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Opinions of Saturday, 2 August 2014

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Diagnosis of Akufo-Addo's Electoral Chances in 2016

- Part 1

Looking at the level of mismanagement of the economy and hardship imposed on Ghanaians by the ruling NDC, it is no gainsaying that Ghanaians are yearning for the return of NPP into government. However, the fact that Ghanaians want the NPP in power does not mean anybody at all should be presented as the party's Presidential Candidate. Nana Addo, our best bet for both Election 2008 and Election 2012 has been rejected thrice at the polls (run-off included). He took the NPP from power into opposition and retained the party in opposition in his second attempt. In spite of this, one school of thought argues that Nana Addo should be given a fourth time opportunity in 2016. This write-up assesses Nana Addo's chances, and advises NPP delegates to be circumspect in their choice of the next flag-bearer for the party.

1. AKUFO-ADDO WON, BUT WAS CHEATED SO WHY CHANGE

Every election has its own issues. We need change to ensure that we are not cheated again. Remember, the "thief" who "stole" for John Rawlings in 1992, John Kufuor in 2000, John Mills in 2008, and John Mahama in 2012 will still be around in 2016. What is the guarantee that Akufo-Addo won't be cheated again in 2016? Just as it is the responsibility for a football coach to win a match, so it is for a Presidential Candidate to win elections. Alan will make sure that the NDC cannot cheat in 2016. He would resource the polling agents in terms of proper training and money. He will make sure all the votes recorded on the 26,002 pink sheets are collated. This will put the party in a position to challenge any vote difference by the Electoral Commission. The same will be applied to the parliamentary election results. But, if indeed the 2012 elections were "stolen", why blame Kufuor, Alan, and Polling Agents? Why change both Jake Lamptey and Sir John as party Chairman and General Secretary respectively? Why did Akufo-Addo declare "All die be die"? And were the parliamentary seats also stolen for the NPP? The NPP was in power in 2008, but Nana Addo lost. Was the 2008 election also stolen, when Nana Addo took lead in the first round? What is the sense in entrusting and your destiny or property to somebody only to be told that it had been stolen not for the first time, but for the second time in succession? The above questions are worth-answering.

2. THE GRASSROOTS, MPs, AND PARTY EXECUTIVES ARE ROOTING FOR NANA

The fact that these pro-Nana groups are rooting for him does not mean the Ghanaian populace need him as their president. The NPP as a party should look beyond the election of a mere flag-bearer. These groups have been rooting for Nana since 2007, but the party is still in opposition. Most of these people are also pretenders, because they fear they may lose their parliamentary seats, if they align themselves to other camps. What the NPP actually needs is how woo other non-NPP members into its camp in order to secure victory. I would have been more comfortable, if the crowd at Nana Addo's campaign launch included defectors from opposing parties. But, it ended up with same crowd, same message, same running-mate, and same Nana Addo. What has really changed?

3. DO GHANAIANS NEED THE NPP OR NANA ADDO IN POWER?

Ghanaians need the NPP in power, but not Akufo-Addo as person. They need the NPP because of its record of achievements in government between 2001 and 2009. The NHIS, free maternal care, mass cocoa spraying exercise, school feeding programme etc are still fresh in their minds. The three times rejection of Akufo-Addo at the polls is clear testimony that, they don't need him as the president. It is better to get a Candidate who appeals to the general Ghanaian populace. The fact that the voters chose Mahama's "Edey bee k3k3" over Nana Addo's free SHS in Election 2012 gives credence to the fact that, the NPP's Candidate was not the people's choice.

4. AKUFO-ADDO IS NOT CORRUPT SO HE CAN TACKLE CORRUPTION IN GHANA

The Ghanaian electorates have never voted for a perceived corrupt Candidate. All presidential aspirants brag about their selflessness and incorruptibility when in opposition. Which of them forfeited his/ex-gratia after serving as MPs? Presidential Candidates become 'corrupt' upon being elected as presidents. It happened to Rawlings, Mills, and Mahama. In fact, Mills was portrayed by his surrogates as "angel", but corruption through the payment of dubious judgement debts was akin to his administration. Rawlings vowed to make both the rich and the poor equal after his coup d'état; Kufuor declared zero tolerance for corruption; Mills promised to prosecute his ministers cited for corruption without waiting for evidence. Has corruption been eliminated in the system? No! When Asiedu Nketiah referred to 17 NPP presidential aspirants as "thieves", why didn't those preaching to be incorruptible take him to court? After leading the NPP for the past six (6) years, the NPP does not boast of a single vehicle. Whilst bicycles and motorbikes could not be accounted for, 150 party cars cannot be traced, not to talk about the 2012 Campaign funds. We demand proper accountability in the NPP before anybody talks about tackling corruption in government. Charity, they say, begins at home.

5. DOES AGE COUNT IN GHANAIAN POLITICS?

Anything at all counts in Ghanaian politics. It is in the light of this that the 4th Republican Constitution debars Ghanaian citizens below the age of 40 years to contest presidential elections. Since the inception of the 1st Republic, no Candidate above the age of even 65 years had been elected as president of Ghana. Dr. Nkrumah - 47; Dr. Busia - 56; Dr. Limann - 46; John Rawlings - 45; John Kufuor - 62; John Mills - 64; and John Mahama - 54. The oldest president, John Mills, was the only one who could not complete his first 4-year term. How do these same voters vote for a 73-year old as president? Currently, the most advanced countries have the following as their leaders - Vladamir Putin of Russia - 61; Xi Jinping of China - 61; Shinzo Abe of Japan - 60; Angela Merkhel of Germany - 60; Tony Abbot of Australia - 57; Stephen Harper of Canada - 55; Barack Obama of USA - 53; David Cameron of Britain - 47. Their economies are far better than the economies of most African countries that have aged presidents - Zimbabwe, Liberia, and Malawi. Do Ghanaians want a Mugabe-type president in Ghana?

6. MILLS WON ON HIS THIRD ATTEMPT SO WHY CHANGE NANA?

Mills and Nana Addo are entirely two different personalities from different political groups. Mills was imposed on the NDC at Swedru; he was once a Vice President; he was a professor and nicknamed "Asomdweehene"; he changed his running-mate on three occasions (Martin Amidu, Mohammed Mumuni, John Mahama); his popular votes were appreciating as he lost - 44%, 48%, and 50.23%; he lost to only one Candidate in the person of J.A. Kufuor; he won not less than four regions; Mills was only 63 years on his third attempt; he didn't compete with an incumbent president on his third attempt. However, unlike Mills, Nana Addo was elected from out of 17 aspirants; he has maintained Dr. Bawumia as running-mate; his popular votes have been depreciating from 49.13% in 2008 to 47.74% in 2012; he has lost to two different candidates - Mills and Mahama; he will be competing against an incumbent government who had beaten him in previous election; he has maintained only two regions; he will be 73 years old on his third attempt. Apart from the above differences, participants of the 2016 general election will be different from those who voted in 2008. Mills was very incompetent leader, who paid dubious judgement debts to his cronies before he kicked the bucket. If we go by that logic, does it mean Nana too would emulate Mills' bad leadership? In summary, Mills proved that if you compete against the same opponent twice, you will lose. Mills then came up against a new Candidate, Akufo-Addo, and Mills won. In Ghana's history, no one has won against a candidate that they have previously lost to.

Let's all join the new group; Get Alan Kyerematen Elected (GAKE) on Sunday, August 3, 2014 at Rexmar Hotel in Kumasi, as we set to have out Maiden National Conference & Fundraising at 2pm. Part II of this article will be published tomorrow.

Vote Alan! Vote NPP!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri. Email: katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk
Mobile: 0547851100 : 0264931361 : 0202471070

"Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success"