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Shut your trap Mac Manu, the likes of you don’t own Ghana!

Peter Mac Manu22 Peter Mac Manu

Thu, 3 Nov 2016 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

“Nobody should be afraid, some people are inquiring from me, the fact that NDC may rig the election or may not cede power should they lose, let me assure you, that is not going to happen…

“If you look around Ivory Coast what happened to him [Gbagbo] when he refused to cede power, his wife as well as his special aide who was causing trouble, are all languishing in prisons, so the NDC and John Mahama must take a lesson from that to cede power to guarantee peace in the country (Mac Manu, Campaign Manager of the New Patriotic Party).

Such a militarized rhetoric! Where do we start?

We pose this question, because if these are the leaders and role models the Ghanaian youth should aspire to, then Ghana (and Africa) is in deep trouble.

What will prompt this demon-possessed political animal to make this outrageous threat?

Perhaps political threats are the new political manifesto of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

It is, however, interesting how these new trends of political threats seem to be emerging just at the moment when the Machiavellian and conning leadership of the NPP thinks it can use the concept of crowdmanship to bulldoze the masses into believing that crowdmanship somehow automatically—if not directly—translates into a numerical preponderance of electoral success.

This is not always the case, however. Other than that, our working hypothesis will point to the other fact that the leadership of the NPP may actually be capitalizing on the carefully staged-managed photogeneity of bumps at public rallies, to shore up its grandiose delusions that electoral success for the NPP is a foregone conclusion.

In other words, this leadership wants to use the culture or climate of fear to sustain this forgone conclusion and to push its clandestine agenda of winning political power at gunpoint (see Wole Soyinka’s 2004 BBC Reith Lectures “The Climate of Fear”; again, see Soyinka’s book of the same title).

After all, party loyalists and supporters are always bussed from one base to another to shore up numbers.

On the contrary, these artificial bumps may therefore represent an assumptive riposte to the sentimental illogic of this foregone conclusion.

This is largely because the psychology of voting patterns or behavior is not the focus of vigorous scientific research from the viewpoint of any of the political parties or research institutions and think tanks associated with them.

Thus understanding social psychology, affective influence, political psychology, the psychology of judgment and decision making, game theory, implicit ethnic—the Ghanaian/African version of the Bradley Effect—and regional prejudices, negativity bias, gerrymandering, social choice theory (or voting theory), social desirability bias, polling, electoral geography, rational choice theory, the so-called bandwagon effect, mass illiteracy and poverty, aliteracy, charisma of presidential candidates, the mathematics of voting, and loss aversion—in the main—surely offer great insights into patterns of voting behavior, important topics that are not carefully studied in our part of the world, if at all.

We should not leave out the entire field of psephology, if we should add.

These are some of the tools our politicians should be using for purposes of predictive inferences insofar far as numeric election results go, rather than indulging in violent political communication and rhetoric.

In the final analysis then, we need to expend some research efforts on these methodological approaches to understanding human psychology and voting behavior patterns.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

“The only poll that matters is the one on U.S. election day—all other polls are concoctions” (Diane Francis).

“I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win” (Donald Trump).

In the end, all the telegenic glad-hanging rituals involving the presidential candidates of the two leading parties may not actually amount to much in terms of a winnable preponderance of electoral numbers.

At best, this trial balloon of political threats will not make any impact on the outcome of the general elections.

It is a political risk the leadership of the NPP is willing to take to support a potential foreseeable electoral win at the polls.

Trying to capitalize on the stage-managed telegeneity of crowdmanship and glad-handing rituals, to score cheap political points, may eventually turn out to be a disappointing boondoggle.

Neither can the kind of forecasts undertaken by pollster Ben Ephson amount to much, since the notion of exchangeability, computational neuroscience, time series analysis/time series forecasting, predictive inference and other forms of statistical probability always accurately predict the proclivities, or otherwise, of human psychology.

The idea of value judgment, emotions, and subjectivity all come into play in accessing the statistical probability of human psychology and patterns of voting behavior.

Namely, pollsters cannot always capture the fullest spectrum or continuum of subtleties and nuances in human psychology. The plasticity of the human brain, the epigenetic influences on its development and the brain’s interaction with the environment make for the complexity of the human brain. In this context, the human mind is such a great complex mystery to behold.

What this also means is that the efforts of pollster Ephson may, at worse, be elitist exercises in intellectual exuberance. Pollster Ephson may not be an independent statistical assessor after all.

This problem of lack of independence is further compounded by the fact that everything in Ghana is deeply politicized and heavily monetized through the strategic channels of political partisanship and of patronage.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

“His (Mac Manu) violence-breeding comments send a very bad signal to the electorate… Comments so far from the NPP for the past weeks have been very carefree which have sent a negative signal about them to the electorate as an intolerant militant party…

“The statements from the NPP including their flag bearer who should know better as December 7, 2016 is drawing nigh, have either been bigotry, violent or tension-breeding…

“Ghana is bigger than anyone and most Ghanaians will not like to support a party that plants a seed of violence in the atmosphere per their actions and comments…

“We hope NPP will call their members making such deviant comments to order and restrategise their campaign with respect to statements being made. Again, we hope NPP will put Ghana first rather than their party and clean their power-at-all-cost mentality if indeed they want to win this elections” (Nii Tettey Tetteh & Charles Kwadade, Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK).

Mac Manu’s stinking, awkward temerity to lie—a remarkable whopper, if you will—that Akufo-Addo accepted the outcome of the 2012 general elections is a slap in the face of our collective memory.

Why did Akufo-Addo and the NPP go to court in the first place, and what was the outcome of the petition trial?

Mac Manu’s mind is a criminal mind indeed, a mind warped to an extent beyond or incapable of corrective reversibility.

This kind of mind is a bold statement on a psychological profile steeped in the waywardness of political Ludditism.

Mac Manu is therefore an unrefined, clumsy first-order nation-wrecker not in words alone but in actionable potentiality as well. It is only matter of time before he bares his rotten teeth of anarchy.

With such a warped, corrupt mindset at the head of a political organization, one wonders what has become of patriotism, humanism, and intolerance.

This jihadist mindset is the very antithesis of progressive politics. Such a bearer of nihilistic political psychology should not be tolerated. A nihilistic political psychology does not bode well for any democracy.

POSTSCRIPT REFLECTIONS

“Countrymen, the task ahead is great indeed, and heavy is the responsibility; and yet it is a noble and glorious challenge—a challenge which calls for the courage to dream, the courage to believe, the courage to dare, the courage to do, the courage to envision, the courage to fight, the courage to work, the courage to achieve—to achieve the highest excellencies and the fullest greatness of man. Dare we ask for more in life?” (Kwame Nkrumah)

In Part 3, the concluding segment, we take up some critical perspectives of Nelson Mandela beyond what it means to focus on making sense out of these critical perspectives, in the broader context of resolving some of the major contradictions plaguing Ghana and the larger continent.

Unemployment, rising rates of crime, poor public services, poor sanitation, pollution of the environment, afforestation and desertification, falling standards in education, public safety and health issues, teenage pregnancy, malnutrition and hunger, rising disease burden, ethnocentrism and racism, religious bigotry, gender inequality, and public corruption are a few of the problems calling for our remediation focus and attention.

Mandela drew our attention to some of these problems and the necessity of coming together and solving them. Though the quotations we attribute to him in Part 3 are specific to South Africa of the Apartheid era, they do in fact demonstrate a symbolic generality and seamless continuum with the human condition.

On the contrary Ali Mazrui called it the African Condition, an unhelpful diagnostic label incapable of fully capturing the underlying rhythm and complexities of the human condition (see his book “The African Condition: A Political Diagnosis,” a collection of his 1979 Reith Lecture Series). In other words his diagnostic specificity tended to de-contextualize prognostic options for technocrats, thus belying the contributions of interactionism and situationism to the human experience.

Addressing these problems will require strategic and constructive dialogue and planning across political divides, using the best tools of modern science and technology, in the absence of the heightened alarmist political communication and militarized rhetoric we see in Ghana today, particularly at the dawn of the Fourth Republic. Perhaps we need to take a hard look at party politics! This militarized rhetoric is uncalled-for, inappropriate and both strategically and tactically premature.

We tend to think as if we have lost our sense of focus and the collective will to effectively contain our problems, this coming from excessive partisan political bickering and bitching about almost everything. We have allowed fake religious prophets and demagogues to replace pragmatic men and women of science and technology. We are in effect our own worst enemy!

A WORD OF ADVICE TO GHANAIANS

Until Ghanaians wake up one day from their sickening, ever-thickening slumberous coma and realize the fullest extent of their politicians robbing them in broad daylight, shortchanging them at every available opportunity, the future for them and for their unborn generations will remain as bleak as the suffocating depths of hell.

Then will they only realize that that future belongs exclusively to those political extortionists, to their families and cronies, and to their unborn generations. Our extorting duopoly and the numbing incompetence of those representing it in leadership positions are what Ghanaians should watch out for.

If President Mahama is incompetent then it is probably because Akufo-Addo has never demonstrated any model competence of leadership in the first. Significantly, though, the seemingly illogic of this statement enjoys a stark momentum of some visual truth in the comparative anatomy of the two men, which, hereby, points to the contrasting differential in their physical heights.

REFERENCES

Ghanaweb. “Accept Defeat Else There Will Be Chaos—NPP Warns Mahama.” October 29, 2016.

Diane Francis. (September 23, 2016). “Diane Francis: The Only Poll That Matters Is The One On U.S. Election Day—All Other Polls Are Concoctions.” Retrieved from http://business.financialpost.com/diane-francis/diane-francis-the-only-poll-that-matters-is-the-one-on-u-s-election-day-all-other-polls-are-concoctions

Jeremy Diamond. (October 20, 2016). “Donald Trump: 'I Will Totally Accept' Election Results 'If I Win.'” Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/20/politics/donald-trump-i-will-totally-accept-election-results-if-i-win/

Ghanaweb. “Do clean politics—Group to NPP.” October 31, 2016.

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis