19 December 2012

Ghana: Did Ghana Vote for Corruption?


The 2012 general elections are over, but the outcomes are being disputed. Many Ghanaians who voted in a particular manner believe that they have been short-changed. Some discrepancies have been identified by the main opposition political party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Since the full details of the discrepancies, the fraud perpetuated against the good people of this country are yet to be uncovered, I would hold on for now and look at the elections, before, during and after. The last elections had been the most issue-based elections this nation has conducted since the Fourth Republic. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the NPP and possibly the President whose verdict has been stolen, brought to the fore, a campaign issue which became the subject of discussions, not only in the political arena, but also in the academia and within the civil society communities.

While all the other political parties, save the NDC and its surrogate PNC flagbearer, agreed that free education at the basic and secondary levels is the way to go, the society generally also felt that educating our children is the best means of investing into the future. I can say without any equivocation that majority of Ghanaians, parents who have to suffer to raise a few hundreds of cedis to pay for the fees of their wards were very gratified with this saviour of a policy. Young people who see their future in education being threatened by the financial hardships their parents go through on a daily basis, also believe that the free SHS policy of the NPP is a saviour unheralded and certainly did not vote against it.

How would Ghanaians vote against such a noble idea meant to build the human resource of this nation into the future? How can poor parents, who cry inside them while their kids weep uncontrollably for the mere reason that the kids have gained admissions into SHS but are unable to take their places because they do not have the means to move up the academic ladder, vote for the NDC when John Mahama is opposed to the very system which made it possible for him and his colleagues to study to the University level and become what they are today?

How would Ghanaians vote for a government which has presided over the collapse of one of the biggest social interventions ever introduced in our body polity, I mean the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which offers the poor the opportunity to access healthcare delivery at no immediate cost to them, decide that they will vote for the total collapse of the scheme? Over the past four years, ordinary liquefied petroleum gas for domestic and industrial use, which under the Kufuor administration was at the door steps of all, have become essential commodities. Women and children have queued throughout the country for the past four years in search of gas. Would they vote for the NDC to continue this way? And taxi drivers too?

Corruption under the John Mahama administration has never had its march in the history of this country; a government which deliberately negotiates with individuals and groups who have done no work for this country and pays them millions of cedis when our social and economic infrastructure are collapsing, surely does not deserve to be mandated to govern this country for additional day. Did Ghana vote for the Woyomic state of affairs? Not once in the history of this country have we witnessed open insults of leaders and elders of this nation by political office holders for expressing views contrary to the position of government. Open insults and show of disrespect by party officials and government appointees was institutionalized by the John Mahama administration to the chagrin of the person who gave birth to the NDC. All John Mahama could do is to offer occasional apologies on behalf of his erring appointees and compatriots in the party. Did Ghanaians vote for that?

There is a pungent looting competition among NDC appointees and cronies, young men and women who had never worked to pay taxes to the state in their lives before the NDC came to power in the year 2009, can today afford to buy property in plush and expensive neighbourhoods throughout the country. A government which inflates contract figures by over 200percent cannot win the favours of the electorate; in fact discerning electorate. Did Ghanaians indeed vote for John Mahama and the NDC? The NDC over the last four years has unleashed crass incompetence in the management of our national affairs and therefore did not deserve the authority of the citizenry to continue the national pillage the few of them have plunged the totality of the nation into.

I can only make two deductions from the last elections: that the NDC either stole the verdict through the manipulation of the results or bought the people over through bribery in many forms. For once, a sitting President had bales of wax prints with his pictures on them which were not sold on the open market but freely distributed to the electorate. A national programme offering free exercise books (with pictures of John Mahama at the back) to school pupils to aid their studies became a political activity. The computers which were bought by tax payers' money and supposed to be offered free to our students were decorated with the pictures of the President as if the resources were from his private pocket. So blatantly were these aberrations exhibited that national activities could not be distinguished from political party activities.

The NDC has one political strategy; keep the people poor and ignorant and you can forever manipulate them. But for the levels of poverty and ignorance among majority of the people of this country, how could people be bought over with boxes of matches with GH¢50.00 notes in it for the next four years?

When Shively talks about Legitimacy and Authority of government, he says among others "the crux of the state and of its ability to function effectively, is the government's wide ranging authority to organize the lives of its people". I believe that organizing the lives of people does not mean making their living conditions worse. In that case, a government may have the legitimacy and the authority of its people to rule, or even steal the verdict of the electorate to attain a semblance of legitimacy; the real legitimacy of that government lies in organizing their lives meaningfully. The last four years of the NDC saw a failure in that direction.

Truth about the state of national affair was buried and in its stead, propaganda reigned supreme in the Ghana of 2012. None existent 1,700 schools under trees became the biggest achievement of a government as if no schools had ever been built before in this precious land of ours. It was trumpeted 24 hours a day by a regime which had contracted the biggest loans ever in the history of this country. When our roads are tearing apart, all they could boast of are 1,700 schools under trees. When they were confronted with the proof of them, only 600 of such schools were presented to Ghanaians; some of which were even disputed by the owners of those schools.

Pushed to the wall, John Mahama then moved away from schools under trees to CHIP compounds as his biggest achievement, 1,300 of them, he claimed. If he is pushed for evidence of the existence of these facilities, I am very sure they will go the same line as the celebrated 1,700 schools under trees. Shively emphasizes his thoughts on legitimacy and authority when he says further that "first and foremost, a government may gain and retain legitimacy from its people by providing for them, the things they most want". Can John Mahama and the NDC, in all sincerity, say that they provided even a fraction of what the people wanted most over the last four years? History, and not the manipulation of the electorate and election results, will be the best judge.

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