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Opinions of Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Columnist: Asher, Bernard

Have your Turn, President Mills

There is no denying the fact that results of the run-off of the Ghanaian elections have been a source of great consternation and conundrum for bonafide supporters of the NPP among which I deem myself.

It is-indeed-sad that our great party has managed to disconnect from a significant number of the electorate who, for lack of a more plausible alternative, were compelled to run into the arms of the P (NDC). I encourage all supporters and sympathizers to take heart and not be discouraged; as the trial of our faith in good governance and the rule of law exhibited through this election defeat will serve to further strengthen our resolve rather than being a source of disillusionment. As we head for the opposition having been beaten only with a trivial victory we do so with our heads held high and take pride in the many successes we have achieved in the past 8 years. Lest we as a nation forget, its was only in the era of the NPP that true and basic freedoms became entrenched in Ghanaian political culture.

The reader must appreciate the fact that practices such as the appointment of a permanent Press Secretary as well as the sitting president meeting and conferring with the populace were novel ideas introduced by the NPP. Never in the history of the PNDC and its whitewashed derivative- the NDC- had there been the opportunity for the Ghanaian citizen to query government or the head of state about goings-on within a country that was supposed to be his own. It is worthy of mention that under the NPP administration this had become commonplace and-indeed-taken as granted.

Never in the last three decades had any ruling administration managed to stabilize the cedi in the same way as was accomplished by the NPP. Key macro economic indicators such as inflation and interest rate were finally given a reasonable amount of constancy. Other successes such as the school feeding program, the National Health Insurance Service, the unprecedented inflation-busting increases in lecturers’ incomes, the youth employment program, the attempts at establishing a public transport system lovingly dubbed the Kufour Transport (which offered free services to minors and pensioners) are all landmark achievements that make us proud as a party.

It is indubitably clear that somewhere somehow our good efforts did not meet the needs of all and sundry and to those whose expectations we failed to meet we say; we will do better next time! We have clearly heard the voice of the 50.73% of the populace that have repudiated our party and politics for the time being and to these we pledge to be a worthy opposition and to work to keep the government in check as it hopefully works to better the lot of the Ghanaian.

In archetypal sports-man-like fashion we applaud the imminent government of John Attah Mills and confess that he has been a laudable adversary. We,however,pray that in keeping with his numerous attempts at refuting the much-touted affirmation to “follow Chairman Rawlings 24/7” he manages to become his own man and not be remotely controlled by John Rawlings as he may be tempted to do. For what its worth it may suffice for him to know that many of us of the NPP do not oppose him personally but John Rawlings and the many atrocities this iniquitous ogre of a man masterminded during his 20 year statocratic rule.

Whiles respecting and acknowledging him as president we still resolve to strain every sinew in fearlessly and vigorously opposing him and his party where the need arises as well as commending him where it’s due. We hope that the many freedoms that have become so pedestrian to Ghanaians over the past 8 years are upheld and, indeed, assured for Ghanaians from all political complexions and persuasions and that he and his party manage to muster the courage and fortitude to, not only tolerate opposition but-live with the torrent of critique that is to be visited on his administration in the next four years- an art so masterfully accomplished by the Kufour Administration.

Above all I congratulate the good people of Ghana for organizing, conducting and supervising such an orderly electoral process. It is feats like these that enable Ghanaians in the dispersion like me to proudly proclaim our Ghanaian-ness to people in general but to fellow Africans in particular.

Despite my momentary disappointment there is no doubt that this is, indeed, a good time to be a Ghanaian and to the NPP supporters I say: TAKE HEART, FOR WE LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY!

Bernard Asher is a Lecturer of Business Management and Economics at the Guildford College of Higher Education, Guildford, England & an External Tutor at the University of Reading. Contact: basher @guildford.ac.uk