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Opinions of Sunday, 11 November 2012

Columnist: Abubakari, Shuk

Nana Akufo-Addo Must Start Playing Dirty

– The Lesson From Obama Re-Election

I hope that, Mr Akufo-Addo has learnt from President Obama’s successful presidential election campaign. Indeed, there is much that Nana Akufo-Addo can draw from Barak Obama’s Victory.

One of the reasons why Barak Obama was able to persuade American voters to give him a second term despite high unemployment and record fiscal deficit was that he was able to campaign both fair and dirty when he needs to and was ready and able to vilify and smeared his opponent, Mitt Romney.

That any alien visitor from space, hearing some of the extreme negativity on policies both Obama and Romney were alleged to support would have wondered why they are not in jail rather than being a candidate in USA election

Obama’s victory is yet more remarkable and startling because Mr Obama won despite more than half the American electorate believing their economy was on the wrong track. More than half blamed his predecessor, George W. Bush, for the country’s economic calamity.

Obama’s election victory also tells us that a candidate can still triumph in election despite record unemployment, extreme corruption or decaying economy.

Sadly, this USA election also proves that negative election campaigning works.
It should also serves as a warning to Nana Akufo-Addo John Mahama can still win this election despite the current economic environment in the country and that struggling valiantly to win the heart and mind of Ghanaian electorate with promises of radical economic and educational policies will not be enough to secure his election to the presidential palace.

Here, in Ghana the foundation for our current economic disaster were laid by the NDC government. Professor Atta Mills, the prime architect, may have gone to his political grave (literally and figuratively): however, all his chief accomplices are still very much on the scene.

Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, the current vice president, was Prof Mills’ principal economic adviser (Amissah-Arthur was the 12th Governor of Bank of Ghana from October 2009 to August 2012) and he helped design and implement ex-president Mills catastrophic policies.
Thus the opposition must relentlessly use Mr Amissah-Arthur as a target as they blame NDC for our economic debacle and for its absence of a coherent alternative policy under President John Mahama
As Mr Obama found, it doesn’t matter that your own policy may not be much cop — you simply have to make people recall who created the mess in the first place.

Mr Amissa-Arthur aside, John Mahama must be the NPP’s main target. He, too, was a Vice President in the late Prof Mills administration which went on its massively destructive economic policies after 2008.

Regrettable though it may be aggressive personal attacks have become an important weapon in modern electioneering.
Nana Akufo-Addo is being maligned daily for his wealth and his family name, and President Mahama has his own Achilles’ heel.
Take, for example, the suspicious way his brother Edward Mahama accumulated billions of Ghana cedis from government funded contracts.

If the president brother had traded and used his family position to win government funded contracts in America, President Obama would come under remorseless attack, with his moral conduct put through the mincer. The NPP must never stop trying to exploit their opponents’ deep character flaws. NPP political strategists must also spread the truth that President Mahama is a beneficiary of Free education in the north been a former student of Ghana Secondary school (GHANASCO) in Northern Region.

As one commentator on American election observed: ‘no element of a candidate’s life, upbringing or personality is considered out of bounds by their enemies’
If adopted here in Ghana, I fear that such negative campaigning would lower the tone of Ghanaian politics, even beyond the depths it has reached already.
However, the NPP should be aware that if they desist from personal attacks, their NDC opponents will almost certainly target prominent NPP members’ character flaws, their privileged backgrounds, mistakes and failures.
And the final lesson from American election, by the way, is that there is no sense in waiting until near polling day to go negative. As with all poison, the sooner it is dripped into the system, the sooner it begins to work.