Feature Article of Friday, 4 January 2013
Columnist: Thompson, Kofi
By Kofi Thompson
That the youth vote is now pivotal in winning power in Ghana is beyond doubt. However, let no political party in Ghana take the younger generation for granted.
What young people want above all is to live in a nation that is run efficiently and is devoid of high-level corruption.
In 2016 what will decide how most young people vote, will be how successful the government in power has been in ridding Ghana of high-level corruption, and in improving living conditions in Ghana - and how positively that has impacted their own lives.
For the information of the powers that be in the National Democratic Congress (NDC), what that means in practice is that young people want a Ghana governed by honest leaders and in which treated water, for example, is widely available nationwide in both urban and rural Ghana daily; a Ghana in which electricity is available almost everywhere and on a 24/7 basis; a nation in which they have access to well-designed and well-built affordable rental accommodation countrywide; jobs and micro-entrepreneurial opportunities abound nationwide; access to public-sector healthcare facilities that are well-equipped and staffed with the requisite healthcare personnel; access to good public schools; modern infrastructure; etc., etc.
One could go on and on. Hopefully the NDC gets the point. With respect, I say that as someone who first publicly pointed out the importance of the youth vote to them.
With the same humility and sense of patriotism that that advice was given freely, today one also wants them to know that it is daft to focus on funding pro-NDC youth groups as a means of cultivating the youth vote, going forward.
With respect, the youth vote cannot be bought by any political party in the 2016 elections - transforming Ghana is what will win their votes.
That is why any politician who thinks that going forward, after President Mahama is sworn into office to begin his tenure, clever PR can be a substitute for solid achievements on the ground - economic transformation that actually transforms millions of lives countrywide for the better - is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Instead of expending precious resources cultivating pro-NDC youth groups, let President Mahama and his new administration focus instead on making this a well-run country full of opportunity and devoid of high-level corruption, in which hard work is always rewarded, and whose citizens have a good quality of life as well as enjoy a relatively higher standard of living (one definitely better than that of today's).
If the New Patriotic Party's Supreme Court challenge to President Mahama's election fails, and he goes on to rule Ghana, that is what will get him and the NDC re-elected in December 2016.
They must not waste time on anything else but working hard to transform Ghana's economy. Simply put, it cannot be business as usual for the NDC: They have no time to waste - for their four years in office will soon come to an end.
An administration free of high-level corruption and a society in which Ghanaian families enjoy better living standards nationwide, ought to be their number one concern and ultimate goal.
Clever PR and endless spin-doctoring can never be substitutes for those, if they want to win the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. A word to the wise...
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