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Opinions of Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Columnist: CPP

A Message To First Time Voters: The CPP Is For You!

If you are a first time voter in the 2008 elections, whether you are 18-21 and eligible for the first time or you have simply never voted before, my message to you today is that the Convention People’s Party is the perfect home for you.

The CPP is offering you the opportunity to be part of something new. We are recruiting new energetic young leaders in every constituency - you can be part of the party that will address Ghana's problems with a sense of urgency. It is not too late to get involved.

The first question that may come to your mind is “why should I care?”

If you are stuck at home because you can’t find a job, you have a reason to care.

If you have a friend or relative who died because the local medical facility was too far away, understaffed, or poorly equipped, you have a reason to care.

If you think it is wrong that your community has seen no development after 16 years of democracy, you have a reason to care.

If you know someone who has been hurt or killed by armed robbers, you have a reason to care.

If you feel that the results of the upcoming elections won’t change a thing, you not only have a reason to care, but you also have a reason to ACT NOW. If we simply wait for the right politician to come into power and solve our problems, things will never change.

A second question that you may have about the upcoming elections is what the CPP has to offer that is different. That is a great question, and I think that it is best answered by first making it clear that our competitors, the NDC and NPP, are simply offering more of the same.

While JA Kufuor, the current NPP President, will not be on the ballot in 2008, you have may have heard the NPP candidate Akufo-Addo promise you to continue what his predecessor started. In other words, the chances that anything other than the status quo (e.g., widening the gap between the rich and poor, giving contracts to insiders, spending on luxuries for government officials and dignitaries and taxes that take from the pockets of the poor) are slim. All signs point to a continuation of politics as usual under the NPP should the party win in December.

While JJ Rawlings, the most recent NDC President, will not be on the ballot this year, the current NDC flag bearer was the Vice President during his tenure and has been the face of the party ever since 2000. Again, we are working with a known quantity – if you are looking for change, you will not find it in the NDC

The CPP provides a clear alternative to politics as usual. This can be seen by the fact that the current leadership has infused the party with new energy without sacrificing the party’s core principals Self Determination (belief in oneself; pride, confidence, and optimism), Social Justice (applying the law equally to all, regardless of rank or position giving opportunity to all without regard to ethnic and religious background), and Pan-Africanism (embracing our neighbors, working together to build a better Africa). These basic tenets describe exactly what this country is missing – they are the keys to prosperity in the future for Ghana!

With chants of “Yeresasemu” and “Edwumawura,” new chapters of TESCHART, the CPP youth group are being inaugurated virtually every week. The rank and file of the CPP Youth are online, in homes, and on campus, thinking of new ways to re-energize the party. They are sharing those ideas with their more experienced colleagues who are in turn providing the historical grounding that has kept the party and its leadership faithful to it basic principals.

What is the difference between the CPP and the other parties? It is the difference between fighting for victory and assuming that victory belongs to you. It is the difference between finding the best and brightest to run for MP and struggling to convince the people that they did not make a mistake by voting for your MPs in 2004. It is the difference between arguing who is the “Better Man” or the “Best Man” and telling you exactly what you will do to change this country.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you want to know what our candidate stands for, you can visit and search Nduom – there you will see, from his own words, what he can do for his country. Our candidate is one who is not afraid to talk to his people, whether on Ghanaweb, on the radio, or on the campaign trail. Our candidate is not afraid to debate his opponents – in fact, his repeated requests for debates have been ignored and avoided by Atta Mills and Akufo Addo!

A third question that you may have is how your actions can make a difference. Aren’t these parties run by people who have paid their dues? Don’t I have to “wait my turn” to make an impact?

The answer to this question depends very much on which party you are talking about! Consider the NPP, where “ye nim wo firi titi” was the slogan that took the party’s flag bearer to victory in Congress. Similarly, examine the NDC, where the current flag bearer has been the face of the party for 8 years and was second in command for another 4. As mentioned above, there is hardly a fresh face within the NDC and NPP – there is hardly anyone in a position of influence that the public has not known for years.

Part of the excitement of the CPP of today is that it is being rebuilt by people of a wide variety of ages, backgrounds and even party affiliation! We have former members of virtually every party that are playing a major role in today’s CPP and that includes students as young as 17 and 18 who are making a major impact and whose voices are being heard!

Yes, you can make a difference! And the CPP is where it can happen. While the other parties are encouraging you to get in line and vote for them, the CPP is asking you to join us and be part of the change that we all know is possible. The CPP is looking not only for votes in December, but for the future leaders of this country to help win those votes. The CPP is looking for first time voters to break free of the tradition of casting a ballot for someone because it is “his turn” or because he has paid his dues – we are looking for first time voters who are not afraid to look around at the condition of our roads, the crime on our streets, the filth in the gutters, and ask “are we coming or are we going?”

If you are a first time voter, the CPP is for you – we are giving you the opportunity to do something other than dismiss the your competitors with chants of “right man, wrong party.” If Nduom is the right man, it is our duty to join the thousands of other first time voters that would rather take the “right man” to victory by strengthening the party than support the “right party” without regard to the track record of that party’s candidate.

A vote for the CPP is a vote for a party that will vigorously attack corruption for day one. A vote for the CPP is a vote for bringing the focus back to creating jobs for Ghanaians. A vote for the CPP is a vote for leadership with a sense of urgency.

Dare to think, Dare to Act. – Vote for Change that you can feel in your pocket.