By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Folks, just when we think that the NPP’s “Concert Party” shows will be pushed to the back burner as the electioneering campaign season opens, the main actors and actresses continue to prove us wrong. Just when we think the jokes will give way to serious issues relevant to our efforts at tackling our challenges of development, the drama veers off to the weird pitch of begging Ghanaians to “try” Akufo-Addo too at the helm of affairs because contesting Election 2016 is his third attempt. Hoo-doo!!
We have said time and again that the NPP is bereft of any convincing campaign message to outdo the incumbent Mahama-led administration at the polls. It demonstrated that lack of capacity at Elections 1992 and 1996 in which Jewry Rawlings trounced its candidates (the late Adu Boahen and J.A. Kufuor, respectively).
A determined Kufuor, however, rode on the support of the other minority parties to clinch victory in the 2000 run-off after failing to win directly at the first attempt. His retention in power at Election 2004 needs no elucidation. He did what appealed to the electorate.
Not so thereafter. Despite all that the NPP put into campaigning for Akufo-Addo to replace Kufuor, he flopped even after winning the first lap narrowly at Election 2008. There was too much of the carnival (“kangaroo dance”) in his showmanship that was to turn against him in the run-off with the late Atta Mills. He didn’t enjoy the backing of the minority political parties as Kufuor had done before him. Why so? Your guess is as good as mine, even as the truth stands that without the support of the minority political parties, the NPP cannot outdo the NDC.
At Election 2012, we all saw how the NPP went about politicking. It re-opened dead wounds and hit hard on the wrong chord to fetch defeat for Akufo-Addo. The knockout punch was delivered “one touch”. No room for anything like a run-off. All his wailing, gnashing of teeth, and empty bravado in the petition hearing exploded in his face to prove to him that once t5he electorate saw nothing good in him, they won’t favour him. His theatricals ended in smoke but his ambition to continue tempting Fate is still alive.
For Election 2016, he hasn’t come out with anything new to woo the electorate. Backed by Dr. Bawumia, all that he is churning out is the selfsame stale political jingoism, abject nauseating criticism of the incumbent as if doing so will change the tide in his favour. There is more to it, though.
Akufo-Addo has begun singing a new tune to raise the tempo of the NPP’s “Concert Party” enactments. He is singing like a canary, appealing to Ghanaians to “try” him too. Eih!!
Politics may be a game of chance, but it is not to be played the way Akufo-Addo is setting it up. Winning Presidential elections demands tough politicking and strategic use of every opportunity to present well-thought-out messages on nation-building. It calls for acute political efforts to sell oneself, based on stated capabilities in administrative acumen, political maturity, forthrightness, and many other traits that will catch the citizens’ eyes; not a mere appeal to the speculative imaginary.
It goes beyond merely churning out a catalogue of well-rehearsed criticisms of the government in power. The trail being left behind by the incumbent is visible, which needs no highlighting. A candidate who harps on such trails is wasting his time. The people already know what is working well or not working well. What they don’t know is how those seeking to replace him can do better.
In other words, the electorate will not be persuaded by the flogging of the dead horse (or is it the “dead goat” that President Mahama says he is?). They expect messages that will win them over because they indicate a better direction. Such messages aren’t to be wrapped around mere promises and threats of mayhem if political power eludes them again. The voters are fed up with promises. They are looking for substance.
Unfortunately, Akufo-Addo and his cabal aren’t giving the messages with substance. Instead, they continue to issue threats, to hurl insults at President Mahama, and to confront the Electoral Commission. To worsen it all, Akufo-Addo has set the stage for begging the voters to “try him” too, which is hollow and politically misplaced. No trial-and-error in this 21st century, especially when the candidate is still carrying a heavy baggage of questionable contents. That baggage did much harm to him at Elections 2008 and 2012. Unfortunately, he has added more weight to it. How about the fracturing of the NPP under him because of his own miscalculations? Two troubles one God!!
His appeal to be tried has already hit deaf ears. It has attracted bitter criticism and won’t help him gain any traction. As if that’s not visible enough to his own camp, that begging to be tried has been carried to a whole new level by none other but his own wife (Rebecca Akufo-Addo). As reported, “she has appealed to Ghanaians to give her husband the opportunity to steer the affairs of the country, come November 2016…. Nana Akufo Addo is running for the third time. Help him to change Ghana for the better by voting for him massively in the coming elections. He is my husband, and I know what he can do.” (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Give-my-husband-a-chance-Mrs-Akufo-Addo-433261)
Her reason? “Nana Akufo-Addo is an honest, incorruptible, and hardworking person who has the interest of the country at heart, and when given the opportunity, can turn the fortunes of Ghana around”.
Then, she undercuts herself in that same breath: ”At this critical stage in our country where people are fast losing hope in politicians to address the current economic crisis and deal with corruption, Ghana needs a leader who is honest, decisive, incorruptible, and competent, to improve the lives of the citizenry.”
All these attributes may be music to her ears but they aren’t to those who have continuously rejected Akufo-Addo. And there is more to it. It is pathetic for Rebecca to say that “people are fast losing hope in politicians to address the current economic crisis and deal with corruption” yet beg for her husband to be put in power. Is he not a politician of the old stock who has for long lost the hope, trust, and confidence of the people? Is this woman aware of Akufo-Addo’s sordid performance in the Kufuor administration? Or she was too busily lapping up the windfall from the corrupt Kufuor government to know what was really happening!
Akufo-Addo not corrupt or corruptible? I disagree. Happenings involving him prove his own wife wrong. Is she aware of how the NPP’s affairs are being mishandled by Akufo-Addo in direct reaction to Paul Afoko’s insistence on the party’s fund be accounted for by Fraudie Blay and Abankwah (when all indications of the funds being surreptitiously deposited in a secret account and withdrawn to serve Akufo-Addo’s needs)? Has she ever heard of the findings of the Nana Ohene Ntow Committee?
What is Rebecca’s understanding of “corruption”, anyway? Generally speaking, corruption doesn’t involve only money stealing or the manipulation of transactions for financial gains. It goes far far beyond that narrow scope. The frightening one for Rebecca to know about her husband is all over the place—MORAL CORRUPTION. There is a lot about Akufo-Addo in that realm to make her cringe if she has the heart to learn about it all.
For now, let’s turn attention to two claims made by Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings. She is on record to have said that:
i. “Akufo-Addo’s children (with Rebecca) are not his own”
ii. “Akufo-Addo is not a (genuine) lawyer”
We don’t want to go into the paternity part of the allegations. As the Gas say, “Only mothers know”, which explains why they are quick to poke fingers into the eyes of those with questionable origin: “Ya bi onye” (“Go and ask your mother”).
The second allegation is still strongly featured in public discourse, especially given the Gestapo style with which Justice Kpegah’s suit against Akufo-Addo was used to sweep the suit under the rug. No one can ever persuade me that Akufo-Addo was duly certified by the Honourable Society of Middle Temple. His claim that his certificate was missing and the stealthy manner in which the General Legal Council enrolled him into the Ghana Bar without any concrete proof of a law qualifying certificate will continue to haunt him till he owns up. If he doesn’t do so, he won’t die!! Isn’t there a case of moral corruption here?
What next will come from Rebecca? That her husband is healthy and virile enough to perform the functions of a President? We have already heard from the man himself that he is virile. Next flat joke, please!!
Until Akufo-Addo comes clean on these issues, he will remain unappealing, not to talk about the poor opinion of him as an arrogant and violent person. It is not for me to prove because his own unguarded utterances and happenings in the NPP, leading to violence and the division of ranks, amply speak volumes. Add to that dark spot the happenings surrounding the deported South African mercenaries and many others and you should know why Akufo-Addo and his wife are now begging Ghanaians to try him. But that begging is misplaced. It won’t wash with anybody, especially in the absence of anything to erode the poor opinion about him.
Folks, we note here that nowhere in the history of party politics in Ghana has any wife of a contestant come out to do what Rebecca has done. The wives of the Great Osagyefo, Dr. Busia, Dr. Hilla Limann, Jerry Rawlings, Agyekum Kufuor, Atta Mills, John Mahama never begged Ghanaians to try their husbands. None even personalized the politicking that preceded the elections. These candidates stood the elections on their own merit and won.
I can’t even recall any occasion on which the wives of the defeated Presidential candidates stooped so low as to beg Ghanaians the way Rebecca has begun doing. Why beg the electorate if your husband has the requisite qualities to recommend him to the electorate?
By choosing to beg this way, both Akufo-Addo and his wife have deepened their woes. They come across as really desperate and hollow. If Akufo-Addo has what it takes to outdo the incumbent, he must project it and stop this begging crusade. Politics in this century demands more than such an appeal to nothing!!
After playing pranks with the religious bodies under the pretext of the worn-out phrase “The battle is of the Lord’s”, is it now a matter of begging Ghanaians to help Akufo-Addo fulfill his childhood ambition? Is the Lord no more fighting his electoral battle for him? The last time I checked, he even fell down at the point of being prayed for in church. Next joke, please!!
I shall return…
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