hope in them to win their goodwill.

Ghanaian politics is still dirty and the filth can come from any quarters—tribalism, cronyism, nepotism, bribery and corruption, plain mischief, treachery and chicanery! In all senses, then, the ability of a candidate to prevail over the others in elections will depend on many factors (that may be intangible); but when the electorate are constantly bombarded with negative propaganda against one particular candidate—and the candidate himself does or fails to do what confirms the negative propaganda—victory will certainly elude that candidate. That is Akufo-Addo’s lot.

While not discounting his stage-craft and the theatricals that propel his locally acquired foreign accent in English that some see as fascinating or captivating, it cannot be said for him that he knows how to tackle his detractors. He seems not to know how to face reality and debunk all the dangerous propaganda material unleashed by his detractors. For as long as he remains the punching-bag, he should expect all manner of blows to land on him to be pummeled into a pulp.

That is why any attempt at this time to uplift him over the others in the NPP who may interested in the flagbearership must be weighed carefully. The fact that others contested the Presidential elections for about three times before winning doesn’t mean that Akufo-Addo can do same. It is not a given. Each contestant has had to deal with issues that negated their aspirations at the first two unsuccessful attempts. Is Akufo-Addo willing to do so to come across as having turned a new leaf? Otherwise, he will be trounced again because the very negative traits always used against him will re-surface, no matter for how long he keeps himself in contention. Let him and his supporters tell me that he has no need to bother about any public image!

Certainly, anybody else that emerges as the party’s flagbearer will have his/her own cup of tea. Alan Kyerematen, for instance, isn’t an angel. Nor are all the others on people’s lips as possible aspirants. The good thing for these people for now is that they haven’t had as much tongue-lashing as has happened to Akufo-Addo. None has been so tarnished because of personal traits of character or anything else.

Probably, it is so because they haven’t yet been settled on as flagbearers and may wait for their baptism of fire when the time comes. But come what may, it is obvious that none has so far been fingered in as many unmeritorious circumstances as the smear campaign against Akufo-Addo has revealed.

As we wait for further developments, I wish the NPP leaders won’t rush to worsen their own fate by raising this flagbearer issue all so soon. There is still time for them to do serious appraisal of Election 2012 to know what exactly hit them so that they can put their house in order even as they continue to lick their wounds. Any rash decision to begin roughing themselves up on account of a flagbearer for Election 2016 will not redound to their well-being. They risk falling apart.

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.