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Opinions of Sunday, 21 December 2008

Columnist: Karikari, Isaac

First Round of Election ’08: A Comparative Analysis

Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel and The First Round of Ghana’s Election ’08: A Comparative Analysis.

Isaac Karikari

The Lion and The Jewel is one of Wole Soyinka’s many plays. It is one which I believe is not foreign to many students of English and others who are simply avid readers.

The plot is so simple-in a certain village is this beautiful girl, beautiful enough to cause heads to turn including that of the chief. The chief is not the only one interested enough to make overtures. There is the village school teacher too. What makes things more interesting is that the girl, the jewel, is undecided and both the chief and the teacher stand an equal chance of having her. However anytime the teacher gets the opportunity to chat her up he adopts an approach of using his ‘big’ and ‘strange’ words to fascinate her. In the end he proves himself an interesting character, one who can captivate. He also shows his brilliance so far as English is concerned. Regardless of all that he shows and proves he is unable to do that which is very necessary-that is, woo the girl by making a serious proposal through coherent speech. So in the end it is the chief, old and lacking the lustreness of the youthful teacher, who ends up with the girl. How does he do it?

He simply uses his wit and cunning.

In the first round of the elections I would say the NPP acted more like the teacher and the NDC more like the chief.

Let me just ‘chip’ this in:

The NPP led in the first round and though some might attempt playing it down I believe the implication is worth noting. The NPP is still popular and apparently the people’s first choice despite the clamouring for change.

Let me now get back on track. They acted like the teacher because whenever they had the opportunity to ‘say something’ to the jewel (the electorate in this case) they would rather hop and slide backwards and forth, kangarooing. They did do some talking alright but not with the tenacity of a party that is serious about staying in power. The past record may be ok but I believe Ghanaians (not every Ghanaian though) really wanted to see some seriousness about moving the country forward. No matter how good your intentions and plans may be it is necessary to articulate them well. Kangarooing wasn’t the best way to articulate ones plans.

Prof Mills and his team on the other hand acted like the chief. They displayed great tact and wit. I believe the door-door idea worked really well. There may be contentions as to the issues raised and used in those campaigns. That notwithstanding they proved to be the more tenacious of the two hence that impressive showing in the first round. With the run-off just a little over a week away I’m just watching, seeing if the NPP will go kangarooing again or this time show much more seriousness. The run-off will tell.