Feature Article of Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney
Critical News, 2nd December 2012
Sydney Casely-Hayford, firstname.lastname@example.org
At this same time next week, each one of us will know whether our prediction for the election is correct. We are voting on Friday 7th December and despite all the noise and fear of violence and war, we are forging ahead with our own checks and balances and traditional peace pipes that have smoked in Ghana for long. By next Sunday when I sit down to write another Critical piece, Ghana will either have a new President, elected an incumbent or deferred the decision for another 21 days to the end of December. I have no intention of sitting on the analyst’s fence this last week. If the election goes a second round, and I believe it will, the NDC will not win another term.
Here are my reasons, you can judge whether I have seen it coming accurately or not.
NDC Declares state of the Ghana economy as precarious and cash broke. An initial salvo from the NDC preparing the stage for IMF intervention and the beginnings of the macro economic policy as key strategy for Minister of Finance Dr. Kwabena Duffuor. The NPP took a bashing.
Nana Addo makes All Die be Die Statement. This comment damaged the NPP to a large extent as the NDC continues to bring it up at any opportunity. It still resonates but more with the NDC support base than the NPP faithful.
Government stirs controversy on Kosmos plan to sell stake in Jubilee field and eventually backs down. For a while this message of an anti-international-business-friendly Government, played in international circles until Kosmos and Government reached a deal. The message held sway in international business circles, but saw the NDC in a bad light.
Chairman of the NDC, Dr. Kwabena Adjei makes inflammatory statement about dealing with Chief Justice. Dents the image of the NDC as a law-abiding party.
Government flexes Criminal law and invokes fear and panic law to arrest some citizens. The NDC reacts to independent news publications and uses a Criminal Law to threaten some journalists, radio stations and a private citizen with arrest for creating fear and panic in the public eye.
Government hikes fuel prices by 30% at the beginning of the year and again at the end of 2011. A major 2008 campaign promise to reduce fuel turned the opposite and Government twice increased fuel prices and created consternation. Even though Ghanaians have adjusted to the increases, it is still an impact on general prices.
Alfred Agbesi Woyome Judgment Debt Scandal hits the media. The news traveled far and fast and captured media attention for many months. It is still raging, even with the appointment of a sole commissioner by the President and for as long as it has not come to a decisive conclusion it will continue to be an election issue.
Government finally backs down on STX Korea deal. A controversial deal that raged for months and was poorly judged by the then Vice President John Mahama, still continues to linger with voters.
Mohamoudu Bawumia is elected running mate for Nana Addo and holds conference on the State of the Ghana economy, creating doubt in Government macro economic success story. This strategic nomination countered the Duffuor-led IMF push and galvanized the Muslim elite.
Martin Amidu is sacked by Mills Government. Bad move by Government, created the impression of a corruption friendly executive and set Mr. Amidu off as a citizen vigilante, with several cases pending in court, even up to Supreme Court.
Government announces China Development Bank $3billion loan for infrastructure development. A long drawn out debate in Parliament neutralised what could have been a major financing success for the Government. The financing is yet to reflect in key infrastructure development.
President Mills’ health issues become paramount and he eventually dies. The former President’s health was touted as opposition propaganda for months if not years. When he finally succumbed to the cancer, it created a double-edged opportunity. Sympathy votes for Mahama and an opportunity to start a campaign on the back of religious fervor and a continuity program from the late President.
President Mahama is sworn in as President after Mills’ death. The smooth swearing was seen as a feather in the cap for the Government, but also pitched Ghana as a success story rather than make space for the NDC.
NDC campaign emphasizes President Mahama as a youthful option. Initial reaction was one of a possible chance to make a major dent and scared the NPP campaign team. However, as time has worn on, it has become difficult to gauge the impact of this message.
NDC opts put of IEA Presidential debates. The Koku Anyidoho-led communication team, playing on President Mills’ handicap, creates the impression that the IEA debates are not relevant but President Mahama’s return to IEA Presidential debate props up his case, yet still does not impact where it matters most; with the non-urban communities. The IEA Presidential debate ends in no clear leader.
NPP fires first salvo in campaign with free SHS program. The flagship campaign statement is still raging and posing a huge challenge for the NDC party.
Overall economic tightness and cost of living seen as high by citizens. The cost of living in Ghana has gone up significantly and is posing many problems for the Government.
Parliament debates controversy surrounding 45 new districts. The unnecessary debacle in Parliament ended in the Courts and finally when it was resolved is unclear who benefits from this increase in Parliamentary constituencies.
Cedi depreciation in 2012 is calculated as 16% and Central bank pushes measures to roll back the weakening currency. A major dent was created in the NDC macro-economy success story and for several months as the cedi depreciated, it created a knee jerk response from the Bank of Ghana. Private business is still wary of Government moves and doubt still resonates in the forex peddling community.
Ghana Union of Traders mount strike in Accra. Several small but impact protests still dog Government’s commitment to implement the retail trade law for local members and traders at large.
Single Spine policy challenges government as it comes up against the TUC. This issue continues to rage and even though the NDC is touting it as a success in their campaigns, staff is still protesting late payments.
Nana Konadu announces new NDP party. The NDP for a moment, threatened to derail the NDC plans and they might still have some part to play, especially in the Volta Region.
Jerry Rawlings meets with Nana Addo in a peace message. The two traditional opposites met, shook hands and joked. A hair-raising moment for the NDC.
The NDC takes on pastor Mensa Otabil of Central Gospel Church, the Presbyterians and other Christian bodies, in an unnecessary media exchange that paints them as anti-Christian. This faux pas, could backfire with the youth who seek solace from Charismatic Churches as a social and religious prop.
Youth Unemployment is still a major thorn in the side of the Government.
JJ attends NDC Congress but fails to make definitive commitment to their cause. JJ is still an unknown element in the voting, but with less than 6 days to go, it is clear he will not join the NDC campaign trail. He might still make a “boom” or two before the day.
But lets fast forward with a history book, “War and Peace”, here is the way the Maoists figured they could solve the challenge of winning over the minds of the people. “We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun”. This is what the NDC and NPP parties have both signed for. Despite what the leaders pledge and say on the grand platforms in public, their foot soldiers carry on with the agenda, fuelled by restless fanatics, who really believe that to stand and do nothing while your competitor carries out their terrorism shows cowardice and will cost you the election. The fact that our leaders still choose to describe governance as “winning power” when referring to becoming the new government, is a clear indication of how they see and plan to govern the country. For our politicians, governance is power and power connotes domination.
We need a leader in this country who will determine our future through wealth enhancement and economic development. I don’t care much for the platitudes and fault finding we have to listen to every four years. It is time for us to develop the platform we have chosen and build our democracy with economic strength and equal opportunity, anchored by the rule of law.
Next year on March 6th 2013, will be nearly 170 years since the British put forward the Bond of 1844 to the people of this country. Our ancestors, through the Aborigines Rights Protection Society did not fight for nothing to bring us freedom from a colonial empire that saw the black person as inferior and incapable of achieving the same standards as white people.
Take a leaf from Kobina Sekyi, who was easily the most vociferous critic against accepting wholesale western norms in our society. He did not deny that material development or modernization was a necessary part of our progress; on the contrary he encouraged investment from foreign sources, but there was a difference. Between civilization and progress, Kobina Sekyi urged inner development. To actualize the particular of our society, without which all attempts to try and catch up with foreign models would lead to frustration and disintegration. We have so much to do in this country I cannot understand why those who put themselves up for leadership are so blinkard (thanks Kobina for this play) to the solutions.
Today, all the fighting for self-governance by our Founders is more true than ever. Whoever wins this election, the pressure is on. They must fix our woes.
Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!