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Opinions of Sunday, 2 November 2008

Columnist: Adusei, Alex A.

Smooth Sailing For Nana On December 7th;

African countries have gone through various economic and political crises and Ghana is no exception. The result is poverty on massive scale all around us. Have matters gotten any better in recent times? Well, there is a big push to change the destiny of Africans in this generation and Nana Akufo Addo and his NPP team are not leaving anything to chance. They are seeking the opportunity to move Ghana forward. The evidence is everywhere on the campaign trail.

Several political observers of the local scene were initially cynical about the winning chances of the NPP before and after the Legon congress last December. The largest opposition party, the NDC, suddenly had high hopes of closing the percentile gap to electoral victory when Hon. Alan Cash threatened to depart his beloved party. That false hope was short-lived since the NPP leaders rapidly dropped some egos to form a much dedicated team to mount campaign platforms. The NPP parliamentary primaries last July was fiercely contested by die-hard party members. Most of the losing Aspirants, including yours truly, pledged their total support to the lucky winners in that contest, with the exception of a very few who are still battling the stronger NPP machinery. The unexpected crisis at the Ashanti Akyem North constituency created by the demise of Hon. Baah Wiredu was quickly resolved. Now, the NPP is clearly poised for another smooth sailing come December 7th. The burning question is, what has helped the NPP to come this far so fast: is it their superior manifesto, the unshakable party machinery, pure luck, Nana Akufo Addo’s survival traits (he is an ex-boxer from Nima), or the constant yearning from the good people of Ghana to be liberated from poverty for ever? Brothers and sisters, I submit here that poverty really sucks, “ohia eeya”, and Ghanaians want better lifestyles in a modern Ghana. The opposition parties are seriously missing focus! The multiple propaganda attempts by the NDC have simply not helped its mission to regain political power. The aggressive personal attacks by Ex-President Rawlings heaped on President Kufuor’s government have effectively diverted much needed attention from Prof. Atta Mills and his campaign message. That is serious if, again, it leads him to lose the pending elections. It is remarkable, however, to realize that the personal / professional relationship between the professor and Nana Akufo Addo remains cordial, and the same could be said about their lucky running-mates who claim to be “brothers”. There have been incidental violent clashes among some supporters (the kowa de kowa factions) of both parties and such confrontations warrant further investigations by all peace seekers. There is also that notable situation where the Ashanti Regional chairman of the NDC openly invoked a river deity to punish anyone who maligns his party. Providentially, his NPP counterpart in that Region, Mr. Robert Amankwaah, has remained calm and has not retaliated.

The leadership of the CPP, on the other hand, has gone through ruthless internal turmoil before and after their last congress at KNUST. Their current campaign team has excluded some significant leaders (Dr. Akosa, Kwesi Pratt, Kweku Baaku, Bright Akwetey, F.A Jantuah, Freddie Blay, Sekou Nkrumah, and others), which looks like a repeat of their 2004 electoral trial when voters rejected them abysmally. Their current campaign slogan of “yeresesa mu” and “adwuma wura” equally sounds like empty barrels. Change must be for better, and newer jobs must be quality private jobs. Their campaign message is enshrined in the past achievements of one man, Dr. Nkrumah, and the revival of collapsed State-Owned factories largely sold by the Rawlings’ regimes. On the campaign trail at the vicinity of such defunct-factories, he worships Dr. Nkrumah for building those edifices but he is adamant to blame the PNDC/NDC for anything. The locals, who remember the atrocities, detentions, the heinous and the brutal nature of Ghana’s political history, find Dr. Nduom’s logic and ambition pretty strange indeed. Inadvertently, discerning Ghanaian voters are reminded of secret collaborations to hide any evidence of the chilling past of those two opposition parties.

The battle for votes has now shifted into high gear with key swinging votes as targets. The symbolic issues for the opposition parties are: political participation of women (catchy press announcements of female running-mates), blame-game for mass unemployment (na who causam), false accusation of corruption / mismanagement, proliferation of ethnic violence, reminders on oil-induced higher prices, and empty promises to eradicate illiteracy overnight. While the major opposition parties remain entrenched in such issues, the energetic Akufo Addo campaign team is sailing smoothly on visible major achievements of the current NPP government and promising to move Ghana forward into middle-class modern society of milk and honey. And guess what, the average Joe-the-plumber, the fitter, the farmer, market women and even the currently unemployed, all dream about making money and getting richer one day soon. There is a bloodless revolution (no need for coup’ de tat or back-door adventures) going on in Ghana today.

The deplorable impression created by Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and her women’s movement of an impending red-hot election rigging and mayhem thereafter, copied to foreign embassies, has generally been discredited by public commentary. She has been told that Ghana will not burn to ashes as being propagated by desperate politicians and night-hawks, expecting to execute Kenya style power-sharing agenda in Ghana. The latest choice of the number 3 spot by the NDC on the ballot paper has been described as Divine intervention by their supporters. One guy told me, third trial “na i na proper” and I simply told him, third fool “na i be fool ooo”. I have also heard some NPP supporters maintaining that it is erroneous to even consider the pending elections as the third presidential attempt for Prof. because the by-elections in 2000 should be accounted for. Guess again, what do most of the NPP supporters make out for the 1st position pick on the ballot by Jake for Nana? Good omen and smooth sailing, they insist.

The recent IEA political debate among the presidential candidates narrowly exposed them to close public scrutiny but the key lesson from that was showcasing their friendliness towards each other: politics should not be a do-and-die affair for us! Political pundits, however, have made various self-fulfilling inferences but so far, there is no empirical evidence to suggest ideological shifts by the critical floating voters. The final verdict will hit us in the face come December 7th. Bottom line is, we should all agree to disagree and so far, so good, don’t you think so? Long live Ghana!