Do Ghanaians want Akufo-Addo as their President? (Part II)
Arrogance in official government circles is disgusting to the electorate, and they won’t root for a government whose functionaries carry themselves too high and come across as condescending. The NDC MPs are particularly guilty; and this Abayateye can’t absolve himself of blame. His own problems with a section of the electorate in his Sege constituency come to mind. How sure is he that he will be re-elected?
Others like him also have serious problems in their constituencies because they have either failed to deliver the goods they promised the electorate to win their votes or because they have already been written off as non-performing assets.
Defeat for the NDC will start from the aggrieved voters in the constituencies and carry over to the national level. And there are many constituencies in which the people have lost confidence in the NDC MPs or transferred their dislike for such MPs to the President. It will be more than difficult to regain the trust and goodwill of such people within a year before the elections.
Adding to all these problems, the systemic problems of the country still persist and don’t assure the people that the government has lived up to their expectation.
More troubling is the internal crisis that the NDC has been unable to tackle, which portrays it as a divided house. The wanton hooliganism and security-threatening activities of the NDC’s functionaries throughout the country have weakened public confidence. The NDC’s internal wrangling has brought the party to a point where it is not really as attractive as it had been before returning to power. Who will go for such a party?
Coupled with the internal crisis, Rawlings’ negative politics against the government has already cut deep into its fortunes. Whether Rawlings and his wife will commit themselves to the party’s bid for retention in office is thorny. No matter what happens, healing the wounds has been difficult and will have a heavy toll on the party at next year’s polls.
Considering what the Mills government has demonstrated so far, can it claim to have exuded enough leadership and problem-solving abilities to warrant a renewal of its mandate? What does its performance portend for Ghana’s future, and will Ghanaians be willing to have it for another four-year term? With what implications?
Not until the NDC does anything miraculously re-assuring, it risks losing control of the situation. More than any harm that the NPP and its Akufo-Addo may inflict, its own inadequacies will detract from its fortunes. This is not to say that the voters don’t have any qualms against the NPP and its flagbearer; but in desperation, they will go for the lesser of the two devils, which gives Akufo-Addo a thin edge.
I am still not convinced that he will be a better choice, though. For obvious reasons, he is carrying a heavier credibility baggage than President Mills is doing. But when it comes to Ghanaian politics, factors other than the candidate’s credibility problems influence voters’ electoral decisions.
We all saw in the 2008 elections how ethnicity nearly tipped the scale in Akufo-Addo’s favour. That factor is still active and can influence the 2012 elections, especially at a time that Akufo-Addo’s “Yen Akanfuo” instigation and the senseless war-cry of “All-die-be-die” have become the main item in the NPP’s arsenal.
From all indications, the NDC isn’t as active on the ground as it used to be. The so-called foot-soldiers have allowed their self-interests and grief at not being compensated after toiling hard to return the NDC to power to weaken their political mobilization efforts. They are so aggrieved and demoralized as not to be relied on to campaign for the party. This situation is very dangerous and will definitely not help President Mills’ cause unless something drastic is done before the major campaign season to restore trust and confidence in such embittered foot-soldiers.
As the situation stands now, there is every reason to conclude that no solution can be found to this problem all too soon. The NDC will suffer from the negative backlash.
These are some of the major problems confronting the NDC, regardless of the government’s claim to be on course in infrastructural development. If the people’s living conditions don’t improve or if they don’t see any practical evidence that the government is capable of implementing programmes and policies to lead the country on a consistent path of growth and development, they will not be willing to renew its mandate.
If the government loses touch with the people because it can’t do what the people expect, no amount of vilification or intimidation of political opponents will win the day for it. That’s the bitter truth that the NDC must come to terms with. Those thinking and behaving like this Sege MP can save the NDC from a humiliating defeat if they concentrate their energies and resources on doing better than they’ve done so far.
Efforts to retain the NDC in power cannot succeed through mere lazy, lousy, and clumsy political strategies of the kind that depends on ugly pronouncements in the mass media. The real work is on the ground in the NDC itself and throughout the country. The people want evidence that voting for President Mills and his NDC will not amount to suicide. Not until that elusive silver lining is seen in Ghana’s horizon, the NDC’s activists can do all they choose to, fall into some drunken stupor, or relapse into some religious madness to prophesy doom for the NPP and its Akufo-Addo.
It will all come to naught if the voters make up their minds to reject the NDC because the objective reality of the Ghanaian condition demands that the mandate be given to someone else. Let the prophets in the NDC put their talents to a better use and save us from all this annoying rhetorical garbage.
By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor