Feature Article of Sunday, 13 May 2012
Columnist: Bawa, Abdul Razak
How are you and your family, I hope you are fine. I hope this letter gets to you in good spirit.
Consistent with my upbringing, I intend to convey my views to you about the recent happenings in the on-going biometric voter’s registration exercise and the reckless behavior coming from leading members’ of your party, honestly, truthfully and with utmost respect to your person.
Also, consistent with the training of my parents and teachers, I will with the best of intentions and the greatest of respect, convey to you my feelings with high sense of obedience to you as a 67-year-old person, who has not just paid his dues as far as our democracy is concern, but has remained one of the surviving role-models and political colossus as far as my generation is concerned.
I say this, with every sense of responsibility and conscious of the fact that I am not a member of your party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and did not vote for you in the 2008 general elections. In fact I did not vote in the 2008 elections at all and I don’t intend to vote for you in the up-coming elections.
I am sure with this disclosure you may be tempted to dismiss my views. However, being the leader that you are, I also expect that you will at least read the letter before you pass your final judgment.
Sir, a good leader by my estimation and understanding is one who is ready to sacrifice himself so as to liberate his people. This he does without expecting anything in return. But you Sir, after many years of struggle to liberate our people from the claws of military despot, were so that today, you will be rewarded for taking part in that struggle.
Sir, I am saying this because anytime you or any member of your party gets the opportunity to tout your credentials and why Ghanaians should give you the mandate to lead them, they always take us back to the 70’s and 80’s, as well as 90’s when you were one of the leaders of the People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice that opposed the Acheampong regime as well as the ‘kume preko’ ‘sieme preko’ demonstrations, I could only remember what happened when the two aforementioned demonstrations took place because, I was old enough to understand what was going on around me.
Elections, as the former United States of America President Bill Clinton said, is about the future, not the past. This is one thing you are failing to grasp.
Sir, you will agree with me that ever since you were elected as the flagbearer of your party, you are yet to make one policy statement apart from your free Senior High Secondary School (SHS) one; something that is fast gaining the view that it is not feasible since you can’t cost it, you can’t tell us where to raise the funding from, and you are unable to tell us where the products of the free SHS policy go from there.
They are myriad of problems confronting your people which need urgent attention. In as much as free secondary Education is important, it is not the panacea to the problems facing the country.
Sir, I believe your party made a mistake when it chose you for the second time to represent them; it was more of a case of the devil you know being better than the Angel you don’t know. That is why they bought your idea of “ye nim wo fir tete”.and rubber stumped you, instead of a more affable and matured Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanteng’s. If only your party members had listened to ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor, Mills would have had problems or may be confronted with one now.
Sir, pardon my asking, but what was going through your mind when you made the ‘all-die-be-die’ infamous statement, don’t you think it was the most reckless statement you have ever made in your career as a politician? What pains me is that, that singular statement was going to live with your name, long after you are gone.
Sir, do you remember what you said at the 2012 Oppenheimer Lecture in London? May be you don’t so let me refresh your mind.
You told your audience: “Those of you who know me also know how deeply I believe that democratic values are the only way forward for all Africans – be they north or south. I was the candidate of the ruling party in Ghana who, in 2008, accepted defeat in the last presidential election, without demanding a recount and without spilling a single drop of blood, without seeking power-sharing or forcing a constitutional crisis, in an election which I lost by the narrowest of margins in the history of elections in Africa.”
“That margin was 0.46 percent, some 40,000 votes in a poll of some 9 million voters. I had spent the previous three decades of my life fighting against military dictatorship and for freedom and democracy. Democracy should not be subject to individual interpretation, and it should not be a negotiation between elites and stakeholders.
“I was not prepared to put my personal ambition before the principles that made me a politician in the first place. Democracy is best established when institutions are trusted, the rules of the game clear and political actors are prepared to win and lose,” you added.
I hope you will permit me to address you appropriately here as Nana, please in elections there is no middle line, is either you win or lose, the rest is of marginal interest. So this claim that you have been making after you lost the elections that you considered defeat after having lost by a narrow margin does not and cannot stand the test of reason and common sense.
You need to cross a certain line which you did not. If you had lost by a single vote, it would still have been considered a loss.
What about the part of not putting your personal ambitions before which principles, what was your legal team doing in court on a public holiday? Was it not to restrain the Electoral Commission from announcing the results? Please you may pretend to have a short memory, but Ghanaians don’t.
Nana, if you expect to get my vote which is very crucial if you want to win the impending elections, which for many observers is your last attempt, now that you have learnt that a narrow margin can win elections, please be consistent for once.
When you appeared on British Broadcasting Corporations (BBC) Hardtalk with Stephen Sucker and he asked you about how you intend to fund your free SHS programme, your answer was that ‘you will tell that to Ghanaians and when you were pushed further you said ‘it is being costed’.
Nana my problem here is that when you were to make a policy statement that was going to affect the lives of millions of Ghanaians you were evasive and dilly-dallying, but when it came to cheap talk, as for that one you can afford to tell the International Community and not Ghanaians.
Nana, I heard you when you were elected to lead the NPP into defeat say that, this election is going to be about programmes and not promises. Correct me if I am wrong, but all I have heard you say is all promises except your all-die-be-die statement.
The moron, the loose cannon and the war tasty Kennedy Agyepong has spoken, inciting Ashanti’s against other tribes, I am not surprised because the man had only taken over where you left off. In your footsteps I mean.
If your promise of not wanting to spill a blood to become President is to be taken serious, come out and condemn this infantile speech from an infantile mind if not a congenital goon or forever hold your peace.
Abdul Razak Bawa.