Akufo-Addo still doesn’t get it (Part II)

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Although he may have some bragging rights here to say that both President Ouattara and Gen. Buhari had faced similar upsets only to bounce back in success after several attempts, in his case, there is little to prove that he has brightened his corner for a rebound. The factors that dimmed his light at the previous elections still muddy his waters. Unfortunately, he has added more to them to deepen the hole. Let’s now see why Akufo-Addo’s age alone isn’t the determinant of his electoral fate.

CRISIS IN THE NPP

The most important factor eroding confidence in Akufo-Addo—and which will converge with other factors to deal a death-blow to him at Election 2016—is the crisis in his own NPP as a result of his miscalculations. For Elections 2008 and 2012, the NPP was a united force that operated with one voice. Not so for Election 2016 when the party is splintered because of the Gestapo tactics being used by the Akufo-Addo faction to either intimidate, de-voice, or alienate anybody perceived as not supporting Akufo-Addo. Even in the Ashanti Region, considered as the NPP’s birthplace and stronghold, there is division in the ranks because those supporting Akufo-Addo are at the throats of alleged opponents.

In the funniest political construction, such people are written off as “NDC moles” working hard to torpedo Akufo-Addo for the good of President Mahama or Alan Kyerematen. We already know of claims of an “Agenda 2020” and why an Akufo-Addo faction will adamantly gore anybody characterized as an internal foe. The rabid punitive measure of suspending Paul Afoko, Kwabena Agyepong, and Sammy Crabbe, among others, is a self-destructive one that has darkened Akufo-Addo all over the place. His leadership acumen is on the line, especially if one places current happenings against the background of the peace that had existed in the NPP before the previous elections. If Akufo-Addo couldn’t win those elections with a united NPP front, what guarantee is there that he can do so at Election 2016 with a divided house, his 72 years of existence on this troubled, sickened, wretched earth notwithstanding?

It is beyond question that the NPP on its own can’t dislodge the NDC from power. It needs more than itself to do so, which means counting on floating voters. But which floating voter will root for it, considering the tearing apart going on? On this score, it will be politically immature for the NPP people to continue harping on the failures of President Mahama’s administration as the means to win voter support. The voters will definitely expect more than that.

In Ghana, where the love for peace, security,  and national stability is paramount (considering the spate of terrorist activities in the world), Ghanaians will want to have a leader who will do things to ensure a congenial atmosphere, not one whose public posturing and public utterances portend danger. Akufo-Addo’s negative public image in terms of his own utterances (“All-die-be-die”, for instance) and his refusal to admonish members of his party preaching or threatening violence is a negative for him. So also is the persistent recourse to physical actions to silence critics within and outside. The conclusion is that Akufo-Addo is already seen in the public sphere as not a unifier. How, then, can he be entrusted with the reins of power (the destiny of Ghana), his old age notwithstanding?

OTHER ISSUES

Other issues that make Akufo-Addo’s narrowing of his inadequacies to the age factor portray him as not well-cut-out for the high office that he has set his eyes on. A careful analysis of reasons given by those who don’t want him as Ghana’s President says a lot. From the way he has managed to eliminate his opponents (or those with divergent views) from the helm of the NPP’s affairs, there is much concern that he isn’t accommodating. Not being accommodating means wanting to have things done his own way –surely, a malevolent bully or dictator! In a democracy, this kind of mindset and attitude is dangerous and u8nappealing to the voters. Akufo-Addo has sown this dangerous seed.

Although there is much talk that Akufo-Addo is not corrupt, happenings in the NPP under his watch make people jittery. For instance, the manner in which Freddie Blay, Abankwah, and Ken Ofori-Atta have done “magic” with the NPP’s finances—which would precipitate the internal wrangling and lead to the axing of Afoko and Agyepong—tongues are wagging to the disadvantage of Akufo-Addo. He is said to have benefited from the manouevres of Blay and his team. At this point, it is more than ridiculous for anybody to claim that Akufo-Addo isn’t self-acquisitive or corrupt. He is. If he isn’t, why can’t he act conscionably to right the wrong? An aspiring President who presides over corruption in his own political party can’t be trusted to protect the national coffers or fight a genuine fight to rid Ghana of corruption.

Probably, the new aspect of Akufo-Addo’s campaign strategy is the active involvement of his wife in the rhetoric. But what she has said so far has rather tipped the scale toward a lamentably ludicrous angle for him to contend with. She comes across as hollow. Saying that “My husband is not corrupt; he does what he promises” or that “an NPP government will have the welfare of Ghanaian women as its focus” isn’t vote-grabbing. The truth is that Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo herself has a lot of questions to answer when it comes to morality. She is carrying a baggage that is too heavy for her. I will leave this part for later. In truth, then, she comes across only as someone making her voice heard just in pursuit of the objective of becoming Ghana’s First Lady. Politically, she is hollow. So also is the wife of Dr. Bawumia. The truth is that people know much about the negatives of these people and will freely feed public discourse with them when the need arises. Is there any benefit, then, to be derived from using them in the electioneering campaigns?

I shall return…

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