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Opinions of Friday, 29 February 2008

Columnist: Manu, Bernard Afreh

Ghana Votes 2008: Who beats the finishing tape?

‘ Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their backs on the fire and burn their behinds, then they would have to sit on their blisters’. - Abraham Lincoln

Unfolding before our very eyes is politics like never before. The political turf has assumed new dimensions. The gladiators are readying for battle. They know the race to ascend the presidential seat takes guts and gumption with no mean amount of ego. It is no wonder spin doctors have emerged top on the scale of preferences. Printing presses are also laying finish touches to those software-effect pictures on those posters full of catchy mission statements. Politics is all about scheming. strategies, intrigues and manoeuvrings and that perhaps explain why loans have been sourced to buy enough oil to lubricate the propaganda machines. I am told, miscreants and hoodlums, who no thanks to Indian hemp, have developed dilated eyes are been trained for unforeseen circumstances. The fact that pundits have chosen to be tight-lipped is understandable. They have little idea as to who would finally breast the finishing tape. Taking on the role of an impartial umpire, I present some shortcomings of four of the contenders.


This man’s participation in active politics passes for a fiery grass-to-grace tale. From a ‘common’ Assemblyman, he has risen to become presidential candidate on the platform of a powerhouse as CPP. I was there at the last CPP delegates conference and witnessed at close quarters virtually all proceedings. Looking at this man, with moustache that put some years on him, you could be forgiven to think he was a character in an Hindi movie. I do not intend to impugn his integrity. Truth be told, the ideas he put across were commonplace. His enunciations lacked oomph and bite and dreadfully sedate that if they were turned into kinetic energy they could hardly move a feather. Series of questions raced through my mind: Where is this man’s political sagacity? Was he interested in making name by beating new-comer Akosa? Why did he campaign against Aggudey in the last elections? Some posers actually need more answers. It remains to see how he would turn the tables and thaw even 5% of the ice.


Every line on the face of this politician bespoke determination and one ready to defy all odds. ‘Kumepreko’ march is instructive. His experience is unparallel and claims grassroots popularity. His roughneck tactics has more often endeared him to floating voters. In spite of these enviable attributes, analysts say his fiery temperament, which is in the same league with Mugabe could be his pitfall. They also assert that offering him the driver’s seat of our country is akin to sentencing the nation to the medieval ages; he would damage the polity and bastardize the psyche of electorate. The forecast goes to show that he would seize control of the apparatuses of state power without protest and unleash canons on opposition. How truth are these? I do not really buy those aspersions, but with the CJA highlighting dark realities on the fact that most people are holding tenaciously and precariously at the end of the survival sticks, it triggers a bout of migraine in this politician. The drug scandal also makes some interest. When rumours inches closer to certainty and then metamorphoses to become a fact, it surely would leave tongues wagging. In advanced countries, a citizen needed only deliver a miniscule of information to the angecies, thereafter, cops and detectives would then swing into investigative action. Not so in Ghana. You have to place the cart before the horse.


I wonder why a man struggling to put his house in order would still relish dreams of mounting the presidential seat. Before you hurl insults at me, here is proof. Could you imagine that fees charged at this man’s hospital rank among the highest in the country? Despite pleas from neighbours, the principal street linking up his hospital is still so bumpy and riddled with potholes that it would be an understatement to call it a blight of macadam. To political analysts, this man is a vacuum of ideas. They also say he does have the tact to rule a village, nay country. You hardly hear him comment on national issues, even if he had any. I simply cannot understand why he only re-surfaces during elections after sojourning in the political wilderness. What more could be better known as a gross slip of the tongue, than when he promised his delegates of getting the presidential visa. It is no need hiring someone adept at reading the writing on the wall. I advise he had better joined those political comedians or expect sympathetic votes from family members.


You could hardly source a shred of fault against this academia. Antagonists have had no quibble than his exaggerated eye problem. His prudence with national resources with common knowledge and little wonder, his name is mentioned in reverential tones among Ghanaians. He is peerless in every sense of the word. In all of the years in opposition, you never saw or heard him throw verbal fire-crackers at anyone. Even in the face of hateful words, he would not utter a single syllable, let alone a concise word. There is something nauseating about calling a spade, a long spoon. Mills is a captain of his own soul and those proclaiming that he surrender the instruments and faculties of the presidency to the ex-president are only been naïve. The Atta Mills I know, is not the kind who would fritter away the state resources in handouts to bands of parasites. He is not one who would stare down at pensioners when confronted with unpaid settlements. He is not a meek lamb as propagandists would have us to believe; the academia actually believes in moral rectitude. He manifested his large heartedness when he chose to accept whichever results came on board in 2004.

In Africa, the masses wallow in abject poverty, partly due to the fact that in times of elections, some deluded souls posturing as angels present Greek gifts to electorate. To recoup the monies they spent on campaign, they stash so much monies to heights that leaves the coffers pale. Some even throw away the mode of riding on the crest of the electorate to office.

It is my prayer, the electorate settle on the best candidate. The destiny is in our hands!

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