Feature Article of Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Columnist: Eyiah, Joe Kingsley

“Great Minds, Great Issues! Vote Wisely!”

-An Advice from a Native Son

By Joe Kingsley Eyiah, OCT, Toronto-Canada

“Great Minds discuss Issues; Average Minds discuss Events; Small Minds discuss People”

Ghanaians go to the polls on December 7 to elect a President and Parliamentarians who would govern the nation for the next four years, God willing. It is the prayer of all well-meaning Ghanaians, both home and abroad, that this election passes peaceful. As we just saw with the US election, we hope Ghanaians will vote for issues and not just for people; not even just for events that have befallen the country in recent times!

Political campaign by Ghanaians (political parties) since the beginning of the year until the sudden demise of our former President Professor John Fifii Attah-Mills this July had been very dirty! The focus of the campaign was more of personal attacks, insults and vilifications. It became apparent then that the Ghanaian electorate were been bombarded by politicians with discussion of people vying for the highest office of the country instead of bringing to the fore of their campaign discussion of issues which would bring development to the country. Personalities who suffered most from these personal attacks then were the former President (National Democratic Congress), His Excellency Prof. John Attah Mills of blessed memory and the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo. Party communication and propaganda secretaries as well as serial callers from both side of the political divide had used the numerous radio stations in the country to paint their opponents as devils who do not deserve to be given any mandate to govern Ghana. The discussions of some political figures (people) over the nation’s airwaves were really nasty and very embarrassing!

Then came the sudden demise of President Prof Attah Mills in July. This event (his death and the subsequent national mourning) ushered some decorum into the political landscape of the country! Bitter enemies in the political arena joined hands to honour the deceased President who was dishonoured during his serving time. Pastors of the land rightly used his funeral to call politicians to order! Subsequently, sense ruled over greed and animosity. Were some party functionaries calling for sympathy votes because of this event? Wait!

The course quickly changed from discussing people and even sad national events to discussing issues! Issues that bother on national development like education, health, employment, agriculture and housing among others have now been raised, discussed and even debated by the presidential candidates lately. Though it is unfortunate that so much time has been spent in Ghana’s political campaign discussing people, the time spent on discussing issues must take the better part of the Ghanaian populace and bring the electorate to the ballot box to vote for the party with realistic issues that would move our country forward for the benefit of all.

What worried me a bit was that there was either not enough input from the professionals in the country or such input was too much politicized! The country needs national policies on especially education and health devoid of political ideologies and selfish party-directed manifestos purported to address those issues. Such policies must be based on thorough national researched in the direction of Ghana’s needs, capabilities and human as well as resources. Policies on education and health in particular have been left to the whims and caprices of political parties (especially NDC and NPP) for far too long. They have been experimenting with school children in the country as guinea-pigs when they (parties) assume governance of the country. Politicians vying for high off ices of the nation must be scrutinized carefully by the electorate to uncover those who use issues as mere promises and political gimmicks just to win votes from the electorate. Political parties which fail to demonstrate urgency of prioritizing the NEEDS (and NOT WANTS) of the country for development must not be voted to power.

Even overwhelming events which have happened in the country this year such as the death of President Attah Mills, the collapse of the Melcom building in Accra, and last but not the least, the death of Vice President Aliu Mahama, just a month before the elections must not influence voters to vote otherwise. There should be no sympathy votes for either NDC or NPP because of the high profile deaths in their camps this year! Vote wisely, vote on issues which would bring development and let peace prevail in Ghana