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Opinions of Sunday, 28 December 2008

Columnist: Atta-Boakye, Ken

Let’s Face It Concerned Ghanaians

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On Dec 28, 2008 Ghana is heading off towards a Presidential run-off elections between the ruling NPP and the stronger NDC. Interestingly, it is not the first of its kind. A similar run-off occurred between the same parties in 2000 where the NPP won decisively as an opposition. Will history repeat itself for the opposition, NDC to takeover from the incumbent NPP? It is a million-dollar question that can only be answered by analyzing the facts available.

People naturally resist change. A change comes about when there is an overwhelming need for it. Eight years ago Ghanaians changed the ruling NDC because there was an overwhelming need to do so. There were human right abuses just as the government couldn’t cope with the existing economic crisis and the economy was grinding to a halt. Thus in the 2000 parliamentary elections the opposition won impressive majority: 128 seats as against 94 seats of the ruling NDC. When there was a run-off between the NDC and the NPP, all the minor parties garnered support for the opposition. The opposition won with a clear 52.7% majority and took-over the reigns of government from the NDC.

The recent Dec 7, 2008 elections did not demonstrate a clearer victory for the opposition, NDC. They won more seats (113) than the ruling NPP (109) though. This minor win will not give the NDC the 116 majority they need to push their programs through without the opposition encroaching upon their successes. Parliament is going to be tight and tough for the next incoming govt. In the Presidential elections the ruling NPP almost won one-touch victory with 49.4% as against 47.6% of the opposition, NDC. Thus the people have been very hesitant to change the ruling NPP in spite of the fact that they are angry with the NPP. Even in the upcoming run-off, unlike the previous 2000 run-off, the minor parties have refused to come together to garner support to defeat the ruling NPP. Endorsement is a split between the two parties. It only sends a clear message to the NPP that there is a stronger party in the wait and that they better get their act together.

Ghanaians are happy with the successes NPP has been able to chalk so far. But as lady Lydia Polgreen said in the New York Times on Tuesday Dec 23, 2008: ‘The African giant (Ghana) has a feet of clay’ NPP has been able to manage the macro-economics successfully: New roads- trunk and feeder, have been constructed massively over the country, the school feeding program even if it is only in few schools half a loaf is better than none, the national health insurance scheme that replaced the killer ‘cash and carry’ has benefited and saved lots of lives, the freedom of expression and the democratic atmosphere that prevails in the country, the good image that Ghana carries abroad cannot be doubted and the list can go on and on. But ‘with-a-feet of clay’ they have allowed several negatives to knock them off their feet. The arrogance of title identifications- Honorables! Honorables! Honorables! And their inability to live up to their constituency assignments, the massive allegations of corruption and the general economic hardships that cannot be wholly blamed on them because it is global issue have all come together to affect the recent election results. It is uncertain if there is need for a change. NPP has done practically better.

When NPP and NDC are compared and contrasted many things come to the surface. NPP has demonstrated the ability to deliver and to provide good governance. NPP has lifted the flag of Ghana high and has created an open environment for businesses. NDC with JJ Rawlings as an albatross for Prof Atta Mills, Ghana cannot take chances. JJ should desist from the ‘boom speeches’ that discredit the nation as a former President. NDC is anti-business and would set the clock of progress backwards. Truly, NDC should give themselves four more years in opposition to demonstrate that they have turned over a new leaf. They cannot campaign on their perceived acts of violence. Let’s face it NDC has not done enough soul-searching to warrant the political change they are asking for.

Ken Atta-Boakye Woodbridge, Va, 22191 attaboakye@yahoo.com