Feature Article of Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Columnist: Twumasi, Patrick
Ghana goes to the polls every four years, and in less than five months, long queues would be seen in the over umpteen thousands of polling stations across the country. This would start from 7 o’clock am to 5 o’clock pm, the mission, to change or maintain a government. Is it a change or containment that is relevant or it is just time for the Ghanaian to spend some time outside the home? Again, could it be considered as just another event about to take place, but remember the realities are there for us all to face.
The fourth year in the term of any elected political party according to the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana is an election year. Hence, the rising emotions, euphoria and tension across the country, which has characterized our elections over the period, therefore, there is nothing new.
As Ghana hits the run way of political rallies and sometimes over elated campaigns, with the main focus on the Flagstaff House, we should not turn blind eyes to the slippery slopes and the weak edges. These can easily break and cause lots of teeth gnashing.
Ghana is on the road again to pick leaders for the Legislature and the Executive. There has been a change in the political sitting arrangement in the country. At the last elections, the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) was in opposition - the then largest opposition political party - whiles the current opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) was the executive. Time changes fast and it brings a lot of scenes. Currently the score of political triumph at the poll between these two major political parties in Ghana stands at 3:3 draw. The then Progress Party (PP), now NPP won their first democratic election in 1969. This came out from a stiff competition with the National Alliance of Liberals (NAL). Then upon the return to multi-party democracy in Ghana, which ushered in the 1992 Constitution, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) again, won two straight four year terms-2000 to 2004 and 2004 to 2008. However, the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) now National Democratic Congress (NDC), also won the first elections which were held under the 1992 Constitution- 1992 to 1996 and 1996 to 2000. Hence, whichever political party that wins the forth coming elections would go up 4:3 against the other. This would constitute a win for any of them and ultimately Ghana as a nation. Hard work pays and breaks no bone, therefore, let the better party win.
There are break away political parties which normally melt into the background after polls. It is gradually becoming a culture on the nation’s political landscape, or a characteristic of election years’ in Ghana. This phenomenon has emerged again. This time it is the National Democratic Party (NDP). Most often than not, the leading members of these break away parties happens to be the disgruntled former executives of a major political party. In modern times the NDC is about to suffer this vote splitting agenda for the third time running. During the run up to the 2000 general elections a faction broke away to form the National Reform Party (NRP), which to some extent affected the winning fortunes of the National Democratic Congress. Again, in the run up to the 2008 elections there was the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), fortunately this time round NDC pulled through successfully. In an election year 2012, it is the National Democratic Party (NDP). This is under the Fourth Republic.
Despite the challenges these break away factions has confronted the NDC with, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has had their fair share too. In the Third Republic the then Progress Party (PP) going into an election saw a break as well which was under the leadership of Paa Willie who is said to have lost at the Flag bearership primary of the PP to the late Victor Owusu. Indeed, this affected the Progress Party badly at the polls. This culminated in the victory of the late Dr. Hilla Liman, which ushered in the Third Republic. Again, in 2008, after a tightly contested Presidential primary of the NPP involving Seventeen aspirants, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, though could not win an outright majority was widely confirmed. But, another aspirant who was tipped to triumph, John Kwadwo Alan Kyeremanteng (Alan Cash) broke away and almost formed a political party, which to a large extent weakened the NPP at the 2008 general elections. Do you realize the common differences between these power hungry political parties? Again, do you think in your personal estimation these parties learn from their mistakes at all?
In the early 1940s, the leading political party, United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) suffered same from her General-Secretary then Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The late Dr. Nkrumah left the UGCC to form the Convention People Party (CPP) in 1949 and won elections later on as the first President. Recently, the 2008 Presidential Candidate of the CPP, Dr. Paa Kwasi Nduom has also broke ranks with the party to form the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) in an election year. Does this help in any way the dwindling votes of the CPP? And what is the possibility or the chances of this and other break away parties in the forthcoming general elections?
As the political rallies and campaigns start to gather momentum, it will get interesting as well with the emergence of the infamous judgment debts weighing heavily on the public purse. From Mr. Woyome, Africa Automobile Limited to Construction Pioneers (CP) and the unending list of this needless dole out of public money, without any reservation or what so ever. The blame game players will lace their boots and trot on to the field for the turf war match of words of who caused what, as well as how much has been paid to whom. In a land where the minute loss of sight of the President is interpreted as demise; one can expect nothing less in the upcoming elections. At the last elections it was said that, the gold reserve of the country at the Bank of Ghana (BoG) had been sold. Are we going to be told that, the Bankers Bank edifies has this time round been traded for what?
If you are out and about in parts of the country be a little observant. You will be amazed the development projects, such as roads progressing earnestly. Can you imagine, if this is how infrastructural development is carried out in Ghana, how our dear nation will turn out to be? This last minute face makeup or face saving applies to all the political parties. But, are Ghanaians going to do ethics of competence; judgment by evidence presented in work and character, during voting? A political party abrogates a contract for whatever reason best known to it only for the country to pay huge contract abrogation fee, under another. Think about it intensely?
While trying to compose this piece, there was a strike which experience was so intense that nothing could break the cloud of silence that it brought along in its wake. The President, H.E. Prof. John Evans Atta Mills had travel to the land of our silent fathers from the 37 Military Hospital nicodamosly. This invariably changes the course of the political rally dais arrangement. Now the onus is the organization of an emergency delegate’s congress to elect a new Flag bearer for the National Democratic Congress. Ghana got on the road again to another general election, but with a jerk. This, though unfortunate and sad, politicians should not larch on it for cheap political points. The sudden passing of the President should not provide a hymn sheet from which all manner of ignorant chorus will be sung from. A matured mind pays no attention to fleeting issues, such as the home call of another. For the reason that, each human being born of man or woman will surely taste one day the icy cake of death, whether by desire or not. There are two realities in this life. No man ever saw his or her self being born, nor will see the body laid to rest. One need to be alive to learn both how he or she came to this world and by what means the fellow will depart. Let the eternal silence of the Professor help us all inculcate some lessons.
Another daunting task which has cost implication is the already erected billboards with the pictures of the late President and aspiring Members of Parliament. Across the country there are these advertisements. With the death of the former flag bearer, a new substantive Presidential Candidate would require fresh commercials. Again, the campaign songs and other items meant for the forthcoming general elections which the late President’s picture or image is embossed or is associated with has to be replaced. Nonetheless, time is not on their side. Unfortunately, their main opponents are covering every edge of the blade of grass and nuke and cranny of the country. Indeed the demise of Prof. Atta Mills has brought with it a pack of mix taste of tears and water.
As time ticks against incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC), their challengers are covering grounds with much aggression; all has to be done to quickly resume the momentum to catch up with the pack.
By the way, Ghana has hit the run way and is on the road again to determine who occupies the Flagstaff House. The battle lines are drawn. Will the second attempt of Nana Akuffo-Addo be rewarded with a victory or retirement from the political arena? How will the Veep now President prevails in this ill-fated general election?
Once again, another “John” John Dramani Mahama has been handed the baton to do the race of the 2012 general elections. This is the fourth John under the Fourth Republican Constitution. Is there any secret in the name, John? John Rawlings, John Kuffour, John Mills and John Mahama, does this mean that, for any presidential hopeful to be successful need to christen himself, John. By the way do you know that, biblically, John came ahead to prepare the way for the son? Hence, does it also transpire that, we have been preparing all these years for the true redeemer? And when will the fellow pull-up? Let me ask, is Nana Akuffo Addo called John? If not then he needs baptism. Because, since Ghana descended in to democratic dispensation, in 1992 it has always been the battle of the Johns’ who have been winning elections. In 1992, the competition was between, John Rawlings and Albert Adu Boahen. Then it came down to John Kuffour, who picked his wits with John Rawlings in 1996 and lost. Again, John Kuffour contested John Mills and prevailed in 2000. However, John Mills cruised with Nana Akuffo Addo, and the John won. Will John Mahama win against Nana Addo again? If it does happen, then consider calling yourself John. What do you think?
No matter what, Ghana is on the road again and these are the players per the various political parties, John Dramani Mahama partnered by Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur for the NDC, the NPP is led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo and has Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia as running mate. The others are, the PPP, which is made up of Dr. Paa Kwasi Ndum, who has teamed up with Ms. Eva Lokko, the CPP has Dr. Abu Sakara Foster, who is yet to pick his running mate. Mr. Hassan Ayariga the flag bearer of the PNC has also not selected his Vice.
Bearing any hitch Ghana is going to challenge and test herself as whether she has come of age among the community of nations in the democratic arena.