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Opinions of Saturday, 15 January 2005

Columnist: Appiah-Danquah, Kufuor

You Make Us Proud Ghana ? Part 11 ?Day After?

His immediate response was to thank the Almighty God and give Praise and Glory to the Almighty. The President called a press release offered an olive branch to all other parties, thanked God, the people of Ghana, party members and promised to build an inclusive society.

This is the second .of my article on the behavior of the Ghanaian electorate and people which has greatly enhanced our image on the world stage and around Africa and made us all proud.

Morning After

The morning after the election was a bit traumatic. I was woken up round about 6am by a phone call from one of the party faithful imploring me to get up and make myself useful by going round some of the polling stations. In the company of some trained party agents, I trekked round a few voting stations and by ?Jove? the queues did put the fear of the Lord in me. The reason for my worry was based on traditional conventional political wisdom in UK.

The Labour Party normally tends to gain from a huge turnout whilst the Conservative party traditionally benefits from a low turnout. Although the political landscape in Ghana and the UK is dissimilar, on a simple elementary ?A? level political analysis I tend equate the NDC with the Labour Party and NPP with the Conservatives. (Before any ?book-long? person attempts to educate me and write a thesis on Ghanaian Political History my analysis is just a crude attempt to make sense of a political phenomena and not based on any research on the voting patters in Ghana.).

The point I am trying to make is, the huge turnout meant the elections was going to be closely fought contest as both sides had managed to get their troops out. The queues at Ashiaman, Sakumuno, Nungua and Teshie were breathtaking. People were determined that their thumbs would do the talking and no amount of time wasting in the electral process would drive them away.

Murder at Abossey Okai

Just as we left Nungua a call came through to the Women?s Organizer that an NPP lad had been stabbed to death by his friend an NDC supporter during a petty argument. and the Abossey Okai ?lads? were threatening revenge. They were in no mood to listen to the wise counsel off their elders and the Police. In the company of some of the Party hierarchy we drove off to Abossey Okai to meet a very angry mob gunning for revenge and determined to take the law into their hands.

We went straight to the guardian of the late young man Alhaji Tanko one of the doyens of the NPP party to pay our condolences. We promised to do our best to give the young man a fitting burial. The tension around the Abossey Mosque area was immense and it took some diplomatic work by the local MP, senior citizens of the local community the Police and members of the party hierarchy to calm them down. I watched in sorrow as his family shed tears, cried and wallowed in pain.

I went to the mortuary with the relatives to collect the body for burial at Awudome Cemetery followed by a funeral at Abossey Okai. .As I watched the pained face of Alhaji Tanko, tears streamed down my face. I kept asking myself what could politicians of all side of the divide do to ensure that debates and arguments are conducted in a civil manner?

That our young men do not see it as life and death issues? Are some of our leaders role models? Are they setting good examples? Some of our political leaders may as well be boxers and wrestlers? Their language, utterances, behavior, body language all leaves a lot to be desired. Our democratic experiment is pregnant and the belly is getting bigger- we have not given birth as yet . Whether our country delivers or not would depend on al of us. It is high time we all act as matured citizens and stop setting bad examples.

I thank God that the Abossey Okai incident was an isolated case as the country was determined that ?kokromite power ? was going to win the day not macho power.

Back on the Campaign Trail

From Abossey Okai, I went back to campaign headquarters to ?gossip? and catch up with any news from the regions. The news coming from all the FM stations, polling agents and observers around the regions was promising. From campaign headquarters we drove round most of the polling stations in the company of some of the Greater Accra Regional Executives. Around 8 pm we gathered round campaign headquarters to await our fate.

Like any other country the results in Accra and the main cities kept pouring in and at that stage there was a bit of panic at campaign headquarters, as the race was not a runaway but a two-horse race.

By 10.30pm most of the foot soldiers had left leaving the National Campaigns Manager (JAK Obestebi Lamptey, NanaNtow, Kwamena Bartels and a few of us to keep the fort. Around 11pm we were pretty sure that nothing was going to happen and we all trooped back home.

Day 2

Most of the results were in and the FM stations- ?Terror on the Airwaves? Bless them this time round they were doing their best for democracy and reporting the results constituency by constituency As the result kept pouring in we realized we were in for a long slog. The party had lost some exceptionally good candidates and some Ministers and some areas had voted ?skirt and blouse?. From the look of things the democratic process was working and our country was making us proud..

Back at the President?s residence, the Press, senior members of the party, and a group of dancers had congregated awaiting the promised press release of the Electoral Commissioner The Party faithful had been warned and advised not to start any celebration until the Electoral Commissioner had announced its verdict.

My only plea to the Electoral Commissioner is: some of us have bad hearts and please Sir, next time round relieve us of our misery in time When I complained about the delay, I was immediately reprimanded by one of the observers from the US reminding me of Florida. - (That shut me up).

Finally the chips was down President John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor had made history- he had won an historic victory for himself, his party and his country. His immediate response was to thank the Almighty God and give Praise and Glory to the Almighty. The President called a press release and offered an olive branch to all other parties, thanked God, the people of Ghana, party members and promised to build an inclusive society.

Funny enough the celebration at the President?s house was subdued, He acted as a statesman. One could sense that the President was genuinely acting as the father of the nation not as the leader of a party no triumphalism.

My point is simple; we are extremely lucky to have a humble, and unassuming President. An African President with a difference. He may have his faults like anyone else but no one can accuse him of arrogance or pride. As the results shows, most ordinary Ghanaians were prepared to put their hopes, aspirations and trust in him as an individual and a person whom they could empathize with although some were skeptical of some members of his party.

Day 3 ? Matured Party-Analysis- Post Mortem Greater Accra.

Once again, I gate crashed into the house of the Campaigns Manager who had invited all the Greater Accra MP?s, Constituency Chairman/women, Party executives to his residence for a post mortem. I was impressed by the candor, humility and frankness of JAK (Obestebi Lamptey). I am damn surprised about the ?E? grade that he received from readers of the Ghana web. With regards to his portfolio, how else could he have built a winning team at the same time fulfill his role as Minister? Anyway he had been in post for just over a year.

My point is JAK asked the party to go home analyze why we did not do as well and come back with some prescriptions. It was a sterling performance. Believe me, all the Greater Accra big guns were there prepared to discuss, debate, dissent, inform and learn. Once again there was no sense of triumphalism just sober reflection. We are extremely lucky to have such a matured bunch of politicians at the helm of affairs in Ghana. Our country will go places with such critical minds and enquiring brains. As a guest, I listened and learned it made me a better person.

Meeting with the Ga Chiefs

During the campaign, I had traveled to one the Accra hinterland with the aspiring NPP parliamentary candidate Nii Ayiyte Boafo to see at first hand the mood of the people and what our aspiring MP?s had to go through. . One of the main issues that the electorate kept bringing up was the lack of unity and respect among groups and people living in the same conurbation. . Readers could interpret it how they like but I decided to do my bit after the elections i.e. ? paying a courtesy call on the Acting Ga Mantse. My reason for this was simple: to pay homage, show my respect for the elders of Ga Traditional Council and do my little bit for community cohesiveness.

A meeting was arranged through an intermediary and on the 23rd December I made an official call on Nii Adote Obuor 2nd, Sempe Mantse and Acting President of the Ga Traditional Council; Nii Dodoo Nsaki 2nd,Otublohum Mantse; Nii Amarkai 3rd Asene Djasetse, Nii Otto Din 3rd Benkumhen of Otublohum and Dr Blankson Special Adviser and Elder to the Ga Traditional Council.

The chiefs were noble and imperious. The Ga people are very lucky to have such enlightened and wise chiefs they need the support of all of us both Gas and non-Gas as together we can achieve a lot. They were interested in my work in the UK; we exchanged ideas on how best I could use my limited skills and expertise for the benefit of our people. They informed me about the Ga educational fund, which they are keen to launch in the UK. I was humbled and impressed by their desire and willingness to work alongside other chiefs in the country to improve the lot of all those living within the Accra boundary and beyond.

I the end we are one people with one common destiny ?to improve the miserable economic lot of our people. I promised to keep in touch with the noble Chiefs.

It has been an experience worth writing about but in the end President Kufuor and his team would be judged on delivery. Delivering a fair and equitable society a country at peace with itself and determined to forge ahead together.

My last and final article will concentrate on ?Tremendous Economic Development Challenges that faces President Kufuor and our country. There will be no honeymoon for this administration.


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