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Opinions of Saturday, 6 December 2008

Columnist: Akosah-Sarpong, Kofi

Going up or down with Akufo-Addo’s ship

By Kofi Akosah-Sarpong

I am by inclination more of a centrist. That means I can mentally wheel around and become a contrarian but still circle around as centrist. It may sound complicated but you have to be a journalist who have seen a lot to have such a mind. As a trained journalist, with years of experience, this has helped me as a professional balancer, or, as they theorize in the profession, objective.

Save for as contended in the journalism, objectivity can be debatable depending on the philosophical position of the journalist or the nation he/she works in. The mind of the Canadian or Cuban journalist will be different from that of the Ghanaian journalist. It is this background that has lead me to rationalize that I am going up or down with Nana Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The reasons? It is born out of the realities as national as well as it is regional. I am not talking about opinion polls or media consensus that it’s over for the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s flagbearer, John Atta-Mills. I am talking about issues on the ground and how for the good part of Ghana’s corporate existence its elites have not thought about their country well enough to the point that it appears we have no thinkers who can think from within their cultural values to the global prosperity ideals – a view held by the rest of the world.

I shall not be part of this contrasting crew. I will go up or down with the Nana Akufo-Addo ship for his rich personal democratic struggles and the policies he has made based on the fact that he has shown credible grasp of Ghana as a development project. He seriously exudes deep inclinations for democratic growth as vehicle for progress. I have am enjoying such positive attributes as a Ghanaian-Canadian and wish such for my homeland Ghana. Akufo-Addo’s grip in tackling the economy, freedoms, democracy and cultural challenges will bode well for Ghana’s progress. There is no way in loosing one’s bearings in putting Akufo-Addo at the Golden House Jubilee.

Politics is more about comparison, and so is progress. First, the NDC, campaigns has been taken over by ex-President Jerry Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang, instead of its flagbearer, John Atta-Mills, and his vice, John Mahama. Despite the Rawlingses pulling more crowds, they do not talk much sense, neither have they shown any detail grasp in solving Ghana’s development challenges. Sadly, this is despite being in power for almost 20 years.

Despite their respective ages – 60-something years old – they haven’t shown any maturity in their behaviour as demanded by Ghanaian tradition and human civilization. Their campaign statements are overwhelmingly riddled with immaturity, fear, doom, insults, character assassination, threats, confusion, harassments, and incitements. How does Nana Konadu’s remarks that Akufo-Addo isn’t the biological father of his daughters got to do with “a country which has plentiful natural water resources,” as the BBC reports, but “a large part of the population still doesn't have access to clean water and some of the poorest Ghanaians pay a quarter of their income on purchasing it.”

The erratic temperament of Jerry Rawlings is as of concern as his incitement of the police to arrest President John Kufour. By nature prone to disorder, Rawlings’ hurried calling of parallel national security meeting with his ex-security chiefs in his house in the face of some political violence brought into nostalgia nightmares of violent military coups, bloodshed, dark historical episodes, deaths, fear, threats and harassments. The fact is, Rawlings own violent statements and his generally bad behaviour that haven’t been condemned by the NDC make the NDC not intellectually, morally, culturally, emotionally and spiritually matured to rule Ghana.

Ghanaians shouldn’t countenance such unGhanaian behaviour that violates our cultural values. The case for Nana Akufo-Addo is straight forward. Still struggling as a poor developing Third World country where life expectancy hovers around 59.1 years, Akufo-Addo has demonstrated the understanding and the inclination to build up on President John Kufour’s successful economic record. Ghanaians have generations-long struggled with myriad confused economic policies and poor management.

During the almost 20-year P/NDC rule it appears the Ghanaian economy was standing still, refusing to progress in an atmosphere of unfreedoms, fear, unrealistic economic policies and images of anti-business and anti-investment. For almost 20 years, Ghana under the P/NDC had a Gross Domestic Product of US$4 billion. Under the NPP since 2004 the GDP has grown to US$16 billion.

Who do you want to continue the management of the economy? A P/NDC that was confused in managing Ghana shifting from socialism to Marxism to social democracy to capitalism, elitism and back to socialism? A P/NDC that because of its terrible record of human rights violations, deaths, threats and harassments is afraid to campaign on freedoms, democracy and rule of law? A P/NDC that despite executions and other human rights abuses on its much trumpeted anti-corruption mission ruled for almost 20 years in immense secrecy without transparency, accountability and due process that left Ghana saw the most looting of its wealth?

Or do you want a man who is the most prepared, most knowledgeable, most serious development thinker in Ghana? A man who not only has the best instincts, but has the honour and the courage, yes, to put Ghana first, as when he confronted deadly military juntas that eventually saw the dawn of genuine democracy? Can you be serious about Ghana’s progress and vote on December 7 to invite the dreadful P/NDC to power?

Today’s Ghana progress, as its painful history teaches us, will not just advance if the P/NDC is put back again at the Golden Jubilee House, for the barbarians are still at the gates. Whom do you want at the stockade? For my person, my vast extended family, my Asante ethnic group, my nation-state Ghana, the African continent, I am for Nana Akufo-Addo who can tell the lamb from the dogs.