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Feature Article of Thursday, 6 December 2012

Columnist: Seshie-Vanderpuije, Alex

Barring an Earthquake, Mahama would be retained

Barring an Earthquake, President Mahama and the NDC would be retained In Office


As the news cycle begins to analyse voters’ intentions and the public mood on Friday’s general elections, we can see that the campaigns for the presidential and the parliamentary elections have undeniably electrified the country. Analysis from all sides of the political divide and evidence from the campaign trail unanimously conclude that President Mahama and the National Democratic Party (NDC) have totally outperformed their opponents; and that barring an earthquake, the President and his party would be retained in office.


The analysis lies in the campaign strategies adopted by the president and his handlers against the main opposition party, the NPP. In every respect, President Mahama’s leadership quality which is connected with the late president John Evans Atta Mills’ leadership was driven by a fundamental belief in the Better Ghana Agenda. What is good about this campaign strategy is that the president and his campaign team pitched firmly the party’s 2012 manifesto in advancing the better Ghana Agenda towards the political middle, widely expected to deliver the crucial votes to win the 2012 elections.
I have been more struck at how firmly the NDC campaign team continue to pitch the 2012 campaign towards their manifesto pledges in the face of all adversities from the main opposition party, the NPP. The NDC campaign plans are about innovation, improvements in education, health, and infrastructure and job creation- all about the future. And solid majority of the electorates seem to understand and support these manifesto pledges.
On the other hand, the NPP flag bearer, Nana Akufo Addo’s arrogant and bullish attitude did not resonate with the electorates. He has not been candid with the electorates about his past; especially, his continued silence on the revelations of his brief time at the prestigious Oxford University in the UK. The many unanswered questions about his use of illicit drug substances in the past and his continue relationship with ex drug convicts. All these seem to have affected his image as someone who can be trusted with the high office which he desperately seeks to occupy.


The NPP dull campaign strategy has been dominated by his heavily flawed vision of providing free SHS to students. Analysts and most Ghanaians see this flagship Manifesto promise for reviving the country’s educational system as a flawed vision. The free SHS as it appears is the sole campaign strategy upon which the NPP continue to bank their political hope on. For most part of his campaign, the rhetorical choice of the use of inflammatory and intemperate languages which is probably rooted in the Danquah/Busia tradition alienated him from the peace loving and discerning Ghanaian electorates.

The attempt to play the ethnicity card and more recently the use of influential church leaders to brand the NDC as an anti-Christian party were the most outrageous and suicidal campaign mission a political party ever embarked upon in a multi faith society. This type of anti-Christian political strategy has been used in the past against the Democratic Party in the US at huge political cost to the Republican Party. The attempt to tag the late President Atta Mills and later his successor President John Mahama as corrupt individuals when there is no evidence to that effect and the mud slung has not resonate with the electorates.
I anticipated the above positions to lose Nana Akufo Addo and the NPP a lot of votes on the liberal side of the electorates on election day. One fault I can lay at the feet of Nana Akufo Addo is not being his own self. He seems to be dominated by likes of Gabby Asare Otchere of the one man think tank, the Danquah Institute and Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, the NPP Party chairman whose political strategies are heavily flawed visions of reviving the Ghanaian economy, with plans that remain overwhelmingly mired in an out-dated big government mentality, and which spectacularly failed to include a coherent strategy for moving Ghana forward.
Most of the time, Nana Akufo Addo spoke technocrat language that most Ghanaians simply do not speak or understand. He seems to rattle off his party’s manifesto plans and schemes that few people can digest. He continues, desperately, to draw his political promises in the sand.- building hostels for kayayes, establishing zongo funds, scrapping SADA in favour NDA, etc, etc.
Indeed, if you believe the pro NPP news media reporting, it's fairly clear that Nana Akufo Addo and the NPP are in another world. The way they organized their politicking is not something that will be done by any successful campaign going forward.
Meanwhile, President Mahama’s clear vision of standing up to the NPP terrorising and threats to national security seems to have tapped the national mood just about right. It acknowledges that times are hard, but the mood of the country is a little better now under His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama than it would be under NPP. The president’s his demeanour reflected that.
The NDC 2012 campaign has just been an upbeat enough within the last six months after the demise of His Excellency President John Evans Atta Mills. I thought and believe that the campaign has certainly been delivered with some inspirations and excitement. The odd thing about President Mahama and the NDC campaign strategy is how non-confrontational it has been all along.
Yes, the rules of political campaign in Ghana have changed. In a single generation, technology has transformed our nation’s politicking, the way we live, work and does business.
I know that if things stay as they are, then tomorrow, President John Mahama supported by the NDC would be in office.

Alex Seshie-Vanderpuije
Public Relations Officer
NDC UK & Ireland Chapter

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