What campaigning for Election 2016 reveals (Part II)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

The intricacies of the campaigns themselves speak volumes, especially when we consider how localities are chosen for Akufo-Addo’s visits and the messages that he delivers there. So far, there is so much sentimentalism and recourse to rabble-rousing that don’t add any value to Akufo-Addo. Added to that pitfall is the unceasing emphasis placed on wild promises and playing to the gallery (especially in terms of the restoration of allowances for trainee nurses and teachers).

It is clear that Akufo-Addo and his team are operating in a panic mode, which is unsuitable for the moment. What has become of the eye-popping promise of a free senior secondary school education that precipitated Akufo-Addo’s campaign stunts at Election 2012? Deflated by the accomplishments of President Mahama for that angle to be avoided now? What damage doesn’t this do to Akufo-Addo, especially now that he has found a new ground of “One village, one factory” or “One village, one dam”? Such knee-jerk promises are damaging. The inability of the party to come out with its manifesto is a major blow at this point. Hiding behind spurious accusations that the NDC has been stealing their ideas and misapplying them only worsen their credibility problems. All the flip-flopping going on erodes public confidence in Akufo-Addo, not to talk about the misplaced attention being given to condemning the NDC’s manifesto. No matter how the NPP does negative politics with this issue, the fact remains that the NDC is poles ahead of it in selling itself on the basis of its manifesto. President Mahama proudly tells Ghanaians what he has done and will do if re-elected (as the government’s “Green Book” captures it all, only to be reinforced by the manifesto).

No grandstanding on the basis of the country’s debt problem will win any voter support. Ghanaians are enlightened enough to know that the money borrowed from all sources has been used to provide facilities that they can point to, even if the loopholes in the system have allowed some unscrupulous characters to profit from transactions. If the loans were embezzled, how could the monumental projects spring up? Evidence is eye-popping that the government has built facilities all over the country for which it is proudly approaching the electorate for their mandate. What is the NPP’s own strength here? Not Akufo-Addo’s reference to what Kufuor did. Kufuor is not a contestant. Akufo-Addo is. How can he persuade Ghanaians that when he held public office, he provided what John Mahama is incapable of providing for which he must be given the nod and Mahama rejected at the polls!! What exactly has Akufo-Addo up his sleeves to outdo the Lion of Gonja? No one is told by the NPP because there is nothing to that effect. The only message from the NPP in response to the NDC’s strong showing is that it is led by an “incompetent” John Mahama or that there is too much corruption under his watch, which is itself a double-edged sword, cutting Akufo-Addo’s throat more deeply than it does that of Mahama. Kufuor’s take on corruption in Ghana and the practical happenings in the portfolios held under him by Akufo-Addo stand tall for notice. No need to expatiate. Another counter-productive electoral campaign move by Akufo-Addo. Does he drink water from the facilities provided by President Mahama when he visits his Akyim Abuakwa area at all?

More annoyingly, the NPP insists that it can do better, even when it hasn’t been able to show how to do so. It’s all about insults as happened in previous elections that doomed Akufo-Addo. So, despite all the previous losses, hasn’t Akufo-Addo learnt any useful lesson with which to improve his politicking for Election 2016? Counting on the sentiments of Ghanaians complaining about hardships won’t put him in the Flagstaff House. Electoral victory by default is no more part of the 21st century politics. Neither will a plea for Ghanaians to try him too as a President be heeded. Was Akufo-Addo not tried and tested in Kufuor’s government when he was given two vital portfolios (Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department and Foreign Affairs) only to emerge as a failure? What is new about him? Probably, his destruction of the NPP is his strength on the basis of which Ghanaians must make him their President. Alarm!! There is a lot more wrong with the way NPP camp is approaching Election 2016 that will take volumes to explain, but not in this opinion piece. It is clear, however, from what has ensued from that camp that all is not well. What about the continued suspension of local organizers in many parts of the country (Wa, Suame in Kumasi, Tatale in the Northern Region, etc.)? How about the ineffective leadership being provided by a disorganized Acting National Chair (Fraudie Blay) and an immature Acting General Secretary (John Boadu) while others like Nana Obiri Boahen, Kennedy Agyapong, etc. continue to make utterances that damage Akufo-Addo’s interests? Or the NPP’s lackeys in the mass media that don’t have any credibility? Groups of women and entertainment personalities fronting for him aren’t making the expected impact. Something is seriously wrong with all this stage-managing. It is weird. How about the fixation on surrogates in Christendom or some wayward Muslim clerics spreading messages of doom if Akufo-Addo doesn’t win Election 2016? (Rev. Owusu Bempah has just said that the EC Chair will die if President Mahama is declared the winner of Election 2016). Does Akufo-Addo support such nonsense and hope that the voters will agree with him? For him, the real ingredient with which to woo the voters has been missing all these years. He lacks the ability to connect with voters. Beyond that lapse, he cannot take advantage of the “kairotic” moment to react to issues that can potentially redound to his political quests. That’s why he hasn’t reacted to the damaging utterances by those in his camp that boomerang to doom him. A reasonable politician will come out openly to state his mind on those inflammatory utterances to come across as trustworthy and ready for the highest office of the land. Unfortunately, Akufo-Addo hasn’t done so, which makes me wonder whether he places those making such ignominious utterances above himself or whether he seeks any advantage in such utterances. Such a lost soul can’t even sell himself. As if often said, a good thing sells itself. Not for Akufo-Addo. How is he selling himself? As Ghana’s Messiah? With what asset to do so? Folks, you can see the drift of my analysis. The race for the Flagstaff House is not for the swiftest (in terms of negative propaganda against the reality that is in front of the people’s eyes) or those trusting their chariots and horses (of intimidation, lying, and capriciousness). It is for those who have been tested and challenged enough to put the resources of the country to good use for the citizens to see how governance can improve living standards. Even if all existential problems aren’t solved within four years of the President’s tenure, there is enough to prove that such a President has done a lot to warrant his tenure being extended. (DIGRESSION: From the blind side, we acknowledge suggestions made by former President Kufuor that the tenure of the President be extended beyond 4 years so the President can do better than what has happened so far. If so, why should the NPP pin President Mahama down to his 4 years in office as the basis for spreading falsehood about his performance? Of course, the duration of tenure doesn’t really matter but what the President can use the resources of the country to achieve. President Mahama has done what he could within the period, making him a replica of the Great Osagyefo. No country can develop without infrastructure, which is the basis for all that he has done so far and will do when retained. And he will be retained!!). Only those who have reached that level can confidently approach the people for their mandate and show them the evidence they need to make their electoral decisions. Those who don’t have anything to recommend them will appeal to sentiments and urge the electorate to TRY them. Unfortunately, governance in this 21st century is not about trial-and-error experiments. It is about doing and doing! On that score, we note that the manner in which the NDC is conducting its campaigns as against what the NPP is doing is clear. We hope that the electorate will see things for themselves and choose which way to go. As of now, the NPP isn’t at par with the NDC. Unless it ups its game, it will lose the polls even before voting day, which will be good for Ghana. My opinions, not yours. I shall return… • E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com • Join me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mjkbokor to continue the conversation.

Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.