By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
We can now say with all certainty—and be brazen about it too—that the NPP’s Akufo-Addo is on an electioneering campaign of sorts to outrun himself. Or to outdo his running mate.
The promises are flying all over the place, making his campaign nothing but a Las Vegas type of casino game of chance. The game plan is simple: Keep promising Ghanaians everything in one breath, vigorously tossing the dice to see if Lady Luck will smile on him!
One promise here, another one there makes his campaign for the upcoming elections more ridiculous than the jamboree and kangaroo dance that precipitated his defeat in the 2008 polls.
It seems the NPP’s political campaign is based on nothing but mere promises, which isn’t inspiring enough. Too much of everything being promised Ghanaians is becoming really bad now as its flagbearer remains fixated on nothing but promise-making and hollow claims to outdo the incumbent. Akufo-Addo has indeed seen the moon and will soon offer it to Ghanaians.
I am reminded of a statement by the late Forces Sergeant-Major Isaac Frimpong (alias “Red Light) when he told a group of soldiers:
“Some of us have travelled ooh… I, for instance, I have travelled outside the world!”
Akufo-Addo seems to have travelled outside the world too. Unless anything happens to jolt him, he will definitely promise Ghanaians everything, including the moon that he has set his eyes on.
Probably, in his huge dream of becoming Ghana’s President at all costs—all die being dying—he knows no bounds; hence, this promise-making spree as a means to win voter confidence. Probably, in his overzealousness, he may end up overshooting the target. Such a politician scares me stiff!!
He is indeed over-speeding to create a Messianic air around himself, which is dangerous in politics. But he is unfazed because he has a precedent and is emboldened by the fact that Ghanaians haven’t yet been able to punish those who have already made huge promises to be in office only to end up fooling them.
By this time in his electioneering campaigns toward the December elections, he has made promises with scary implications. Anyone who knows the economic history of the country should rebuff such vain promises as nothing but a mere ploy to curry favour from the gullible segments of the electorate.
To make matters worse, he is just gushing out those promises without backing them with any policy initiative to tell us where funding of those promised projects and programmes would come from without any further harming of the economy.
Doubtless, our economy is no economy at all. It isn’t strong enough to support such ventures nor is there any indication that even if the NPP wins the elections, an Akufo-Addo government can revamp it within the period that those promises are to be fulfilled—if ever!
So, what is the justification for all these unprecedented promises that will lead to a further draining of the economy?
Economic growth doesn’t happen overnight nor is there any guarantee that the grand economic theories and designs on paper that the so-called intellectuals or economic gurus boast of will materialize to raise productivity under an Akufo-Addo government that will convert the Ghanaian economy into a tiger to support such ventures. And the NPP boasts of a host of such “intellectuals” and “economic gurus” whose only forte is their ability to preside over property-grabbing.
I am being snide here to say that Akufo-Addo is embarking on a whimsical rhetorical project in nothing but a desperate attempt to win voter sympathy. Take away these promises from his campaign, and it flops, BAM!
It is true that Ghanaians aren’t satisfied with the performance of the incumbent government at several levels, but they deserve better than all these promises coming from Akufo-Addo and his NPP team of hot air blowers.
If for nothing at all, they should pause to reconsider the value of promise-making and be guarded. Will they claim not to know how the current government is suffering the negative backlash of the promises that its members had made toward the 2008 elections but which can’t be fulfilled, not because they lacked the moral or political will to do so but because the funds are just not available for that purpose?
What hasn’t been done to source funds all to no avail? Or, at least, not to have depended on this weak economy to carry out all those projects promised the electorate?
Nothing has happened to boost our economy despite all measures taken by the various governments. Ghana has been an exporter of primary commodities over the years and hasn’t gained as much as is needed from those exports to stand on its feet. It has been at the mercy of the international donor community all these years, having not succeeded in implementing successfully the policies or conditionalities imposed on it by such foreign financial institutions as the International Monetary Funbd and its affiliate, the World Bank.
Our own so-called economists and development experts haven’t contributed anything concrete to solve the problem. Added to this lapse is the persistent flaws in our management of national affairs that places more emphasis on consumption than production.
This from-hand-to-mouth existence won’t grow our economy. It is troubling that our leaders are hamstrung and can’t change the situation for the better. That is why there is no silver lining on the horizon. I don’t expect this deplorable situation to change in the foreseeable future because there is no firm indication that anybody is prepared to do anything drastic (as the Malaysians and Singaporeans are known to have done) to effect any drastic change. The parameters are fixed.
Against this background, what is the justification for all these sweeping promises being made by Akufo-Addo and all others following suit (especially those in the incumbent government who are desperately trying to counteract Akufo-Addo’s version with their own)?
Promise-making cannot be ruled out of politics, especially in the Ghanaian context when there is so much emphasis on patronage as a political gimmick. But it is not the best political tool. At best, it is only a double-edged sword waiting to slash its maker’s throat.
Promise-making is akin to a Messianic posture, which is exactly what Akufo-Addo is portraying. Scary, isn’t it?
Even before the controversy surrounding his free education for senior high school students subsides, he has added another one on free health care for all Ghanaian children under 18 years.
Supporting him, Mahamudu Bawumia is also abroad, promising that an NPP government would establish 350 senior secondary schools and many more.
Just today, the horse in Akufo-Addo ran away. He has made yet another promise to build 200,000 houses every year for the benefit of Ghanaians. He said so at a meeting with members of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA).
Eih, Akufo-Addo!! Have you that much gut to tempt Ghanaians?
Indeed, I can infer from what is happening that unless someone reins in the run-away horse, Akufo-Addo and his team of NPP campaigners will bring heaven down to earth for Ghanaians to live in. I am highly skeptical of this manipulation of the situation and wish to tell Akufo-Addo that even though he has challenged Ghanaians to “take him to the cleaners” if he fails to make good those promises, he is taking matters to dizzying heights.
Unfortunately for him, it seems the Ghanaian voters will be guided by hindsight, having learned bitter lessons after the 2008 elections. The inability of ex-President Mills’s government to fulfill the electioneering campaign promises has taught them those lessons and they will be cautious in responding to any more promises being made toward the December elections.
More importantly, the Ghanaian has matured politically enough to sift the chaff from the grain. They know that just as excuses are for losers, so also are effusive promises to desperate politicians seeking their mandate to be in power for purposes other than serving their interests. Such people won’t easily budge to entreaties borne out by this kind of dog respect and sham humility.
Even Santa Claus (Father Christmas) is circumspect in how much he “promises” and delivers. The days of Messiahs are over. So also should those promising manna be shoved away without any hesitation.
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