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Opinions of Saturday, 9 September 2017

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

But uncle, I thought you voted against free SHS in 2016?

It is quite baffling how some Ghanaians easily give in to the gimmicks of the manipulating politicians.

Prior to the 2016 election, I turned down my maternal uncle’s relentless appeals for some help towards the payment of his children school fees.

The seemingly harsh decision was based on the fact that my maternal uncle bizarrely rejected Nana Addo’s 2012 free SHS offer and went ahead and voted against such an advantageous policy.

I must admit, back then, I never thought I breached any accepted moral standards for rejecting my uncle’s appeal for help to pay for his children school fees after turning his back on a handsome offer of free SHS.

But who says that my maternal uncle repented from his sins during the 2016 election?

In fact, my maternal uncle was amongst millions of impoverished Ghanaians who were brainwashed by the cunning and manipulating politicians to reject the expedient free SHS offer during the 2016 electioneering campaign.

Strange enough, after campaigning and voting against the apparent poverty alleviation such as free SHS during the 2016 election, my maternal uncle now has the temerity to complain about the mode of implementing the scheme.

Bizarrely, my uncle has turned into Oliver Twist; he is asking for more on top of his two children who are going to benefit from the scheme. Apparently, he is aggrieved that the policy is not covering his two older children in forms 2 and 3. How bizarre?

If everybody had voted the same way as he did, I am not sure his two children would have benefited from any free SHS.

Well, I should not be surprised anyway, as my maternal uncle is at his squalling and grouching best.

I recall leading to the 2016 election, my uncle lodged a complaint with my mother for turning my back on his fund raising appeals towards the payment of his children school fees.

And in her attempt to resolve the simmering dissonance between my uncle and me, my mother arranged a crisis meeting.

It was during the meeting that I informed my mother that my decision was based on the fact that her brother needlessly refused to accept the offer of free SHS by Nana Addo during the 2012 electioneering campaign.

“Well, but your uncle has never voted for NPP”, my mother retorted.

“Oh, so even if NPP came up with an advantageous policy that could be beneficial to him, he must still turn his back on such a policy because of unbridled devoted attachment?” I quizzed.

I proceeded: “Where is the justification for your brother to turn down such a handsome offer of free ‘SHS?”

My uncle then responded: “But where was the evidence that NPP was going to implement the free SHS policy?”

“You don’t have to look far for the evidence uncle”, I responded.

I continued: “Didn’t the previous NPP government deliver on its campaign promises by introducing social interventions such as the free Maternal Care, the School Feeding Programme, the National Health Insurance Scheme, the Mass Transport System, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), the National Youth Employment Programme, now known as GYEDA, and many other social interventions?”

“Well, my nephew, I think you are making sense but there is nothing we could do over the spilt milk”, my uncle responded.

“You are right to some extent uncle, but we could put it right going forward”, I retorted.

“For we should not and must not ever vote on narrow party lines, but we must rather vote according to campaign messages, competence, experience, ability, skills, knowledge and the integrity of the candidates”.

“Well, my son, your uncle has obviously simmered down and shown remorse, so go ahead and pay for his children school fees”, my mother proposed.

“It is too late mum; I would not be able to pay for his children school fees as I have other equally important responsibilities”, I replied.

All the same, I continued by beseeching all and sundry to embrace Nana Addo’s 2016 campaign message of free SHS, one district one factory and one constituency one million dollars.

I maintained that if they refused to accept Nana Addo’s offer of free SHS, I would not entertain any future appeals for financial assistance from anyone to pay school fees.

Gratifyingly, both my uncle and my mother promised wholeheartedly to scrutinise future campaign messages of all political parties before settling on their preferred candidate or party.

Indeed, I was over the moon because I thought I had managed to bring my mother and my uncle from darkness into the light.

And based on the discussants poignant advice, I engaged in a carefully considered deliberation and went ahead and paid my maternal uncle’s children school fees.

Regrettably, however, my maternal uncle did not heed to my earlier advice, as he went back to his old ways.

Ironically, my maternal uncle was spotted wearing the NDC’s Party T shirt and campaigning vigorously against the free SHS.

Isn’t it bizarre that my maternal uncle who campaigned vehemently against the free SHS policy is now turning around and asking for more?