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Opinions of Saturday, 4 September 2010

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

ATIWA-“ A dress Rehearsal for 2012 Elections”

Atiwa has come and gone. The NPP won in a landslide. Mr. Kwesi Amoako Atta, the NPP parliamentary candidate garnered 20,282 votes, representing 75 percent of the total votes while the P-ndc managed to get 6,190 votes, which represents 22.89 votes; with the New vision Party polling 477 votes, a 1.76 percent share of the votes.
Statistically, nothing significant changed, but psychologically, the results were more telling. The P-ndc’s inability to get a respectable number of vote, being the ruling government, was in itself, an indictment enough on their record so far; especially if one were take into account the P-ndc’s attempt to indirectly buy votes by tarring some of the roads in the constituency etc.
Another telling sign was the no show of President Mills, who was happily globetrotting, trying to beat Jules Verne’s record of going “around the World in eighty days”. Conveniently, President Mills chose to undertake this quixotic adventure amidst an election. Only one inference could be made from the President’s behavior: he doesn’t care about his party. After all, he is not even a bona fide member of the P-ndc. He is CPP.
But the most serious and most important observation from Atiwa was the attempt by the P-ndc to “intimidate”, frighten” and harass the NPP voters from even getting out bed, much more venturing outside to cast their votes. According to the Danquah Institute, this resulted in a low voter turnout. In the same article, the Danquah Institute referred to this intimidation exercise as a dress rehearsal for the 2012 elections. That the P-ndc was not interested in any votes per se in Atiwa but was more interested in “test-flying” their tactics for 2012.
Now, if indeed, that was the P-ndc’s intention in Tain (I believe so) and their intentions for the whole country in 2012, what is the NPP to do?

It seems the only solution that would save Ghana from violence would be a clear and indisputable victory for the NPP. Or the same attitude the Party adopted in1992 and 2008.
In1992, the Party chose to boycott parliament to protest the rigging instead of engaging in violence in order to get its way. This gave our country a new lease on life
Then you have the "Tain boycott", when the Party chose not to vote at all in the second round. Instead of going to Tain in the midst of macho men intimidation, soldiers' "terrorization" , which would have resulted in widespread violence, President Kufour issued his famous “there is going to be no vote in Tain” statement. This practically led to the NPP giving up power to save the country. Another lease on democracy was given the country by this act.
But if NPP goes ahead and tries to meet the P-ndc strategy for strategy or tactic for tactic in 2012, the only outcome would be nationwide conflagration.
With 20,300 votes determining the outcome of the 2008 elections, all the P-ndc will have to do this time around, is to intimidate or prevent, on the average, one voter per polling station (22,000 polling stations) from voting and viola........an easy task for them.
So the 64,000 dollar question is, would the NPP meet the P-ndc strategy for strategy or tactic for tactic, which would surely lead to civil unrest; or the NPP, once again, would exhibit their love for a peaceful country more than their love for sheer power, as they did in 1992 and 2008?
For every sword that the P-ndc buys, would the NPP buy a plowshare? For every combatant that the P-ndc recruits, would the NPP train peacekeepers? For every armored tanker the P-ndc buys, would the NPP buy an ambulance? For every lie that the P-ndc tell, would the NPP tell the truth? If the P-ndc calls out its supporters to besiege the Electoral Commission’s office, would the NPP beseech theirs to stay home?
In sum, is the NPP, once again, ready to sacrifice election victory, by any means necessary, for a peaceful nation and remain in opposition for the foreseeable future? Or…..
Akwasi A. Afrifa Akoto.