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Feature Article of Friday, 9 November 2012

Columnist: The Monk

Help, I can't decide what Presidential Candidate I like

A week or so ago I summoned the courage to watch the Ghana presidential debate and I came away with several inconclusive conclusions.

First, I like current president John Mahama as a person. I even liked a lot of what he said and how he said it. He seemed gentle and convincing, and the kind of person I would like to see represent my country overseas. He was also very thoughtful in his responses. The problem is I don’t like his party. Nothing about the NDC appeals to me. Most of the party members, including the party’s now-disgruntled founder, are reckless people and too crude (uncultured) for my liking. Already Mahama has surrounded himself with that lot and they are bound to multiple like flies around him should he stay in power. Ghana deserves better.

Nana Akuffo Addo of the NPP I found to be quite arrogant, in juxtaposition to John Kuffuor, who had a gentle, humble demeanor. Addo seemed very sure of himself, and almost disrespectful in the way he addressed questions. It’s not confidence I see, as I know some would like you to believe. It’s foolish pride. His responses were too rehearsed and lacking feeling and emotion. I was not convinced by a lot of what he said and I don’t believe he can connect with the average Ghanaian. There’s something elitist about Akuffo Addo that makes me feel that he’s not going to be an inclusive, open-minded leader. BuT, once again, the problem is I do like the NPP as a party and what its founders stood for. Adu Boahen was a real political hero. He was an honorable man who lived and died in absolute service to country. I would like to see his party back in power, but with a less flagrant flagbearer.

The CPP’s Abu Sakara is a fine man. He reminds me of my father in terms of his passion and eloquence. But his ideas, I found to be stale and archaic. When Sakara talked about broadening our economic base, a lot of what he espoused related back to the extraction industry, for which Ghana is already too dependent on. I was hoping he would talk about financial services and hi-technology. We don’t need any more new subsistence crops to grow in Ghana. We have enough.

PNC’s Hassan Ayariga is a fresh face -- new blood in our political system. I’ve always said that Ghana needs a new breed of politicians, and not the same old tired leaders we recycle among the two main political parties. He also seems very passionate about his beliefs, which he dispensed with a healthy dose of humor. A president that can laugh at himself is unique in Africa. Most African leaders can barely crack a smile. But for all his sense of humor, Ayariga lacks common sense ideas. I cannot in good conscience vote for a man who is opposed to free education because he thinks it will create too many “avoidable graduates.” Education in itself has value, Mr. Ayariga. A population of unemployed educated masses is better than a population of unemployed illiterates.

So, here you have it. In my mind my choice is between the good, the bad, the ugly and the dummy. It’s an unfortunate dilemma and if I can’t resolve it soon enough, I’ll stay home on voting day and drink akpeteshie to sleep.

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