6 December 2012

Ghana: Who Gets the Thumb On December 7?

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So soon, December 7 is here with us, where we are expected to take another crucial electoral decision for the next four years. It is the sixth time we are offered opportunity to decide through the ballot.

Before anything else, let's recap of some electoral history. Apart from 1992, when presidential elections were held on November 3 and parliamentary on December 29, subsequent elections (i.e. 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008) were done on December 7 as run-offs and bye-elections happened on later dates.

The 1992 presidential election was won by Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings of the NDC in a coalition with the National Convention Party (NCP) and Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EAGLE). Other candidates included; Prof Albert Adu Boahen of the NPP, Dr. Hilla Limann of the PNC, Dr Kwabena Darko of the National Independence Party (NIP) and Prof Emmanuel Erskine of the People's Heritage Party (PHP).

Not pleased with the presidential results with reasons of fraud, the NPP, PNC, PHP and NIP boycotted the contest over the 200 parliamentary seats on December 29 giving way to the NDC to claim 189 seats as the NCP, EAGLE and independent candidates took the rest.

NDC's J.J Rawlings won again in 1996 over J.A Kufuor of the NPP and Dr Edward Mahama of the PNC. The NDC won 133 out of the 200 parliamentary seats as the main opposition NPP had 60 with the PCP and PNC managing the rest.

In 2000, John Kufuor of the NPP defeated NDC's John Evans Atta Mills in a run-off. The 200-member Law House had 100 members being NPP, 92 for NDC as the rest went to the minor parties and independents. The United Ghana Movement (UGM) and the National Reform Party (NRP) have not yet been missed from the list, though; their results were nothing to write home about.

Kufuor was re-elected in 2004 and the NPP won 128 out of 230 parliamentary seats. The opposition NDC had 94 while two other parties (PNC and CPP) won 4 and 3 respectively and the remaining for an Independent.

The 2008 presidential election produced Prof J.E.A Mills of the NDC as winner. On parliamentary, the NDC claimed 115 of the 230 seats; NPP had 108; 2 went to the PNC; CPP managed with only one and 4 were independents.

The EC, headed by Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan since 1992, has declared John Dramani Mahama of the NDC, NPP's Nana Akufo-Addo, CPP's Dr Abu Sakara Foster and Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom of the PPP fit for the 2012 in the company of Hassan Ayariga of the PNC, UFP's Akwasi Addai Odike, the GCPP's Henry Lartey and Independent Candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah.

They are all struggling hard to win the confidence of the electorate. There are accusations and counter accusations, especially between the ruling NDC and the opposition NPP. The parliamentary seats have been increased to 275.

The Ghanaian electorate can sometimes be interesting. Instead of thinking through the issues before voting, some electorates are being misled to vote along ethnic and religious lines, among other funny factors.

Political communication and activism is now more of insults and lies. Bread and butter matters are being substituted with opponent attacks and vituperations during press conferences and political talk show programs on radios and TVs.

Are you voting a party with foul-mouthed communicators and attractive, eloquent slogan(s)? Or the one which gives you plenty money and resources today and dumps you after victory? Or the one with pragmatic policies and programs for a better future?

A text message from NPP's standard bearer Nana Akufo-Addo on November 14 at 10:03 GMT reads: "Come December 7 we should elect a trustworthy President to root out corruption, focus on education, good paying jobs and healthcare."

On same day around 20:41 GMT, this came from President John Mahama: "My Fellow Ghanaian, NDC government has removed over 40% of schools under trees (1,700) ensuring safe learning environment for all. Visit www.johnmahama.org."

The focus of the 2012 elections is education. As the NPP talks of free, quality senior high school education, the NDC promises 200 new senior high schools and 10 colleges of education with massive attempt to blackmail the free school message of the NPP.

PPP's Nduom, Dr. Sakara of the CPP and smaller parties are almost singing same song as NPP. As for PNC's Hassan Ayariga, one finds it hard to affiliate him with a specific promise.

We do not need a prophet to tell us that this year's elections will again occur between the NDC and NPP. Many successful BECE graduates in rural areas are out of school due to lack of funds.

Any policy geared towards sending these people back to school for quality education has to be supported. Take a decision which will benefit you tomorrow and forever!

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