AND the winner is . . .
Good gracious God! The nail-biting, cliff-hanger and knife-edged general elections and a hung-over runoff is finally OVER. Whether Nana Akuffo Addo conceded or accepted defeat or not, congratulated President Atta Mills in the right manner or not, NPP kingpins filed and withdrew a writ or not and Dr. Afari Gyan manned up to declare a winner as the constitution demands or not the dye was cast and the winners was. . . the people. I mean the electorate, the people who voted. Cheers.
As I monitored developments from a land, afar I was always optimistic about how far the Ghanaian voter had come. The days of sardine, milk and sugar politics are indeed over. Ghanaians have become politically savvy and astute as the people whose votes can no longer be bought. The twisted view of the western world that incumbent Africa leaders always manipulate the electorate to stay in power which Ghana shattered in 2000 has once a gain been sent to the gallows. Ghanaians have shown that democratic values as a way of bringing prosperity and development are alive, well and kicking in Sikaman.
I remember when President Kufuor won his first mandate in 2000, there were those said the victory was because Ghanaians were fed up with the Rawlings’ PNDC and NDC eras and needed change. They even contended that the NPP would have won even if they had put forward anybody from straw weight to super heavy weight in the party, it would still have been a no brainier.
There is an iota of truth in the assertion in view of the fact that when the people are yeaning for change much not stand in their way. However, what political pundits failed to recognize at the time was that the Ghanaian electorate was becoming savvy and discerning and needed a new direction.
They gave President Kufuor another term for him to fulfil some campaign promises since the first four years are usually short to achieve any significant milestone and the NPP big guns misconstrued the second mandate as stamp of approval for entrenchment. They therefore, misjudged the mood of the people and adopted a campaign strategy of fear and overconfidence. A strategy of fear because they tried to tie Professor Mills to former President Rawlings and asserted that by voting for Professor Mills and the NDC means voting for former President Rawlings and chaos. The people did not buy it. Nana Akuffo Addo’s “One Touch” slogan to me was so lame that whoever invented it should be sent to political obscurity for dropping the button. It depicted an imagery of a boxer who is behind on all judges score cards through round 10 and instead of finding a way to knock out the opponent resorts to show-boding to the end of the fight. What happened after the final round, your guess is as good as mine.
I know some people may be wondering if the electorates are that savvy as I am proclaiming does that excludes Ashanti and Volta electorates because that voted along party lines or tribal line and whatever lines they want to draw? The fact is that the two regions are the homelands of the two first presidential candidates of the two parties and therefore, stands to reason that people in those areas maybe to an extent emotionally attached to them. Even in the US where the election of Barrack Obama has changed politics and race relations and shattered the myth around the red and blue states argument, voters from the southern red states voted overwhelmingly for Senator McCain, the Republican candidate.
One thing I am sure of is that the Ghanaian voter has matured and saying a rousing AKWAABA to Professor Mills and will certainly use the thumb print again in four years to either extend his stay or welcome a new tenant.
By Francis Eshun-Baidoo