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Opinions of Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Vote for the Lesser Evil at the run-off Presidential Elections

Ghanaians as per constitutional electoral requirement have been obliged to go for a run-off vote on their two remaining presidential aspirants. The two contesting candidates who emerged semi victorious from the elections held on December 7, 2008 but none securing the obligatory 50 per cent plus one vote to be declared the winner are obviously, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo of the NPP, and Professor Evans John Fiifi Atta Mills of the NDC. The run-off elections scheduled for December 28, 2008 has become hectic and exhausting, "a do or break" contest for both parties.

Ghanaians must be commended for their exhibited sense of maturity at the elections of December 7, 2008. They have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the power for change resides in their thumb but not in any known or unknown implement of mass destruction. The electorates have proved that they can no longer be taken for any undulated rough ride by our unsuspecting but eventually dishonest politicians. It is the moment of power to the people. What a period of true democracy in Ghana? Ghanaians are happy with their newfound democratic system of governance where their elected government will be of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Much noise was made, and threats issued by the NDC who had determined to go on the rampage if they had lost the elections. Was the fear of the reality of the NDC's anticipated evilness a determinant in their success at the just ended parliamentary elections? Or, Ghanaians had desired a real change for the better?

Blatant corruption, perceived arrogance on the part of the NPP, lack of the Ghanaian comprehension and appreciation of the modalities of the NPP's economic recovery reforms, have all combined to ruin the NPP's performance at the elections. If most Ghanaians were to understand the basics of economics in the recovery of a dilapidated national economy, they would understand some of the economic measures taken by the Kufuor's administration though consumer-unfriendly as they seemed. For how long will Ghana proceed on alms-begging spree with hands outstretched like a diving falcon about to pounce on its prey? Every drastic situation requires a drastic action. For how long could Ghana survive without the citizens themselves not being sold to clear a national debt if the NPP government had continued to subsidize petroleum products when their world price kept flying at the sky? The NDC had argued for the reduction of petrol prices to even below the purchasing and production cost all for the sake of cheap politics. Where will such bastardization of politics for the sake of garnering cheap votes lead Ghana to?

One thing I know for sure is in counting, without counting one, you cannot proceed to two. It is the same thing when it comes to the step-ladder, without starting on the lower rung, you will never climb to the upper steps. Similarly, without the stabilization of the foundational macroeconomics of any country, the microeconomics aspect which translates into the well-being of individuals will always suffer. The NPP has stabilized the previously free falling Cedi value, capped the near hyperinflation in a single-digit figure as against that of the NDC's higher double-figure. Ghana is back on its feet in a slow, but sure march forward to attain her economic near independence. As we live in an inter-dependent world where no country is totally independent of others, not even the economic giant of the USA, I will be economical with the truth by declaring Ghana as gaining economic independence without some sort of a prefix as near. But most economic laymen and some politicians, who will brush the truth under the carpet just to achieve their selfish intentions, will hardly mention the effective role of macroeconomics in the economic success of a nation. Without a successfully implemented macroeconomic policy, there will never be a viable microeconomic achievement in a nation's history. "Macroeconomics is that part of economics that is primarily concerned with the study of relationships between broad economic aggregates, such as national income, savings, investment, consumption, employment, the money supply, the average price level, exports, imports and the balance of payments". Microeconomics is the study of the economic behaviour of individual consumers, firms, and industries and the distribution of production and income among them. It considers individuals both as suppliers of labour and capital and as the ultimate consumers of the final product. ..."

The President's Special Initiative (PSI) was introduced to help individuals and small firms avail themselves of some funds. An independent body was appointed to oversee the regularization of petroleum prices in Ghana to avoid the country dipping deeper and deeper into debt because of the then sky rocketing world crude oil prices. Does the onus of altering the national petroleum prices not rest squarely on this body rather than the government? Why then is the NPP government being blamed for the belated alteration in the national petroleum prices following the fall in the world price of crude oil per barrel? For fairness to the NPP, I should like Ghanaians to note that in Britain where the Bank of England is totally independent of the government, fixing of interest rate is the sole prerogative of that body appointed within the bank and charged with that duty. It manages the monetary policy of the country while the government manages the fiscal policy. This has made their economy and the pound stronger until the recent Credit crunch that has devastated everything and of which I intend to write copiously about very shortly. As usual, the cheap politicking of the NDC is, "why should the government reduce the petrol price now? Is the government not trying to score votes for its candidate at the upcoming run-off elections, they question? These are the very people who were blaming the government instead of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) for not reducing the prices. "Oh ho, kosi a nkosi, koda a nkoda" What a dilemma for the NPP and a complete frustration of the NDC?

The NDC's vindictive lies stink all the way up to the higher firmaments. Though I am not keen about the near institutional corruption within the NPP apparatchiks, who should rather lead incorruptible lives worthy of emulation, the NDC's are made of the same corruption-induced gene, the bane of the prosperity of Ghana. In addition to this negativity of the NDC, they are violent and are insanely eager to wreak havoc on those they perceive as their enemies. A classical example of their untoward attitude that needs to be vehemently rebuked by all understanding Ghanaians is what has happened in Agona Swedru to a lady wearing NPP T-shirt on Saturday, 13th December 2008. A group of jogging NDC activists came by this lady sitting by her wares wearing a NPP T-shirt. They announced with their right hands folded into fists swivelling in the air, "yere sisamu" meaning we want a change, the slogan or the catch phrase of the NDCs. The lady is said to have counteracted saying, "yere ko yanim", meaning Ghana is moving forward, the slogan by the NPP. Just at the response of the lady, these thugs set upon her. Her recuperating son who heard the mum's cry for help emerged from the house only to be set upon by these NDC scoundrels. Is this the change Ghanaians are looking forward to with their nod to the NDC to take over power from the NPP by their vote as seen on December 7? How on earth cannot these NDC people accommodate divergent views?

Sooner have the NDC taken over power than most Ghanaians realised the mistake they have made voting for them. I am scared for Ghanaians. Those in the NDC seem to think they can only thrive on incivility, intimidation, terrorism and bullying. The history of the metamorphosed AFRC/PNDC/NDC is nothing to write home about. It is all too scary and well known.

The clarion call of a battle trumpet has sounded. All the good people of Ghana should rally behind Nana Akuffo-Addo in the run-off election to stop the NDC in their track. Their vindictiveness and lack of remorsefulness are too well known in the annals of the Ghanaian politics. Make a mistake by voting them into power and by the time that you are aware, it had become to you "a had I known which is but always at last"

What has transpired at the elections is a wake up call to the NPP as well as to all those MPs and politicians who had desired, and would desire to take the electorates for fools. The electorates' intelligence had been underestimated, their patience taxed, and they have finally reacted by proving the politicians wrong. The NPP should learn to come out to explain in a convincing manner their policies to the people. Â Now is not the moment to apportion blame. It is the moment to ask Ghanaians for forgiveness and plead with them to give you another chance to prove yourselves right. Those MPs who think voting for them is only a means to secure them jobs to better their lives at the expense of their constituents should learn a bitter lesson from their fallen colleagues.

If I have been able to persuade five people who otherwise would have voted for the NDC or not voted at all at the run-off elections for personal reasons just over the phone to go to vote, why should you not do the same? All the NPP sympathisers should not rest in the comfort of their living rooms conjuring up the best plans, blaming others without necessarily taking any practical positive step forward. Those who have logistical means should provide them to enable the electorates motor to their registered polling stations to vote. Spend money on phone calls winning people over to your side. Provide the needy with transportation fare to the polling stations. Be practical and tactical. All the NPP fat cats please get off your arse and do door to door campaigning. It is never too late until the die is cast. All is not lost as it seems presently. Be positive minded until the night of December 28.

All Ghanaian politicians are evils, but in degrees. The NPP is no exception. But comparatively, it is the lesser evil when put on a weighing scale with the NDC. Who will want to vote for a party that is known to enslave her citizens in their own country? Who will want to be a robotic zombie instead of a phoenix in their own country? It seems to be late but never too late to change your mind to vote for a better Ghana by voting in Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo. Anyone in the NPP camp should start doing door to door campaign. You can do so from your foreign abode. Don't be dissuaded by Ben Ephson's opinion poll projections that tip in favour of the NDC. Much as he failed like many others to predict who would win in the first round on December 7, so should his second projection be taken with a pinch of salt. Do not allow yourselves to be negatively influenced by the Daily Dispatch Newspaper's prediction in favour of the NDC. It is all a gimmickry. No more complacency on the part of the NPP, their stalwarts and sympathisers. "Good, better, best; neverlet itrest tillyourgoodisbetterand your betterisbest".

Rockson Adofo, London