Feature Article of Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Columnist: Dorfe, Mathias
I want to start this article by saluting Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo for making the matured decision to challenge the election results with brain power in the courts rather than with cudgels, guns and other offensive weapons on the streets and in the suburbs. I must admit that I don’t really care about the outcome of the court challenge. What I am proud about is the truly unprecedented democratic milestone this means on a continent where politicians have gained a notorious reputation for resolving electoral disputes with human lives. Even if Nana never becomes a president, the step he has taken will no doubt inscribe his name in gold not only in the political history of Ghana but in that of Africa as a whole. His place in history may even command a higher level of recognition than most of the presidents on the continent.
I believe Nana meant well for Ghana. As a privileged son of the elitist establishment, he has seen what education has done for him and his family. He appeared to have genuinely wanted to decentralize this privilege into a right for every Ghanaian child so that the future generation will not have to hail from the Kyebi political dynasty to be like him. Whether he can really deliver on this promise, I don’t know. Both JAK and the late Uncle Atta equally meant well when they promised to reduce fuel prices when voted into power. They got the power only to realize that it made more sense to rather increase the prices.
The rumor mill has also been rife with the “filla” that Nana had to sell some of his family properties home and abroad to pursue this dream. If it is indeed true, then it can only be a case of a higher form of political Christianity where Nana loves his underprivileged neighbors more than himself. This is too tempting for my curiosity to ignore. It will be good to know what is in it for he himself too. There definitely must be something in it for him; something bigger than the desire to turn today’s downtrodden into tomorrow’s aristocrats.
I have not forgotten the fact that his critics saw the free SHS policy as a political ruse meant to lure the Ghanaian voter into rolling out the electoral red carpet for him to the jubilee house.
The truth is that the mud of political deceit can stick on any Ghanaian politician it is thrown at. That is why it seemed to have stuck on Nana when his critics threw it at him. He might just have been a victim of the political deception that we have suffered in this country for far too long. Most people no longer believe politicians. The sweeter the promise, the less likely it is to be believed. How many times have politicians, whether NDC or NPP, have not promised one thing and have at the end of their term, touted something else as their achievement? What is more, some of the things they parade as achievements are shelve items they have selected from a menu of donor packages over which they have very little control. If politicians learn to genuinely keep their promises, the electorate will respond positively by taking their future promises more seriously.
I however think political cynicism alone cannot fully explain why the Free SHS message failed to deliver the Flagstaff House to Nana in a clean swoop. Nothing in the post-Kwame Nkrumah era has created greater propaganda and electoral value than the free SHS campaign message. I do believe that juicy campaign messages do still have their place as potent pollen grains for electoral victory. It may therefore be worth the while of the NPP to go beyond the blue sheet – red sheet controversy to find what really went wrong since the real answers may just lie outside the four walls of the EC. May be, just may be.
I have admired Nana’s fighting spirit and I think it is a virtue that will greatly inspire the next generation. He would have stood taller though, if he had lived his “all die be die” mantra to the full. He fought the 2012 elections on a two-legged platform of Free SHS and All Die Be Die. What he is simply saying by his legal challenge is that, if his presidential ambition is going to die, then it should rather die by the sword of the electorate rather than die from an EC administered poison. If all die were truly die, then whether one’s political career is killed by the EC or by the electorate should not matter. They all be die!
Nana, you may have made a mistake with the all die be die slogan. You may have been a victim of the deception of the political establishment. You may not also have been helped much by the Ayarigate phenomenon. But you are still the bold, courageous and passionate politician that you have been all these years. My only fear is that if your court case does not succeed, then you may just be heading to the infamous hall of the presidents that Ghana never had, where you will join the likes of Victor Owusu. What a shame that will be after such a heroic fight! I wish you well in the next phase of your life. I am sure you will find another space outside the perimeter of the Flagstaff House to continue making meaningful impact on the lives of Ghanaians. We shall surely wait for your next big move! God richly bless you!
By: Mathias Dorfe