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General News of Monday, 12 December 2016

Source: oduro, e. k.

Akwaaba His Excellency President Elect Nana Akuffo Addo

Nana Addo was elected the 5th president of the 4th republic culminated by the declaration by the electoral commission after the longest two nights Ghana has witnessed in recent memory. Ghanaians are elated. As a friend described it, “It feels like independence”. This was one hard fought campaign sometimes riddled with personal invectives, accusations and down right violence.

Nana Addo’s election is a national realization and appreciation of decades of selfless service to Ghana. Indeed, Nana Addo’s entire life seems to have been carved towards such an outcome. As a civil rights lawyer, Nana led the fight in bringing Ghana back to a multi party democracy. As attorney general, he led the effort to repeal the criminal libel law. Enough about Nana’s attributes which is numerous by the way. Nana’s election amounted to a national catharsis; a repudiation of a historically backward thought process where the citizenry is blandished and bribed with cash, hasty commissioning of projects and even loftier promises. For the first time in this 4th republic, Ghanaians rejected a sitting president. The advantage of the bully pulpit and incumbency did little to save a sinking ship. There is a plethora of reasons to why we saw this outcome. Some say it was the electorate coming of age. To others, it was a total rejection of the path chosen by the NDC. I would humbly enumerate my thoughts as to why we witnessed such a sounding defeat of the NDC.

1. Two Term Fatigue

Ghanaians like the American electorate demand a periodic renewal of governance. They expect a new infusion of fresh blood, energy and a whole new set of ideas. As much as the NDC tried to discard President Mills’ term and record and lie to the people about having served only four years, Ghanaians read through these aspersions and half truths.

2. Nana Addo Had a Message
This election was not only about rejecting Mahama’s vision, it was more about accepting Nana’s hopes and vision for Ghana. Nanas went beyond the rhetoric of “transforming lives” to offering actual tangible solutions. His message was crisp and quantifiable. One district one factory, free SHS, one dam one village in the northern regions of Ghana, one constituency $1million. His mantra, make Ghana work again resonated with most Ghanaians. These were ideas any ordinary Ghanaian could identify with. Meanwhile the NDC with their superman confidence were out there touting their infrastructure works and promising a better Ghana as if we did not live through the past 8 years. The NDC counted on these projects carrying them over the finishing line. They were wrong. Ghanaians expected more. Instead of changing it’s course and listening to the people, the NDC doubled down on their folly and campaigned on a so called disunited NPP house so fractured it was in no position to govern. Yet this same divided house just swept the house of parliament.

Perception of Corruption

Nana Addo rode a wave of popular discontent at a time when the economy is still struggling. After years of dumsor and countless allegations of corruption, the NDC’s last hope was a divine intervention. In my adult life, I am yet to see one government accused of so many instances of corruption than this Mahama government. What makes it worse is the deaf tone attitude from the president who assumed his alter ego attitude he once described “dead goat syndrome”. To him, these criticisms were unwarranted and not worth even responding to. See how the president was incoherent when asked by a BBC reporter if he was ever bribed. GYEEDA, SADA, Isofotone’s bus branding, Woyome, Brazil World Cup debacle, the Ford Saga, Victoria Hammer and Dzifa Ativor’s paranoia all helped to solidify this impression. In most of these cases, all the president did was to reshuffle these characters instead of pursuing justice. In the history of Ghana, success of military coups and election victories are largely due to perceived and actual corruption.

Mahama’s Attack Dogs

Former President Papa J described them as babies with sharp teeth. Kwaku Baako described them as babies with sharp teeth and acidic tongues. After years under this government, criticizing the Mahama administration was tantamount to treason. The attack dogs would descend so hard on you, your head would spin. The usual suspects; Koku Anyidoho, Dr. Omane Boamah, Felix Ofosu Kwakye, Stan Dogbe, Okudzeto Ablakwa and the most vicious and nasty of them all Kofi Adams. These young men were seen as the next crop of our nation’s leadership paving a way for any youth interested in public service. Yet theirs was reduced to arrogance, pride, intolerance and pure disrespect. They were intricately involved in character assassinations and absolute propaganda. Listening to Radio Gold or Montie FM with any of these characters on was heart aching. Nana Addo was accused of peddling in cocaine, accused of murdering his deceased wife and even lies about his impending death from cancer. I’m not naïve into believing that the NDC had a monopoly over vitriol. The difference here is as a government in power, more is expected of you. Sources have it that, the President was for the most part not on board with most of these slander but who you surround yourself with informs who you are. The NDC’s over confidence deprived them the chance to critically measure the temperature of the electorate. We recall Joseph Yamin, deputy coordinator of NADMO, publicly wage a bet with his pickup truck to an opponent’s cell phone. He projected a one-touch victory for the President. If Ghanaians are appalled by any vice, it is pride and arrogance. They punished the NDC for it.

The Economy

The biggest elephant in the room (no pun intended) was our shattering economy. This election was a referendum on our faltering economy. A nation that produces gold, cocoa and recently oil has endured a currency crisis, dumsor and an uncontrollable debt spiral. Ghana recently received an almost $1 billion worth of bailout from the IMF. Taxes are unforgiving. Yet president Mahama touts his achievement not by the worth of people’s pockets but by images in “the green book”. Years of energy crisis have claimed thousands of jobs and yet the NDC runs one of the most expensive campaigns in modern Ghanaian history. This disconnect was so glaring and Ghanaians saw and rejected it.

What’s Next for Ghana?
The democratic prowess and discernment of the Ghanaian electorate is unimpeachable. I am PROUD as a Ghanaian living outside Ghana to claim that we have finally arrived. President Mahama, in line with a matured democracy, reached out and congratulated the president elect. In his concession speech, the president claimed, “I will leave it to history to be the judge of my time in office”. This was such a loaded statement and any reasonable and objective person would admit that despite all his shortcomings, this president did his best. I believe posterity will be kind to his record. We must not disregard all the so-called infrastructures. Yes infrastructures don’t put plates on the table but they provide the avenue to go search for that plate. The president’s humility in defeat was reciprocated by the victor’s magnanimity in victory. Nana Addo promised to keep his word and be a president for all. We eagerly and patiently await.

One Ghana

After the dust settles, we remain neighbors, siblings, co-workers and most importantly fellow Ghanaians. John Dumelo, Mzbel, Mr. Beautiful, Kwasi Pratt and the nice folks at Montie FM are equally as Ghanaians as anyone who supported Nana Addo. Our democracy is as strong as the ability to accept constructive criticism in good faith and not internalize hateful rhetoric thrown your way. Democracy is a slow, grueling and onerous process but that is what we have chosen as a people. The president elect has a very fertile environment to effect some consequential changes in the people’s lives. The support and mandate given him is overwhelming. I pray Nana Addo brings on board quality talent irrespective of political allegiance. The time of “jobs for the boys” must come to an end. Ghanaians expect real leadership. Knowing Ghanaians, enjoy this honeymoon phase because 4 years creeps up real quick sir and they would be back with those thumbs.


On January 8th 2017, after when the clean up of the inauguration grounds is done, the euphoria would fade away as well. The Vuvuzelas would find their home back into the storage boxes. It won’t feel like independence any more. The honeymoon will be soon over. Reality will quickly set in and parents would come back home to meet that huge school fees, people will still die of malaria and some would still go to bed hungry. Yet we remain resolved and hopeful. The hopes of a young and vibrant democracy now rest on the shoulders of a very well qualified 72 year old man with a center right ideology. Mr. President-elect, as you rightfully said, the battle is of the Lord’s. Ghanaians all over the world congratulate you; wish you success and most importantly good health. Indeed third time is the charm. Good luck His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo.

(SESA GH Foundation)

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