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Opinions of Saturday, 10 December 2016

Columnist: Frederick Ebo Hinson

Change Came, “Onaapo” Left… What Next?

Change is here, but what next? Change is here, but what next?

The streets were well occupied by folks who clad themselves in red, blue and white colours. They chanted victory songs in order to get the message through: “Change is here!”

It was like Charlotte Osei, the EC Boss, had given the permission to these guys to throw the city into pandemonium. With loud horns here and there, chanting of victory songs, and the bitter tone in which the sitting President delivered (what is, to me) the best speech he has ever made, one thing was for certain: change has arrived!

The calls for change started right after President John Mahama ascended the Presidential throne to continue the NDC’s second term in office.
From a perceived victory in the polls through rigging to the inability to remain transparent in the tackling of the power crises in 2013/2014, from the “importation” of old-timer terrorists to wild allegations of mismanagement of resource, bribery and corruption, from Woyome to bus branding and Ameri, the Mahama government couldn’t run away from the fact that the call for change grew louder and louder as the days went by.

Some few weeks to the elections, however, the NDC took advantage of their “numerous” projects to flood the media with documentaries and ads. Also, they were able to go on a mass commissioning spree which saw them gain some grounds they had lost.

With all these projects and the “Onaapo” song, they were confident that the Ghanaian voter was still myopic and would forget about all the corruption sagas, the Guanatanamo Bay “burgers”, the bribery saga with the Burkinabe contractor, the freeing of the Montie three et al.

They made the mistake of thinking 8 years for Mahama was a right and that they were entitled to it no matter what. But their past mistakes came back hunting them like a curse from an Ewe man. There was no escape.

On the other hand, the calls for change dimmed a few weeks to the elections. These voices were suppressed by the supposed massive projects by the NDC government. Mouths were shut when the “Commissioner General” himself commissioned the Kwame Nkrumah interchange. More mouths were shut when he again, commissioned the new boxing Arena. More mouths were shut when he commissioned the Western Railway Lines and more mouths were shut when the beautiful “onaapo” song became more popular than the vice president, Ammisah Arthur.

These voices got very silent until the NDC were sure of victory this year. It was a feeling of being on top of your game. An ecstatic feeling that even smoking weed cannot give you. Even though the opposition had gathered some inspiration from Trump and the loss of Yaya Jameh, the NDC had managed to use propaganda to their advantage.

When the figures started trooping in, it was understandable (though unjustifiable) that the NPP had declared that they had won the elections in the early hours of 8th December. This was as a result of the perception that the Electoral Commission was in bed with the incumbent government. A perception that was born out of the fact that the EC’s posturing and inability to be sufficiently transparent suggested same. However, I was very happy with the response from the EC later on in the day.

They made Ghanaians understand the situation on the grounds by telling us the challenges they faced— a posture I expected them to take from the beginning. But hey, better late than never…

The NDC kept “smoking weed” and putting themselves in a position of ridicule from independent observers (like me) by stating that the President had a chance. The smaller parties— as expected— had already thrown in the towel. They all congratulated Nana Addo. This was a level of maturity.

Later, President Mahama, in his solemnest mood after Mills’ death, conceded defeat. Again, better late… I respected him for the words he used. The least mistake he made in communicating his feelings could have delivered this nation the hands of Mayhem. This reminds me of the speech made by Nana Addo in 2013 after the election petition. Mahama showed true leadership and patriotism.

In all, I was disappointed by the results of the smaller parties (especially, PPP). I expected them to capitalize on the wind of change. I also suggest to the EC to make transparency a priority since it is the foundation of tension management.
The security agencies did well and the media was phenomenal. I worked with Peace FM to monitor the elections and I must say, it wasn’t an easy job.

I wish Nana Addo well and I promise to do the little I can to make this Nation a better place.

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