8 January 2013

Ghana: Kumasi Not Enthused About President's Inauguration

Kumasi — IN THE Ashanti Regional capital of Kumasi, there was little indication of the occasion, as many residents went about their normal duties as if nothing had happened.

Apparently, there was little to cheer about this time, compared to four years back when the late President John Evans Atta Mills was sworn into office.

The attitude of residents was that of indifference as there was little to demonstrate that a big occasion like the swearing in of an elected President was going on.

It was business as usual, as traders and hawkers at the Central Business District of Adum and office workers, rushed to their various destinations without giving much attention to the occasion.

Unlike in January 2009, where people who were not in their homes, converged at various vantage points to monitor the inauguration of the late President at yesterday's ceremony.

There were few discussions about the issue, except for some radio stations that extended their morning show progammes to cover the duration of the function.

Needless to say that the unconcerned attitude was utterly due to controversies surrounding the outcome of the elections and the fact that result was being challenged by opposition the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which has its stronghold in the region, some residents, deliberately or accidentally, said they were unaware that the President was being sworn in on the day.

Some of them, who were aware but refused to watch, said they did not want to be provoked or emotionally aroused hence their decision not to watch the event on television.

Some were of the view that the general atmosphere in the country towards the ceremony was a dim one, because there were questions about the legitimacy of the winner of the polls.

One resident told The Chronicle; "Look, the Sky has even frowned; there is little excitement in the air; that is what happens if you have a President who was elected through foul means."

A student at the Kumasi Polytechnic also noted; "on an occasion like the swearing in of an elected President was supposed to be one that every Ghanaian should be happy and proud of, but I don't see it that way this time round," recounting that of the late President Mills during where there was fanfare and merry making on some streets of the city.

However, on his part, a Lecturer at the Kumasi Polytechnic, Mr. Kusi Boafo believes the absence of the main opposition party and its executives took the shine out of the occasion.

According to him, the presence of the opposition was needed to consolidate the victory, the nationality and the unity that are being advocated by the President at occasions like a swearing-in of President-elect.

Mr. Kusi Boafo was of the view that the level of acceptance was low and that probably affected the beauty of the occasion, compared to four years ago.

"In moments like this, you need a cheerful opposition to reassure you of the authenticity of your victory; people may argue that there were enough presence of foreign dignitaries and heads of states but that is nothing compared to if say Nana Akufo Addo or executives of the NPP had been there to lend their support.

The Chartered Accountant and Business Consultant observed that it is obvious President Mahama has a lot of work to do if he wants to win the trust and confidence of the entire population, as nearly half of the voting population is still unhappy with his election.

He further noted that the President's call for sacrifice and unity can only materialize if he and his officials demonstrate similar traits in terms of governance and administration.

"You cannot tell people to sacrifice or unite when you yourselves embark on actions that seem to divide the nation or portray life of affluence and opulence; Ghanaians will demand lots of sacrifice from him and his officials first and this must be exhibited right from the word go," he observed.

Mr. Kusi Boafo said these can be achieved when the President demonstrates elements of true accountability and restrain his appointees from lavish spending that characterized the previous administration.

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