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Regional News of Thursday, 20 December 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Peace, calm return to V/R after polls

At long last, the euphoria, tension and sometimes the needless anxiety that characterised the run up to the December polls seems to have abated considerably leaving perhaps the allegations and agitations on the part of the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and sections of their supporters on the alleged basis of figure massaging to help the National Democratic Congress (NDC) win the elections.

Here in the Volta Region, the peace and calm that has returned to the region immediately after the elections without doubt is so because the voting pattern of the region in the past, present and may be, years to come will be as predictable as the break of dawn before the ushering in of the morning.

That is to say, the status quo, where the NDC has emerged as winners in this year’s polls is an outward expression of the inner desires of the majority of the people of the region.

That notwithstanding, indications prior to the elections contained an inherent fear that even though the NDC was going to win in the region, the NPP may have the opportunity to inch the percentage of votes of its candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, higher so that coupled with a better output in other regions, he could have carried the day.

That was a perfect game plan which led invariably to the NPP adopting a guerrilla warfare strategy. Guerilla Warfare is where one side has a far superior force to their opponent. The opponent recognises this, and so does not actually fight the superior force, instead, they resort to hit-and-run style attacks in order to force the superior to retreat or weaken them eventually.

One weakness that the NPP had identified in the region was the pockets of ill-feelings that had been present in some constituencies following the recent creation of the new districts in addition to the challenge of some sitting Members of Parliament of the NDC who lost their primaries which made them go independent.

The strategy was to stoke the flames of ill-feelings in a manner that promises a better deal under a government led by the NPP.

This strategy appeared to have been well-implemented with the running mate of the NPP, Dr Bawumia, visiting places such as Central Tongu where Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa stood and where there was agitations over the creation of a new district for which a section of a traditional area in that constituency had decided not to be part of the new district.

The next place he moved to was Vakpo which was formerly under the Kpando District but with the creation of the North Dayi District was added to the new district with its capital at Anfoega, a situation that created serious discontent because the people of Vakpo believed the capital should have been brought to them.

From there, he moved to the then stronghold of the NPP in Nkwanta North, the only constituency where the NPP held in the region to try to consolidate their supremacy.

However, in spite of all these well-planned tactics, it was apparent that the NDC responded well because based on the pro-NPP assurance given by the paramount chief of the Vakpo Traditional Area, just the following day, the Vice President, Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, quickly moved to that place in a bid to counter the progress of the NPP.

The NDC, it appears also used aggressive mobility and aggressive small unit action to aggressively locate, pursue and fix insurgent units that is to say, contrary to the situation in the past where mammoth rallies would have been used to deflate the moves of the NPP, this time around, the strategy of the NDC was to use small unit campaign teams who were efficiently mobile to visit all their flashpoints and to neutralise the advances of the NPP.

There were some damages but those were minimal considering the Ketu South Constituency for example where an incumbent, Albert Zigah who had been beaten at the primary by Fiifi Kwetey decided to go solo but in the end succeeded in only scratching the surface by polling 3,956 votes compared to Mr Fiifi Kwetey who polled 77,837 while one thought that the in-fighting could have given the NPP an opportunity to make inroads but that was not to be.

In the Akan Constituency where the incumbent lost the primary and decided to go independent too, one would have expected an opportunity for the NPP to take advantage of the seeming division but to the contrary, the independent candidate carried the day.

The performance of the NPP this time around comes with an element of surprise because of the open show of support they enjoyed from the people of the region.

As to how that open, popular show of support could not translate into votes is a bit mind-boggling.

But in all this is one constant- The Volta Region is finally opening up to different political ideologies than it did in the past where they religiously stuck to the NDC.

Probably, the change could be attributed to the gradual cosmopolitisation of the region which comes with it, the attendant issue of people from elsewhere with different political persuasions having to come to live within the people of the region and succeeding in rubbing off their persuasions on otherwise die-hard NDC activists.

Well, if that is the case, then it will be the prayer of political parties other than the NDC that the rate of cosmopolitisation will increase at a geometric rate so as to open up the region to political differentials but until that happens, the NDC can beat their chest and call the Volta Region, their ‘World Bank’.