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Opinions of Thursday, 23 July 2020

Columnist: Ebi Bright

My president, your president, our president!

Ebi Bright, Parliamentary Candidate for Tema West, NDC Ebi Bright, Parliamentary Candidate for Tema West, NDC

My nickname and WhatsApp handle reads ‘Superwoman’ - and over the past few months, I have indeed come to value, confirm and own this description as I’ve stretched further my exploration of the possibilities and capabilities unique to women. Over the years I have juggled many hats and overseen quite a lot! Among the primary descriptions of my person at this time is ‘Parliamentary Candidate for Tema Central Constituency on the ticket of The NDC’.

As a Development Communicator (yes indeed that is what I primarily am by profession), my interest and training places me as a bridge within and between Communities and Development Partners - be they Governments, Businesses or Aid Organizations. This might explain to you why some of the heaviest burdens on my heart have been managing the significantly diverse population demographics within Tema Central Constituency - developing plans and articulate representation through research and consultations; applying social science to adequately identify and recognize the components of our social reality and to minimize marginalization of the entities within our boundaries, among many other attributes I bring to the ticket. Permit me to shelve the rest of this particular tangent for another time...

The Superpaper slums (one of 5 currently established and recognized shanty towns in Tema Central) has recently come under heavy political attack which has seen currently about 600 of its approximately 3000 settlers displaced. Needless to say, this is in ‘COVID ERA’ where the slightest sensitivity should not permit humans to be thrown out of an already poor habitation; their structures and belongings destroyed; and a whole community thrown into further enforced overcrowding without any support measures put in place by authorities. If there ever was a time for ‘social safety’ to be a paramount social policy and code of conduct, it is now! What happened to ‘relief and support packages’ from government etcetera? What happened to the government which made such a shambolic show of feeding ‘KayayeI’?

In the past few weeks of the voters registration exercise, I have witnessed abuse of power in too many diverse forms to mention. Disregard of simple agreed directives and rules of conduct and engagement agreed for the process of registration, and complete disregard for the rights and safety of Ghanaians. I have watched the increasing powerlessness of legitimate security agencies in the presence of ‘strange security personnel’ and the sheer shameless arrogance of persons who claim to have a separate law because “we are in power”. I have watched disbelievingly as ‘puffed up thugs in suits’ murdering the English language while spouting off lists of educational degrees and accolades speak against the grain of common sense and ordinary logic and display real passionate belief in what can only be described as foolish arguments. I’ve had cause to doubt that the greatest vision, immeasurable sacrifice and hard work can dig us out of this pit!

Anyways, between 10am and 12:00noon daily, after breakfast has been distributed and I’ve gotten a couple hours of administrative work in, I engage in the rote task of packaging lunch for about 250 persons working on the ongoing voters registration exercise. Working with a small team in our makeshift outdoor kitchen in an alcove linking my main house and boys quarters. On this Sunday the 19th of July, My volunteer PA, Lydia answers my phone and tells me that ‘His Excellency’ had called. I am proud to boast that I could ask “which one?” She didn’t say ‘Papa’ as I would immediately have assumed... she said “It’s John Mahama!” I quickly dropped my ladle and signaled for someone else to relieve me, washed my hands and grabbed my ‘epileptic phone’. The screen blinked and shivered for a good 2 minutes before stability allowed me to dial back.

The great Gonja Prince; The gentleman extraordinaire; A man who inspires me to be steadfast in my commitment to public service by his uncommon humility, vision and steadfastness, his unassuming wisdom, answered the call with that gentle voice that invokes calm and comfort. “Daddy...” I said, “this is Ebi”. “How are you dear?”. “Fine daddy”. (But maybe I could have burst into tears and poured out my frustrations... he asked after all!) He proceeded to ask what was happening in my Constituency? He had heard there was some significant trouble... Ha!!! Fellow citizens! What an opening!! An opportunity!!! Don’t waste the ‘Saviour’s’ time! I gave my report as quickly and briefly as I could and with his usual gentle and reassuring way he did promise to come to us shortly.

Barely 48 hours later, on Tuesday the 21st of July, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama had arrived with plenty! Accompanied by The Honourable National Chairman of The NDC and an array of Party leadership - To poor me and my poor and abused neighbors. Items carefully chosen to elicit celebration and presented with a lot of respect and consideration for our common humanity. Not leftovers of unappetizing and unappealing food... I was proud! This is the man whose ticket I am proud to fly on in my Constituency! This is the man who has made all progressives proud, confused and silenced the traditional oppressors - by his choice of running mate. This is a man whose person is fragranced with Respect for all, Love and Peace.

Mr. President, The poor in Tema Central have proof that even as we would strive to restore our Community to its past glory and beyond, they will not be left behind. They will be a part of your plan for all of Ghana. Your vision and legacy in Healthcare and Infrastructure which saw the Port Expansion, Maritime Hospital, Asphalting of our roads, and many more would find expression in Community renewal of our Social and Business Environment; Healthcare as befits our unique positioning and value; A new age of business and vibrant Industrial revolution for our Heavy and Light Industrial areas; Renewed Corporate - Community Relations; Education and Skill Acquisition; Recognition and Support for our Award-winning and hardworking farmers and support for our significant Sports and Creative Talents.

So we say thank you! From all of us in Tema Central. But we must stress that it is expressed with a lot more demands of your time and attention. As you yourself have seen, we need you! We hope for you! We love you and support your vision and expect to see and have more of you! We would proceed to press for more of us and our concerns in the Great Vision of yours and are humbled that you look out for us, you see us, recognize us, and RESPOND readily to us! May The Almighty perfect it all!

In Love and Comradeship.