Ghanaians Voted for Change Not Utopic Promises
The just ended general elections saw the opposition NPP winning the presidential elections with a very wide margin and having majority seat in parliament. To some of us, it has not come to us as a surprise. We saw the same thing in 2008 when the NPP then in government lost to the opposition NDC.
A lot of post-election analyses are suggesting that the NPP’s numerous political promises earned them the victory. But I bet to differ! It is not true that a lot of the electorates who voted massively for the NPP believed in promises like ‘one district one factory’ or ‘one village one dam’. It’s absolutely not true. Come to think of it; imagine a land lock area where there’s no river. How then do you build a dam? Or am I wrong?
Just as the NPP campaigned on its achievements in 2008 and expected Ghanaians to retain them in government after the eight years, the NDC did exactly the same in the 2016 general elections. The NDC thought they have achieved so much and it was all over the place for Ghanaians to see and retain them in government to fulfil all their political promises. But that was not to be.
I think it is very difficult to tell whether people vote on issues. In 2012, I was actively involved in a friend’s bid to become an MP. I was part of his communication and campaign strategy teams during the party’s primaries. One of the strategies we adopted was to sign contract with the delegates. In that contract, we suggested to the delegates to list three things they would like my candidate to do for them in the event that he wins the primaries and the parliamentary elections. This idea received a huge welcome as it was the first of its kind. So we entered into serious agreement and it was agreed that should my candidate win, he would do at least one out of the three items we have both signed for in the contract. We were assured this strategy would earn us their votes.
The night before the election, we decided to lay ambush in our car around the incumbent MP’s office. What we saw was incredible! About half of the delegates trooped to his office in turns that night for what only God knows. We suspected they were being given money and it turned out to be true when one of the candidates told us after the elections that he was given ‘good’ money. So that incumbent won and my candidate placed fourth position even with our promise that was clearly documented. My conclusion then was that delegates and for that matter voters are more interested in what they can get now than what would benefit them in the long term.
I think Ghanaians are becoming more discerning and I see a trend taking root in our politics. The trend, if you like, is that Ghanaians have come to accept the fact that no party should be given the mandate to rule continuously beyond eight years. And for me this is quite instructive and very significant as it is something I for one have yearned for. I am even yearning that we should be able to change a government even after four years depending on how best the government has been able to meet our aspirations. I see no reason why we should allow a government to continue to rule us even if it’s clear it has under-performed. I see no reason why they should come begging us to give them the mandate for another term to finish up projects and programs they claimed to have started. If indeed the power belongs to the people, why should we continue to allow politicians to take us for a ride?
One thing that is very significant from the outcome of the 2016 elections has to do with the fact that any political party in government usually resolve to undertake some key projects during election year in order to boost their chances of retaining power. From what I am hearing about the economy, it’s clear that the new government will have very little problem with the economy as the economy has been stabilized. What is going to happen is that, incoming government and the out-going government will fight for who has the right to take credit for the economy. So I dare ask, why did the ruling waited for so long to start stabilizing the economy? If you know the right thing, why don’t you do it? Unfortunately, the incoming government will not move away from this strategy. They will fall prey to it. Projects initiated by the previous government will be abandoned. Those on various social intervention programs such as Community Teaching Assistant, among others, would not be paid and some would even be replaced with sympathizers and members of the new government.
Having said all the above, political season is one of the seasons I hate in Ghana. Apart from enduring all manner political advertisements especially on radio and television, the season sees creation of a lot of filth in the country. Party posters, billboards, banners, and other party paraphernalia in the country. Walls of buildings and bridges including all available smooth or rough surfaces are disfigured. Party supporters also engaged in all manner of graffiti creating so much eye-sore. Now that the campaign seasons are over, we expect party officials to call on their rank and file to clean the country as they go about on their thank you tour. We want to see some sanity on the walls they have disfigured.