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STATESMAN OPINION: THE CHOICE FOR VOLTA: STAY EXTREMIST AND STAGNATE ‒ OR BE PRAGMATIC AND DEVELOP

General News

The culture of intimidation and needless propaganda in the National Democratic Congress, which has bred nothing but drudgery and underdevelopment in most areas where the party holds sway over the lives of people, may be coming to an end, if the results of the 2016 elections are anything to go by.

The culture of intimidation and needless propaganda in the National Democratic Congress, which has bred nothing but drudgery and underdevelopment in most areas where the party holds sway over the lives of people, may be coming to an end, if the results of the 2016 elections are anything to go by.

 

In the 2000 elections, a majority of Ghanaians, evidently fed up with intolerable levels of intimidation, decided to say goodbye to the Jerry John Rawlings-led government in an emphatic manner in presidential elections which ran to a second round – even when it was largely felt that the NPP had already won the battle outright.

The second round not only confirmed the first-round victory, but also signalled resoundingly that Ghanaians had decided that the NDC, after Rawlings, had little to offer.

 

                                      Power, corruption and lies

 

The 2008 elections, still fraught with controversy because of deliberately weak implementation and monitoring structures, ended with the personal verdict of the then Electoral Commissioner when he decided to allow chaos and intimidation, rather than fair-mindedness, to decide the issue. Here was an election in which the national leadership were going from village to village showing portraits of past heads of state and arguing that it was time for another tribal group which had not had a president to lead the nation.

After the NDC won the 2008 parliamentary and presidential elections, and on into the still controversial 2012 elections, the anti-Akan swansong failed to die down, fuel being provided by President John Dramani Mahama, who succeeded the late Professor John Evans Atta Mills.

On campaign platforms, instead of pointing to his achievements and development programmes in a civil manner, the President persistently referred to himself as “one of your sons” whenever he found himself in the North. To him, that was the basis on which the three northern regions should vote for him and his party. And that remained the case despite the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) and other scandals, created by presidential cronies from the northern part of our country and perpetrated technically against those same poor regions.

But thankfully, after 2012, constituencies, regions and segments of the population which had been liable to such campaigns of intimidation, lies and deference to the EC leadership to determine electoral outcomes began to feel the worsening impact of the NDC’s and Mahama’s incompetence in managing the nation’s affairs.

 

                                                    Tribal politics

 

Settler farmers, zongos, unemployed youth in Ga-Dangme communities, students in tertiary academic institutions and the huge majority of workers in the formal and informal economies alike were beginning to see the doom and gloom at the end of the tunnel. The previous politics of ethnicity and intimidation that the NDC was mouthing on platforms began to count for little.

While some regions and subsections of the population took a firm decision to part ways with the NDC by voting overwhelmingly for the New Patriotic Party in the 2016 elections, it appeared that Volta was still largely nervous about ethnicity, having been fooled long enough by the NDC. The deception had continued even as the party’s appointees, including juvenile figures from that same region, made good money for themselves, their families and their friends.

The latest twist to the NDC’s opium of lies is the Ghana Card, which ‒ they insist, without producing a shred of credible evidence to prove their allegations ‒ is rubbish, meaningless and bad… but only for the good people of Ghana who live in the Volta Region.

 

                                              Gut reaction or facts?

 

In President Akufo-Addo’s engagements on his official tour of the Volta Region, which started on 9 July, he had the opportunity to share with ordinary citizens and local traditional, religious and opinion leaders’ issues of development. They discussed how vital data will be in facilitating Ghana’s growth.

In 2020, the people of these communities, voters and non-voters alike, will be able to look back on the tenures of the two most recent governments and judge which of them can be trusted. Will they would put behind them the needless propaganda that their interests inevitably put them in competition with the Akans, and so help keep the NPP in power in the interests of development? Or will they stay in bed with the NDC, in the faint hope that the party will return to power, carrying its usual baggage of stagnation for the Volta Region?