Feature Article of Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Columnist: Amoah, Anthony Kwaku
By Anthony Kwaku Amoah
Genuine political victory, they say, cannot come easily. Aside of striking promises, parties need effective organizational and communication skills with attractive paraphernalia and catchphrases to make great impressions.
Some also consider candidates’ personalities before casting their votes. Others also vote along tribal and family lines. For instance, a person may not necessarily understand a party’s ideologies but would be a member of the party because of parental or peer influences.
Tribalism has deeply eaten into our body politic such that parties have been assigned ethnic tags. As the ruling NDC boasts of Volta Region as its ‘world bank’, the opposition NPP also holds onto the Akan-speaking areas, especially Ashanti.
As PNC is tagged as a northern party, Papa Kwesi Nduom’s PPP may also be branded as a Fante party. But is there any logic in this matching?
Politics is about contest of ideas necessary for growth and development. People are free to join political parties of their choice. This demands high level civility and tolerance from all players.
I have just returned from my ‘holy’ town of Ave in the new Akatsi North District of the Volta Region. Political activities are really getting more intriguing with supporters of NDC, NPP and CPP actively disseminating campaign messages across the length and breadth of the area.
Contrary to what was witnessed some years ago, billboards, T-shirts, posters and paraphernalia of the two leading parties, NDC and NPP, are almost everywhere.
Community information centers are made accessible to parties for use in churning out their messages to the electorate. The youth must be commended for high level tolerance and decency as the political heat rises.
What the 2012 elections needs is peace and unity among all parties and citizens. A variation in party association is not a matter of enmity and fight but an opportunity to further deepen the spirit of unity in diversity.
Destroying parties’ billboards, posters, T-shirts and other paraphernalia does not guarantee electoral victory. Let’s avoid the temptation of casting insinuations on political opponents and rather divert resources into decent marketing of our parties for possible acceptance by others.
I have not yet forgotten slogans like, “Asie ho”, “Esoro ho”, “Yere sesemu”, “Adie wofie a, oye” with their supporting gestures, songs and jingles. As some communicate parties’ positions on the ballot paper, others portray ethnic feelings.
Sometimes, catchphrases are composed with the aim of hyping the party’s symbol. For example, an Ewe would shout “NPP, Atiglinyia koe yim…” to wit, “It’s only the elephant of the NPP which is wining,” an NDC supporter would counter, “Xexia la koe” meaning, “it’s only the umbrella.”
Skillful musicians do support parties with songs or the parties themselves lobby for songs to be used in campaigns. Phillipa Baafi’s “Go, go, go high…” and Lumba’s “Nana, Nana, Nana, oye winner o…” lyrics did refresh the political atmosphere in 2008.
We are now in 2012 with new, interesting compositions. As we see or hear pupils sing songs to support NPP’s free SHS promise on the electronic media, the ruling NDC, which initially condemned the use of children in political adverts, has turned to children for use against the free education promise.
An interesting lyric on the controversial judgment debt paid to Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a businessman, is also in the public domain to add weight to the NPP’s campaigns, though; the matter is yet to be determined by the courts.
Whatever the case, there is the need for proper understanding of any message that a slogan seeks to convey. Messages carried by slogans, songs and jingles must not leave any particles of doubt in the minds of electorate.
The slogan, “NDC, Edey be keke” is hard for some of us to comprehend. Is the understanding that the economy is good only for people in the camp of the NDC? Or is it saying the NDC is the sweetest party that everybody must join?
President John Mahama himself has become addicted to the use of this “Edey be keke” catchphrase that he could not keep mute over it even in his concluding remarks at the recent IEA Presidential Debate at Tamale.
In my candid opinion, this slogan needs some modifications to meet the taste of all, including the poor. How can I shout ‘Edey be keke” when hungry for food and good drinking water?
Many voters are already frustrated and fed up with voting due to failed promises of politicians. An attempt to recite or sing discriminatory and mockery slogans, jingles and songs before these people may create further disaffection.