6 December 2012

Ghana: Akufo-Addo Is the Nation's Hope


After nearly two years of campaigning, the official verdict on which person and political party chosen by the people of Ghana to direct the state machinery would be decided in 26,000 polling stations around the country, tomorrow.

It is a shame that the people of six polling stations in the Kasena Nankana Constituency in the Upper East Region would not take part in the vote. For some strange reasons, the people were not captured in the biometric registration exercise.

Last week, an Accra Human Rights High Court ordered the Electoral Commission to register the people of Kasena Nankena. Following this order, the Electoral Commission announced that it was conducting a special exercise to register the people in those polling stations from last Monday to yesterday.

At the time of going to press last night, it was not known whether or not the exercise had been completed. But, even before the registration could commence, the Electoral Commission announced that it would not be possible for the people to vote, in spite of being registered.

The electoral laws of Ghana stipulate that it takes a minimum of six months for those captured in any registration exercise to vote. In other words, all the people in the six polling stations at Kasena Nankana have been disenfranchised.

In spite of this misfortune, the exercise would come off in all the 26,000 other polling stations. The nearly 14 million registered voters will take a decision on which of the eight candidates, who have been passed by the Electoral Commission to contest for the Presidency, will be given the mandate.

In order of appearance on the ballot paper, the first is Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Transitional President of Ghana, following the unfortunate demise of President John Evans Atta Mills, and representing the ruling NDC.

The second on the ballot paper is Dr. Henry Lartey, presidential candidate of the Great Consolidated Popular Party, founded by the late Dan Lartey of domestication fame. The blunt truth is that, like his father, who was always on the ballot paper and attracted not more than one percent, Dr. Lartey's addition on the ballot paper would not change anything. Dr. Lartey is heading for an ignominious defeat. He might attract less than one percent of the popular vote.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party are listed in the third position on the ballot paper. Obviously, Nana Akufo-Addo and President Mahama are the front-runners. I intend to discuss the two candidates in detail in this piece.

In the interim, it is important to look at all the candidates. Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom is not new to the presidential race. He contested the 2008 vote on the ticket of the Convention People's Party. He had to part ways with members of the Cockerel Family, following a family feud.

A very resourceful businessman, Dr. Nduom, founded the Progressive People's Party on whose ticket he is standing. He has brought dynamism to the campaign. But, Ghanaians are yet to embrace the idea of a one-man political party, and he may be one of the most disappointed personalities when the presidential results are declared by Sunday.

I do not expect much from Hassan Ayariga, especially after the problem he has created in the People's National Convention. There is a notion out there that Mr. Ayariga might not even vote for himself. Many people are speculating that Mr. Ayariga might find it more convenient voting for President Mahama and his NDC, than himself.

I do not expect much from Dr. Abu Sakara Foster of the Convention People's Party. He is a very nice man, who would have enriched our parliamentary process, had he contested to become a Member of Parliament.

The other two contestants are Mr. Akwasi Addae Odyike, the controversial leader of the United Reform Party, and the only independent candidate, Mr. Akwasi Osei Yeboah. It would be a miracle if both get one point between them.

In all honesty, the presidential election tomorrow is a straight fight between President John Dramani Mahama and his NDC on one hand, and the elephant family of the NPP, led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

President Mahama owes his rise to the highest office of the land to the unfortunate death of Prof. Atta Mills. Yesterday, the deceased Head of State's senior brother, Dr. Cadman Atta Mills, mounted the podium at the Trade Fair Site at La in Accra, and asked Ghanaians to vote for the NDC, claiming that such a vote would compensate for the unfortunate demise of the former university don.

It is unfortunate that the NDC and its leadership continue to flog the Professor's death for electoral purposes, after the former President was left on his own in his last 24 hours on this earth.

If the truth is told, the NDC would have a number of questions to answer on the Professor's death. The NDC lied, big time, about the late Professor and his health while he lived, and used his death as a propaganda tool.

The good old professor was suffering from a terminal disease at the time the NDC hoisted him on this nation as Head of State. When he was fumbling on duty as a result of his illness, the NDC still told the world that Prof. Mills was enjoying a clean bill of health.

If the NDC leadership has any sense of shame, the good old Professor's name would be left out of the party's campaign for re-election. Ill and infirm, Prof. Mills' condition was exploited to the full by a corrupt administration, to milk Ghana dry.

I can vouch with my life that the Alfred Agbesi Woyome GH¢51 million dole-out was ordered by an ill and infirm Prof. Mills, following pressure from top officials of the NDC.

I can state with all the authority under my command, as a social commentator, that the so-called order to stop payment, as flogged by the Economic and Organised Crime Office, was a white lie to make the payment look more mysterious.

In spite of all the roof-top advertisements of securing the public purse, NDC officials contrived to appropriate state funds for themselves and the party, through several dubious means. Procurement processes were abused on a regular basis by party and government officials to line people's pockets.

From sole sourcing, NDC operatives concocted the idea of a 'multiple sole-sourcing' formula, under which suppliers from Lawra, for instance, were commissioned to supply school desks and chairs to schools in the Atiwa District, where timber is abundant.

At the same time, contractors in Sefwi, for instance, were commissioned to supply desks and school chairs to schools in Ho, in the Volta Region.

In the Mills-Mahama-Amissah Arthur administration, lies and propaganda have under-pinned state policy. The so-called single digit inflation remained a paper guarantee, while prices of goods and services have been escalating at treble and quadruple figures.

As President Mahama, born on November 29, 1958, has himself stated at the least opportunity, the so-called 'Better Ghana' has been achieved. If it were so, why should any Ghanaian yearn for the same failures that have underpinned state and economic policies since January 7, 2009.

As a Ghanaian, I am annoyed by the persistent pronouncements of President Mahama and his close allies that this country is not ready for fee-free second cycle education, because facilities were inadequate.

Mr. Mahama and a host of his ministers benefitted from fee-free Northern education. They went to school for seven years without paying a pesewa.

What should interest Ghanaians is that at the time the Northern Scholarship was instituted, there was only one secondary school in the North - the Tamale Secondary School. When Mr. Mahama went to the Ghana Secondary School free of any financial obligation, there could not have been more than 10 schools in the north.

I do not believe the future of this country could be entrusted into the hands of Transitional President Mahama and his propagandists, answering the name of the NDC. In my candid opinion, this country would make great strides under an Akufo-Addo leadership.

Born on March 29, 1944, in Swalaba, a suburb of Accra, Nana Akufo-Addo has used most of his professional life as a lawyer to fight for the rights of the ordinary Ghanaian.

Acknowledged generally, as one of the leaders of the pro-democracy movement in Ghana, the presidential candidate of the NPP was General Secretary of the People's Movement for Freedom and Justice that successfully opposed the Union Government concept of the Kutu Acheampong era, a programme crafted to ensure that the military remained leaders of this society.

As Attorney-General, he was responsible for the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law that helped to entrench freedom of the media and free expression in the body politic. Evidence on the ground indicates that he has never been corrupt, a key criterion needed to safeguard the public purse.

Nana Akufo-Addo is the hope for the long-suffering Ghanaian. Hopefully, he would march to the Jubilee House with a reasonable majority of NPP members in Parliament House.

It is the hope of this paper that those planning to create mayhem would see reason, and the security services would behave as professionals, and not agents of wayward politicians.

Electoral Commission officials are on notice to be fair. I am very uncomfortable with the decision to exclude journalists from the special voting. It does not give me confidence to have trust in the referee. I hope I am wrong.

Copyright © 2012 Ghanaian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.