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Opinions of Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Boafo’s Fears Well-Founded but Unscientific

Garden City, New York
Oct. 10, 2015

It is quite opportune and necessary that the leaders of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) keep reminding themselves and their supporters and sympathizers that they cannot take their traditional electoral strongholds for granted in the lead-up to Election 2016. This is why I couldn’t agree more with Mr. S. K. Boafo, the former Asante Regional Minister, that there is still a lot of room for improvement (See “NPP Losing Support in Kumasi – S. K. Boafo” / 10/10/15). I, however, do not believe that Ghana’s largest party has either lost or is fast losing support in our nation’s largest royal and cultural capital. What is probably coming off as lukewarm reception to the NPP leadership, at its appearances at rallies, has more to do with the acute economic hardship brought upon the pates of the people by the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and, to a quite remarkable extent, the seeming inability of the NPP leaders to get their act together. But the latter case is more annoying than it is dispiriting, and I shall be dealing with it in due course.

Couple the preceding with the fact that the election season has not officially begun, and everything begins to seem absolutely normal. What the NPP leaders ought to be doing right now, besides organizing nationwide warm-up rallies, is to be establishing business- and employment-creating clinics and workshops for their staunch supporters and sympathizers as well as, of course, anybody else in need of such basic survival skills and strategies. For it goes without saying that, by and large, what matters most to ordinary people and citizens, or eligible and potential voters, are basic survival necessities and the practical means of accessing the same, not hifalutin or sententious pep-talk. For instance, Nana Akufo-Addo and the other key New Patriotic Party operatives could be touring the various regions with entrepreneurial experts to teach party supporters and sympathizers to be economically independent. They could also be touring the various regions on fact-finding missions to learn about the pressing material needs of the people and then finding mutually beneficial means of meeting these needs and aspirations.

Party policy, in essence, ought to go beyond manifestoes and futuristic platform agendas. Contrary to what Mr. Boafo would have his audience and associates believe, what is really at stake here is which major political party can put bread and butter or, better yet, foo-foo and yor-ke-gari on the dining table, not speeches and promises. Were the latter that fetching, President Mahama would not be so desperately borrowing left and right, front and center in a bid to fulfilling extravagant and unrealistic promises made to the people, such the magical construction of 10 university colleges, 200 state-of the-art community secondary schools, hundreds of factories and health centers in a time span that only the mentally retarded can be made to believe. Maybe I am getting too old, but these things appear to me to be quite basic and obvious. The New Patriotic Party was in power for some 8 years, and so one is inclined to believe that the leaders of the party fully appreciate what it takes to manage the affairs of an economically deprived and depressed people as a means of convincingly demonstrating that they have what it takes to get the country working again, as the party’s 2016 presidential candidate prefers to put it.

I will come back to fully discuss it, but the fact of the matter is that merely telling the people that you would not steal their money, or rob them bloody and raw, if voted into power makes for good, and even superb, rhetorical presentations, but it does not in any meaningful way translate into a viable development agenda. That must be pragmatized and operationalized for anyone who cares to see, know and experience. And this can, of course, be effectively realized once one has been mandated or empowered with the reins of governance. The dog-days of cheap talk suavely packaged as good politics have since long expired. Let us have the kind of politics that comes with chunks of meat on its bones and a lot of marrow within.