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Opinions of Saturday, 15 November 2008

Columnist: Adomakoh, Joseph Smith

The Art of Political Gimmickry of First Class Order

Introduction

At Akim Oda in the Eastern Region on Monday November 10, it was reported that Rawlings declared he will not wrestle power from Mills, if elected. But Ghanaians should “Beware of a wolf in a sheep’s skin”. Rawlings is saying all this, to sway voters to vote for the NDC, only to take power away from Mills if he wins; because no matter what he says his agenda is all too clear; to commandeer power from Mills. Remember Kwesi Atta-Krufi Hayford’s article “Buy Mills Get Rawlings Free”?

NDC Pattern of Gimmickry

Since January this year, the NDC has tried gimmicks upon gimmicks to sway voters but it does not seem to be working because, Ghanaians are not stupid. A case in point, in March this year, we learnt to our chagrin that the one time “defacto ruler of Ghana” Mrs. Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has given Dr. Mills ultimatum to choose Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu as his running mate in the upcoming presidential election or face the wrath of the party, if he fails to comply. Lo and behold, Dr. Mills defiantly rubbished Mrs. Rawlings’ warning and chose a running mate of his choice in the person of Mr. John D. Mahama – the distinguished gentleman and lawmaker from Bole-Bamboi which -- by design, was to vaporize the doubts Ghanaians have of Dr. Mills, vis-à-vis, his autonomy and the domineering presence of Mr. Rawlings, in Mills’s political universe.

But, upon careful review of those events it became apparently clear that the said ultimatum was just a political charade to win votes for the NDC. For, no sooner than Hon. Mahama’s selection, did Mr. Rawlings personally hailed Mills for his wonderful choice. Yet, a few days earlier, his wife publicly dared Dr. Mills to select Mrs. Iddrisu or else. And, with Mills defiance also demonstrated publicly, gave the impression that he was indeed not afraid of the ex-president and his wife, and thus has finally put to rest the daunting shadowy problem that has hunted him in his political career.

Fact is, from political analytical standpoint, no major party with the level of sophistication and caliber of the NDC will choose to bring a brewing controversy within the party to the public in the middle of a presidential campaign. This is because to expose any such political imbroglio publicly, at such a crucial time, clearly signals a weakness in that party’s leadership to effectively manage a winnable campaign for an election. Thus, with the stakes so high and the NDC’s strong eagerness to win the upcoming election, it will be suicidal to make such a blunder. Except of course, if the said blunder is part of the strategy for the party to win the election; which is the case in this situation.

In the art of political gimmickry, politicians tend to direct the attention of the public to one area while conjuring the effects of their intention unnoticed in another. Whether it is by dolling out cash to would-be voters or making false promises, the key to misdirection is to have the public focus on something other than the reality at hand. In this regard, and based on the application of information, we know that for far too long, Dr. Mills’ name has been synonymous with cowardice to which it has been chronicled in many a media of both print and electronics, with particular emphasis on his inability to stand up to the Rawlingses. The list goes on, some of them not very pleasant. Indeed, it for these reasons that victory has eluded him in his multiple bids for the presidency, with his extraordinary leadership skills, notwithstanding.

Nana/NDC’s Objective

Consequently, there is utmost urgency for the NDC to creating deceptive strategies and use them effectively to control the electorate in such a way that many will not ask obvious questions as to the motivation behind those strategies. Thus, the objective of Nana Konadu’s made-believed attack on the party’s flag bearer in the spring and, Dr. Mills’ subsequent rebuff thereof, was a strategy to sway the minds of the public into believing that Mills is a man of his own and therefore, if elected, Rawlings can neither bully him nor wrestle power from him. Nonetheless, the Konadu ultimatum does not appear to have resonated favorably with voters; hence, the inevitability of Rawlings making the said statement at Oda; and, in effect, signaling that Ghanaians still have deep reservations of the Rawlings, Mills gambit. Which brings me to what Abraham Lincoln once said “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

Joseph Smith Adomakoh, Jr.

Wall Street, New York, NY. 11/14/2008