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Opinions of Monday, 5 December 2016

Columnist: Afrifa, Benjamin Kwasi

Why NPP will win the 2016 elections

By Benjamin Kwasi Afrifa

After suffering through an abusive relationship, many people will fall in love "on the rebound." They finally escape the clutches of an ogre only to jump, often without looking, into the embrace of another person, any other person. This leap of love is sometimes a lucky one, sometimes not.

The last few years of the Mills-Mahama Administrations and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) were indeed abusive. And the rebound effect will be so strong that a good number of Ghanaians have fallen into the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo embrace.

The “incoming” president seemed like such a good match. He's not corrupt and cares about people and the rule of law. The first time I have heard an African politician daring his rivals to contradict his apparent incorruptible character and integrity. So far, we’re still waiting for takers. What a catch!

Beyond these attributes of a potential sensitive executive, Akufo-Addo promises repair some of the damage done by our last bad choice. He is already preparing to tackle education, health, security, and economic development through a renewed private sector plan, I heard. He will probably roll back the dangerous subversion of the Ghanaian Constitution known as the "unitary executive," which the previous presidents used to bypass Parliamentary checks and balances. He has indicated a healthy regard for rule of law and civility. So, what's not to like about NPP and Nana Akufo-Addo?

How else can we explain such an outpouring of affection for such a cool customer as Akufo-Addo? He's a policy wonk who deflected most questions during the campaign with specific pronouncements of change. The ugly emotions of the minority of NPP and Akufo-Addo-haters, stoked by maligned cheerleaders, can be easily explained by fear of retribution for their past transgressions as custodians of the national coffer and resources and the “bad-boy” behaviors under the rule of law that will be strictly enforced under an Akufo-Addo Administration.

But the love for Akufo-Addo and NPP, so visible among Ghanaians and in the faces of potential celebrants on both Election and Inauguration Days, cannot be explained by his rhetorical brilliance alone. As Sigmund Freud might say, something else is going on here.

And it's not just Ghanaians. After all, the Mahama Administration is not having a “field day” in international circles. Ghanaians in the Diaspora in cities such as New York, London, Hamburg, Paris, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, Lagos, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Beijing, are anxiously waiting for Election Day victory for NPP. Even foreign friends are anxiously and patiently waiting for our usual, recent Ghanaian style of organizing our elections and our smooth transition of political power without a gun-shot. In essence, Ghana makes even them proud.

The election will end in defeat for the NDC because there is nothing to show for it. Their political viewpoint is easily discernible, their distaste for their fellow Ghanaians is palpable and, like all bull-dog guarding its bone, they have already sunk their ideological paws deep into the ground without any intention of nudging an inch.

My counsel for Nana Akuffo-Ado is to pay heed to the following enduring statements from successful politicians when they were lucky enough to lead their countries:

General George Washington, the first president of the United States of America on his first inaugural address on April 30, 1789, stated:

“I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love.” “…On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence on who (inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration) ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies.”

In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver is that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is that if, in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof of the confidence of my fellow citizens, and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the motives which mislead me, and its consequences be judged by my country with some share of the partiality in which they originated.”

President James Madison, on his first inaugural address on March 4, 1809 said, “So distinguished a mark of confidence, proceeding from the deliberate and tranquil suffrage of a free and virtuous nation, would under any circumstances have commanded my gratitude and devotion, as well as filled me with an awful sense of the trust to be assumed.

Under the various circumstances which give peculiar solemnity to the existing period, I feel that both the honor and the responsibility allotted to me are inexpressibly enhanced. The present situation of the world is indeed without a parallel, and that of our own country full of difficulties.”

“This unquestionable course could not avail against the injustice and violence of the belligerent powers. In their rage against each other, or impelled by more direct motives, principles of retaliation have been introduced equally contrary to universal reason and acknowledged law.

How long their arbitrary edicts will be continued in spite of the demonstrations that not even a pretext for them has been given by the United States, and of the fair and liberal attempt to induce a revocation of them, cannot be anticipated. Assuring myself that under every vicissitude the determined spirit and united councils of the nation will be safeguarded to its honor and its essential interests, I repair to the post assigned me with no other discouragement than what springs from my own inadequacy to its high duties.

If I do not sink under the weight of this deep conviction it is because I find some support in a consciousness of the purposes and a confidence in the principles which I bring with me into this arduous service.”

“And in this land of new promise, we will have reformed our politics so that the voice of the people will always speak louder than the din of narrow interest, regaining the participation and deserving the trust of all Americans.”

So fellow Ghanaians, on Tuesday, December 7, 2016, you are going to force the season. But be prepared to do what the season demands. The Scriptures says, “And let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season, we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Long Live Ghana!


NPP-USA, New York/New Jersey