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Opinions of Thursday, 23 July 2020

Columnist: Anthony Obeng Afrane

Opposition's proposed motorbikes strategy for campaign game changer?

Motorbikes used for commercial purposes Motorbikes used for commercial purposes

Folks, I just finished reading “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, and there are some eye-popping insights I would like to share.

“The Art of War” is an influential work of military strategy that has affected both Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking. The author, Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher.

Strategies for political campaigns are very similar to that of warfare, and I find the NDC parliamentary candidate for Sisala West, Mohammed Sukparu’s call that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the dynamics of political campaigns which will no longer make large-crowd rallies feasible, and that there is the urgent need to adopt innovative means to make good use of the scarce resources available to the party such as the use of motorbikes for house-to-house campaigns, and his proposal to the National Executive Council of his party to use more motorbikes for its 2020 campaign very appropriate.

In fact, my heart lept after comparing what the NDC parliamentary candidate said, to similar strategies by General Sun Tzu in his book “The Art of War.” Hear him: “In preparing for war, first lay plans which will ensure victory, and then lead your army to battle; if you will not begin with stratagem but rely on brute strength alone, victory will no longer be assured”

He continues, “All warfare is based on deception, your ability to outwit your enemy is your trump card; attack where your enemy is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. You ought to vary your tactics to the utmost degree.” General Tzu says more, “Victory is the only thing that matters, and this cannot be achieved by adhering to conventional canons. Take advantage of the enemy’s unreadiness, make your way by unexpected routes, and attack unguarded spots.”

In summary, what the astute General is saying is that to be victorious in any campaign, whether warfare or political, you have to vary your tactics based on the exigencies of the time, and not adhering to conventional general principles. And this is exactly what Hon. Mohammed Sukparu is referring to. Kikikikiki, I will call him General Mohammed Sukparu.

There are more benefits of using motorbikes, the average cost of a good pickup car is in the range of GHC180,000. This can buy about 45 motorbikes for every constituency, and you can imagine what 45 motorbikes can do in each constituency.

The foot soldiers who will be using the bikes at the branch levels could be promised that if they work hard to ensure victory, the motorbikes will be given to them as ex-gratia. Walahi, this will boost the spirit of cooperation among party activists, and chai, some of them will literally kill themselves to ensure victory. Truthfully, this is a warfare tactics. Read what General Tzu says about that:

“In warfare you will not succeed unless your men have tenacity and unity of purpose, and, above all, a spirit of sympathetic cooperation.

Rewards are necessary in order to make the soldiers see the advantage of beating the enemy; thus, when you capture spoils from the enemy, they must be used as rewards, so that all your men may have a keen desire to fight, each on his own account.”

Given the above strategies by General Sun Tzu in connection with how to win a campaign, I can confidently say that General Sukparu’s proposal of using motorbikes instead of cars in the NDC’s 2020 presidential and parliamentary campaigns is going to be the game changer.