What a boring major political electioneering campaign season?

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Folks, how many months more to Election 2016; and what a boring season we already have? Nothing invigorating. It’s all about boorish politics by the opponents and inaction on the part of the incumbent, who seems not to know how to use his massive accomplishments to market himself to neutralize those making promises that they don’t believe in but are highlighting to a gullible voter population!!

Truth be told upfront, what I see happening in this season is far less inspiring than what had happened in previous pre-election periods. Nothing assuring, reassuring, or motivating. It’s all drab!! Why so?

The hiccups undermining the electioneering campaign period preceding the December 7 polls are obvious; and they make the entire process boring and annoying. For the records, what has happened so far and is likely to persist before Election Day makes Election 2016 really uneventful, even if the stakes in the NPP camp are high for an Akufo-Addo victory. Nothing really substantial has happened so far to make Election 2016 interesting or challenging. In truth, it seems not to measure up to previous ones. The inability of Parliament to change the Election Day to November 7 is itself a sore sticking point. Why so?

A good exploratory survey should help us know that although there seems to be much at stake as far as the self-gratifying posturing of the NPP is concerned, what has happened in this year’s electioneering process really waters down everything to make our politics a laughing stock. Let’s raise some aspects for comment.

  1. THE HAMSTRUING NPP CAMP

The NPP camp is still fixated on “book” and “rogue” politics and has maintained its politics of calumny, seeing everything done or not done, said or not said by the John Mahama-led administration as its trump card to play to a citizenry not really informed about what the NPP has up its sleeves to solve problems. Or not even interested in their kind of pessimism. All that has issued forth is about threats, threats, and more threats to turn the country upside down if Akufo-Addo doesn’t win Election 2016. As to how he will win the elections, we are not told, even if we have been given a clear picture of the militancy that undergirds his quest. His ventriloquists have already told us that they will do all they can for him to win the elections by hook or crook. What a load of tosh!!

The “hook” edge may ensnare him if he doesn’t play his cards well. As for the “crook” part, I leave it to them to determine. If crookery is what will settle him at the Flagstaff House, so be it; but their4 kind of crookery is a child’s play thing that has already been discovered, exposed, and undermined. Their attempts to infiltrate the system with external security and intelligence elements has been neutralized; their training of militants to fight their cause and arming them as such is already a non-starter;  and their whipping up of ethnic sentiments has already detracted from their worth. What next that won’t be known in advance?

The truth is that the NPP people have put all their tiny eggs in one huge basket on their heads that they are running around as they intensify their “Concert Party” enactments, deceiving themselves that by harping on what they see as the failures of this government, they will be reaching out successfully to the voters. The Ghanaian electorate need what Akufo-Addo is not providing to boost his chances. Recourse to social media to indulge in the staid politics of deception and Photoshopping of images won’t add up either. Beyond that, they have spent their forces fighting on grounds of technicality and personal attacks.

Consider all that they have done and said about the Electoral Commission and its Chair, the voters register (especially the infamous allegation against registrants in the Volta region as Togolese undesirables infiltrating the Ghanaian electoral system), the electoral map, electronic transmission of election results, and many more and you should know that the NPP’s strategies for Election 2016 fall far short of what it used for previous elections that its Akufo-Addo lost. Is it Election 2008 when the “kangaroo dance” and the carnivals took the centre-stage? Or Election 2012 when the NPP put e4verything into the fray but ended up seeking power at the behest of the Judiciary only to be pooh-poohed with the truth that elections are won at the polling stations?

Now that Akufo-Addo is on a begging spree, having succeeded in destroying the administrative structure of his own party, what will he do differently to win the hearts, minds, and thumbs of the voters? Certainly, not his vacuous and impulsive talk of establishing a factory in every district of Ghana or his appeal that having failed twice to become Ghana’s president, he should be tried at his third appearance. That is the mark of the most offensive level of desperation to scare the voters. Ghana has gone beyond the trial-and-error approach to nation-building. So, where goes next, Akufo-Addo?

  1. THE NDC CAMP

Any complacency on the part of the NDC will be the cause of its doom at Election 2016. Truth be told, President Mahama has used his mandate to address major existential problems, especially the aspect of infrastructure. We have already made it clear that countries that develop regard infrastructure as the engine of growth; but in Ghana’s case, there is a mismatch, especially if the NPP’s claim is anything to go by: How can a hungry people use the facilities that the government is providing them that don’t put food on their tables? Shortsightedness at is best, but good for narrow politicking!!

That is why the NDC machine should have long before now done more public education to allay fears, doubts, and suspicions. Unfortunately, the NDC leaders don’t know how to use “communication” to improve the party’s standing. They have invested time, energy, and resources in engaging those they call “Serial Callers” who know nothing about decent politics. These are heard on radio stations, standing toe-to-toe with political opponents and exchanging harsh words just for its own sake, deceiving themselves that the more noise they make, the more they win the hearts and minds of voters.

The fate of the “Montie Three” explains it all. I don’t sympathize with them and wish that President Mahama won’t make the mistake to pardon them. Doing so won’t add anything to his political standing. Their fate confirms the deplorable approach of the NDC/government toward public outreach for political advantage. Can’t President Mahama and his administration/NDC be sold to the voters without what the “Montie Three” chose to do? What was the compulsion? To prove to the NPP’s evil mongers that the NDC also has its squad of media gladiators? What nauseating stupidity isn’t that approach!!

So, why don’t I turn the table now to let the NDC leaders know that their inability to market their own party and its government’s accomplishments (Forget about the stage-managed “Accounting to the People Tour” to look at deeper level issues), its challenges, and failures is a major hindrance?

In many opinion pieces, we suggested to President Mahama especially to use his credential as a “communication expert” to smooth his own path by establishing mechanisms/structures for dealing with the public on his government’s work. We recommended “Weekly Radio Broadcasts” and the opening up of channels of communication so pertinent issues could be laid out and the public informed about happenings. Nothing has happened so far. Had anything happened, the public would have been well informed and positioned enough to put the government’s version against the lies and fabrications being spread by its detractors.

Unfortunately, our suggestion wasn’t taken up. Now that the lies and fabrications have gained grounds, the government is forced to be reactive in this electioneering period, expending all forces to make its voice/case heard. How saddening!! Had the right step been taken to make the public know what the issues are, there would have been no need to do damage control.

That is where the inability of the government and Parliament to pass the Right to Information law comes up. By failing to enact that law, how do they think Ghanaians will regard them? Too much to worry about here.

In concluding the aspect on the NDC, let me say here without any doubt that the NPP has won the media game and will remain so till whatever happens. In that sense, if the NDC loses Election 2016, it should blame itself for not being strong enough in projecting itself to the electorate. What it is doing now for Election 2016 falls far below what it did in previous circumstances.

  1. THE OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES

As has been with the mushroom political parties that come to notice just because they have people leading them and making their voices heard in the public media, especially because of controversies, so has it been for Election 2016. Nothing has changed. Nothing to enthuse over except that Hassan Ayariga has formed an All People’s Congress to add to the lot while Madam Ekua Donkor and her amorphous front are nestling with the Mahama administration and causing needless credibility problems. Nettlesome!!

Bring in the others that contested previous elections and you can tell how deceptive our politicians can be. That is where it should be possible for a legislation to streamline affairs. From what has issued forth from the stables of the one-man-show political parties of Dr. Nduom’s PPP type or the torn-apart pro-Nkrumahist front, there is no doubt that these depleted political forces have positioned themselves to do nothing but baiting for personal gains. That is why Dr. Nduom is glibly talking about a run-off so his party can find a small honey comb somewhere to drain. Be that as it may, Ghana suffers.

MY CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

In effect, then, folks, what has been happening so far isn’t encouraging. It is depressing insofar as it lowers the bar. I don’t think that any drastic change will occur for me to be proud of as a Ghanaian observing happenings toward Election 2016. Will any surprises occur? I don’t know. My kind of truth is that the kind of politicking going on toward Election 2016 is not only drab but it also lacks substance. We had better moments than what has unfolded so far. It’s all because our democracy isn’t growing. Will it ever grow; and by what means? I don’t know. Maybe, you do. Let us know why!!

I shall return…

  • E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com
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