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Opinions of Friday, 7 October 2016

Columnist: Africanus Owusu-Ansah

The 2016 race heats up

By Africanus Owusu-Ansah

“Political parties and politicians seek power to implement policies that will bring transformation to the lives of the people. The people for whom they seek that power ought to determine what their needs are but not the other way round”.

Joseph Wilful: Executive Chairman: Financial Accountability and Transparency – Africa

The NDC will have been in power for eight (8) years, by the close of this year (2016). The President, John Dramani Mahama will have held executive power (as Vice President and President) for the same period (8 years). The Constitution (1992) says in Article 66: “A person elected as President…shall hold office for a term of four years…A person shall not be elected to hold office for more than two terms”.

Interestingly, Article 60 says (7)” Where the unexpired term served by the Vice President …exceeds half the term of a President, the Vice President is subsequently only eligible to serve one full term as President”.

If one adds the period between 1992 and 2000 (the Rawlings’s era) that will make sixteen (16) years of the Fourth Republic. Counting back to the PNDC days, the precursor of NDC, whose leader, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, the owner of NDC had held sway of the country for eleven (11) years, that is 1981 – 1992, the total will be twenty seven (27) years.

It is heart – warming that the NDC can mention to their credit infra – structural developments in the form of schools (whose earlier statuses were ‘schools under trees’), universities, polytechnics, roads and highways, hospitals (you name them). Now, whoever mentions these infrastructural developments is not doing “an exercise in mediocrity”, unlike Kufuor’s time.

Let us give the NDC a chance again, and they will build on the ‘foundation’ they have started – at least 8 years ago. The obvious question is which government does not do this? Or, why do we elect people to run a government? Or, does the money come from their pockets?( Dr Nkrumah had his passage from Europe to Ghana paid for by the UGCC, because he had no money on his own. Later, he was able to build Akosombo Dam, Tema Motorway, et cetera. Some thinking!)

These are all benign for the common good (‘le bien commun’). So the President and his men (and women) are going round the country to tell people the things they have fixed for us. The promises are many and wonderful: five (5) additional regions – to make a total of 15! Fantastic. Nana Addo should nudge himself to be awake when travelling on the roads President Mahama has constructed.

The President’s men are on their part campaigning in their various Constituencies, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, M.P. for the Odododiodio Constituency, could not resist showing the pugilistic vim in him when he launched his campaign at Bukom Park, Accra: he appeared restless at the launch which also included the launching of his version of the ‘Green Book’, depicting his own achievements.

Alfred Okoe (Abodwese) Vanderpuye was visible. So was Ade Coker, NDC’s Greater Accra Regional Chairman. Of course, the ubiquitous Koku Anyidoho, the NDC Deputy General Secretary could (or would) not hide.

Perhaps the greatest news was made at Tamale where Alhaji Inusah Fuseini launched his campaign. Shatta Wale, Ghana’s most glamorous dance hall musician performed live. He was reported to have been paid a whopping GH¢80,000 – an allegation Alhaji Inusah has denied.

Even if any amount was paid, the person doing so was a friend and sympathizer (phantom or otherwise). ‘Money swine’, that is what we used to say when we were young. Now, we are old, or euphemistically speaking, ‘elderly’, and ‘Mahama papers’ may be an appropriate pseudonym. And fuel coupons flew, or was it something else? You and I were not there, so we should be careful not to fall into DAILY GUIDE’s path and be sued alongside it.

But how come Alhaji Fuseini and his aide were speaking differently? Alhaji Fuseini: “I don’t even know Shatta Wale…” Hamza Shuyini (aide): “Shatta Wale’s appearance at Saturday’s launch was purely based on the minister’s relationship with him”.

But 16 other presidential aspirants have vowed to give President Mahama a run for his money. These include of course, Nana Akufo Addo who, with Dr Bawumia, have not only said ‘the battle is the Lord’s”, but claims to be revealing what could have been done with the SADA, GYEEDA, Isofoton, Woyome money: one District, one factory; one Village, one dam.

Nana Addo is accused of being greedy for power, perhaps, over – ambitious? Mark Anthony says: “Ambition should be made of sterner stuff”, that is, ambition should come from a person who was ‘harsh’, not Caesar who was ‘kind – hearted’. President Mahama who had been an MP, a Minister, a Vice – President (4 years), a President (- 4 years) is not greedy for power! Of course, to Nana Addo, Mahama is “the biggest threat to the nation”. What has President Mahama done for people who share drinking water with cattle?

And Akua Donkor is in the news again. This time round, she has selected her running – mate, Mrs Patricia Asante, a 32 year old JHS leaver, and a food crop farmer of Huni Valley. Perhaps to Akua Donkor, Article 62 of the 1992 Constitution does not apply to vice Presidential candidates or she cannot be bothered by the Constitutional mandate for 40 years. Are we serious?

While Rawlings’s daughter, Ezenator is fighting for the Klottey Korle Constituency, his wife, Nana Konadu is going for the presidential slot with her National Democratic Party. Where does J.J. go? If anyone thought Nana Konadu’s campaign was a fluke, check her outing on the TV programme and Class FM: “I saw them (government) commissioning a school in Derma (Brong Ahafo).

The population in Derma is not more than 300 people (but) the school that has been put there can house over 5000 people. Is that what we want our monies to be used for?”Asiedu Nketia throws a rhetorical question to his interviewer on Joy FM: “If J.J. Rawlings was your father, would you allow him to be on the campaign trail of NDC, at his age? Some people thought J.J. Rawlings was only 69 and he does not look frail.”

Dr Edward Mahama and his running mate have a good message for Ghanaians: school children are promised free chicken to be added to their menu under the School Feeding Programme, but advises us: “You cannot go into the National Democratic Congress without becoming corrupt as a leader”, charging NDC as “systematically and technically corrupt”.

The leader of the CPP, Ivor Greenstreet, had warned NDC at their Congress at Baba Yara Stadium: “Nobody is feeling your better Ghana “. He was criticized by Alban Bagbin as being possessed by demons. Henry Lartey who took up his father’s mantle (Domestication) has not deviated from the path set by his father. Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom of the PPP has a single message: Vote for the person who has shown practically that he can get you jobs—and he has many establishments, engaging a good number of graduates and school leavers.

The rest of the candidates appear not to have been caught in this web of vigorous campaigning. How I wish Akwasi Addae (Odike) of the UFP and Agyenim Boateng (Gyataba) would get a place on the D-Day. They are people some of us know and who know some of us very well. A good position in their government could be assured. But some people have their doubts.

Writer's e-mail: africanusoa@gmail.com