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Opinions Thu, 9 Jan 2014

Kyerematen Would Deliver Presidency in 2016!

“ A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth and honour, so that he wanted nothing for his soule of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eate thereof, but a stranger eateth it: This is vanitie, and it is an evill disease.” (Ecclesiates 6:2, King James Version, 1611 Edition)

Rev. Dag Heward-Mills’s stentorian peroration on December 31, 2013, which decried the extravagances of Ghana’s leadership, was both opportune and providential. The head pastor of Lighthouse Chapel, based in Ghana’s capital of Accra, reportedly remarked, “Ghana is not being ruled by what is good for the country. A lot of things are done in Ghana not because it is good for Ghana but because of somebody’s love for money.” Without a doubt, a cabal of gluttonous men with excessive gustatory propensities has stunted Ghana’s development and growth to the point where near-irreversible damage has been done to the nation’s economy.

I was stunned to learn recently that hordes of young men and women, whenever they took a bath after each day of inglorious labor, unwittingly exposed their genitals to passing motorists in the Accra–Tema Metropolis. Without the simplest of shacks to protect them from the elements, these helpless citizens are at the mercy of rapists, thugs, and muggers, yet our politicians live in luxurious houses and drive around in the most expensive sport utility vehicles, which they, incongruously, drive on decrepit roads.

Indiscipline is so rife in government circles, and even in our hospitals, that a man with a mild headache who makes his way to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, the nation’s flagship health care facility, has no assurance that he will return home at the end of his routine visit. A good friend of mine who, in the early 2000s, became afflicted with pericarditis had to endure crippling anxiety and ambulatory difficulties for months before his condition was diagnosed in the United States. Although he had visited Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for months prior to his trip to the United States, no doctors in that hospital were able to find the cause of his illness. To his utmost surprise, the U.S.-based cardiologist who attended to him placed him on nothing more than over-the-counter Ibuprofen, which led to his full recovery in less than two weeks!

A trusted U.S.-based friend who visited Ghana two months ago came back with some rather disheartening news. While making one of his rounds in the City of Accra, he met with a member of parliament who told him matter-of-factly, “No Ghanaian politician or lawmaker cares about the plight of the ordinary man and woman. You can take my statement to the bank.” Of course, the lawmaker’s proclamation might sound like a hyperbole, but the truth is that ordinary Ghanaians have not experienced any notable improvements in their living conditions the last few years. Sadly, the proletarian ideals associated with a burgeoning democracy remain a mirage for the majority of Ghanaians.

That John Mahama is superintending a government that has not defined itself in any positive way is as frightening as it is demoralizing. The Mahama administration, justifiably, had attributed the post-Election 2012 petition by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to its inability to discharge its duties to the good people of Ghana, but that veil of uncertainty was pulled back on August 29, 2013, so how long will the ruling party continue to make excuses for its ineffectiveness at the helm of state affairs? The current leadership of the ruling party certainly has no clue about what good governance entails. Before the reader assumes that I am a card-carrying member of the NPP, let me make it clear that I owe allegiance to no political party in Ghana, as my goal has always been to critically assess the leadership quagmire in Ghana and, like other alarmed Ghanaians, offer suggestions to reverse the leadership rot in the country.

Ghana’s leadership crisis can be blamed on John Mahama’s placing the wrong people in office, as these men and women have no passion for improving the lives of their fellow citizens. Rather, these voracious custodians of state assets pilfer our meager resources, while their fellow citizens go without life’s necessities. Corruption is so rife in the Mahama administration, you could smell it around government offices like roasting coffee floating out into the still, stale air. Occupying important offices are obese waddling functionaries who need to be “milked” to keep them alive. Does the reader remember the I-will-not-leave-office-until-I-make-at-least-a-million-dollars saga?

Well, the only way to reverse this ignominious state of affairs is to elect Alan Kyerematen, a man who both fears God and cares about his fellow man, president in 2016. In fact, those Ghanaians blessed with heightened religious proclivities know that God is the one who crowns a man king, and Alan Kyerematen definitely has a sacerdotal mandate to lead the good people of Ghana.

Now, let me explain my reasons for picking Kyerematen as the right candidate to steer Ghana out of its labyrinthine vestibules of penury and into a clear path of prosperity. In addition to his predestined mandate to lead Ghanaians, Kyerematen has consanguineous ties to important households within the Akan ethnic group. Because he is half-Asante and half-Fante, Kyerematen is popular among members of both Akan sub-groups, his influence among the Asantes being the more decisive of the two. For example, during the NPP primaries in 2007, Kyerematen gave Akufo-Addo the scare of his life, when the former garnered enough votes to push the contest to a second round. In fact, it took a consensus for Akufo-Addo to lead the party in Election 2008. Although Kyerematen did not, surprisingly, obtain as many votes in the August 2010 intra-party presidential primaries as his backers and supporters had hoped, he still garnered a respectable 20-percent of the total votes cast, with the remaining three candidates – Dr. Frimpong-Boateng, Mr. Osei and Mr. Kodua – garnering a paltry combined total of 1-percent of all votes cast. In other words, Kyerematen is a tower of strength in the NPP.

Kyerematen remains the most viable NPP candidate for Election 2016, because he will bring in the largest number of votes from the Ashanti Region, a region that the NPP needs more than any other to win a national election. While all the other regions are important, the Ashanti Region delivers the most votes in an election, due to its large and diverse population, so the NPP must target as many votes as possible in the Asantehene’s domain.

Another reason Kyerematen will provide more votes than any other NPP candidate in Election 2016 is because of the influence of former president John Kufuor. Kufuor left office with a very high approval rating, having left the economy in a better shape than he had inherited it in 2001. Moreover, Kufuor’s record as the only president under whose eight-year reign Ghana did not have a single political prisoner has endeared him to Ghanaians and the international community alike, with the compendium of foreign invitations he receives ad infinitum to lecture on democracy a testament to this goodwill. For a man who accentuated the constitutionally guaranteed tenet of freedom of speech, promoted the establishment of small businesses, and refused to throw his enemies in jail, Kufuor remains a principal character in the political affairs of the nation. With Kyerematen reportedly a Kufuor protégé, the NPP can be assured of Kufuor’s unadulterated attention to a Kyerematen push for the presidency in 2016.

Yet another reason why Kyerematen will be NPP’s best choice for Election 2016 is because Kyerematen has what it takes to divide Fantes’ allegiance to the NDC, because Kyerematen is also part of that Akan sub-group. Kyerematen should be able to bring in far more votes from the Central, Western, Brong-Ahafo, Greater-Accra, and Eastern Regions in Election 2016 than any other well-known NPP member – and the NPP should take full advantage of this situation.

I do not postulate that the regions not mentioned in the preceding paragraph are not important. I postulate that those other regions may not bring in large numbers of votes for the NPP, so the focus should be where the NPP has the best chances for victory. Changing the tenor slightly, the NPP ought to discard the stereotype that the Volta Region remains an impervious stronghold of the ruling NDC: the NPP can make inroads in that region, too, but it will require a concerted effort on the part of the NPP to bring a possible victory in the Volta Region to fruition. Because John Kufuor invested more of the nation’s resources in the Volta Region in eight years than Jerry Rawlings did in twenty-plus years, Kufuor must have a leading role in any electioneering efforts to and in that region: he ought to remind the good people of the Volta Region about his accomplishments in the region while president. Getting Kufuor to spearhead electioneering efforts to the Volta Region would provide a tremendous boost to a Kyerematen push for president in 2016.

John Mahama’s affirmation as the nation’s lawfully elected president in the aftermath of the post-Election 2012 petition by the NPP would only strengthen his political pillars in many Ghanaian communities, which is why the NPP must approach its 2016 presidential campaign for Flagstaff House with all the seriousness that it deserves. The Mahama administration has done very little for the country, despite having at its disposal several revenue sources: oil, gold, cocoa, timber, and bauxite. Ghanaians are yearning for a true leader, in the mold of Kwame Nkrumah, who will put nation first, fight corruption with every unit of energy in his body, and work selflessly to sustain the nation’s peace and tranquility. John Mahama is yet to show that he has the qualities of such a leader, which means that a Kyerematen run for the presidency should give hope to the nation’s largest opposition party that it has the right man to defeat Mahama in December 2016. But, far more than that, a Kyerematen presidency would mean hope for the suffering people of Ghana!

© The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, is a Doctoral Candidate who also serves as an instructor in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society at George Mason University. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the same university. He is a member of the National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration in the U.S.A. He may be followed on Twitter: @DanielKPryce. He invites the reader to join the pressure group “Good Governance in Ghana” on Facebook.com, which he superintends. “Good Governance in Ghana” is a group that emphasizes the preservation of democracy, justice, equity, and law and order in Ghana. He can be reached at dpryce@cox.net.

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.