Affects Us

TALE OF A GHANAIAN VOTER

mahama

I grew up in a home which has never believed in the so called revolution of 31st December, 1981.  In the eyes of many of my relatives, the Provisional National Defence Council (P.N.D.C) which later became the National Democratic Congress (N.D.C) is the worst thing to have happened to Ghana after independence. I grew up observing how my people bemoaned daily as the N.D.C ruled. It was a major part of my socialization process. As a kid, my mind was made up. Though I knew next to nothing about politics, I was convinced the N.D.C lacked the credentials to rule. It was a sad day for me when the N.D.C won the 1996 presidential election.

My home went dark. It was as if everyone had gone into hiding. I couldn’t deal with looks on faces of the people close to me. Then I remembered my Sunday school telling me God is able to deliver me from any trouble. So I prayed for a brighter day.  

In the beginning of the year 2000, I saw the colours of the two major political parties, flying all over. I saw groups of people in branded T-Shirts at various gatherings. I heard my relatives talking about political party rallies day-in-day-out. They shared with each what the political parties were saying about each other. One evening, I eavesdropped on a conversation between some of them; an uncle said “by hook or crook, we will unseat the N.D.C. We are tired; this nonsense must stop.” Then it dawned on me. The time for elections is here again.

The name of John Agyekum Kufuor became a song in my house. They sang it whilst eating, drinking, bathing and ridiculously, even sleeping. I didn’t know anything about him, so I asked. But I wish I hadn’t, because by the time my uncle was done telling me about him, I was exhausted. I remember dozing off a few times but he wasn’t ready to let me off the hook. In his words, “you asked for it.” My mind couldn’t grasp some of the things he told me but I cared less. As far as they wanted him to be President, I wanted that too. I didn’t want to see what I saw in 1996 so I prayed.  

There was a runoff in the presidential election and John Agyekum Kufuor was eventually declared winner. Parts of the nation went bananas. I did as well. Neither did I know or understand his campaign promises. But hey! who cared? Mission accomplished. I went straight to the back of the house, got on my little knees and thanked The Big Man up there. It couldn’t have gotten any more emotional.

I still had a lot to do in terms of understanding government policies and programmes, so I left it there. Politics will always be with us till the end of my days, so I knew had time. In the meantime I needed focus on finishing my primary education. Fast forward, 2004 came, President Kufuor was re-elected. In 2008, having served for two terms, President Kufuor couldn’t stand again because the 1992 constitution had made him ineligible. The New Patriotic Party (N.P.P), the political party which formed government at the time had to get a flag bearer to continue Kufuor’s legacy. It successfully did so but the opposition National Democratic Congress (N.D.C) won the 2008 presidential election.

I wish I could recount circumstances surrounding the defeat of the N.P.P, but some things are better left unsaid. It dealt a blow to the success story of the N.P.P. I had started following politics at that time, so to some extent I understood its nuances.

Prior to the 2012 general election, as custom would have it, the Electoral Commission opened its doors to accept new voters. I humbly accepted its invitation and went to pen my name. I can’t recall my reaction when I was eventually issued a voter identity card, but I was excited. Finally, I could have a say in who becomes President. In the 2012 presidential election, I had to adhere to tradition regardless. But as fate would have, the N.D.C won the election again. I had taken the pain the read about the political philosophies of the N.P.P and N.D.C. I agreed more with political beliefs that the N.P.P espoused. So, aside toeing the line, I had another leg to stand on as far as supporting the N.P.P was concerned.

The N.D.C led by President John Mahama ruled for another four years. The President and his cohorts did what they could, but I wanted more. I wanted a government which could do more than every day government business. I wanted a government which could think outside the box; an ambitious government which is prepared to take risks. I wanted a government with bold initiatives; a government which will transform this Guggisberg economy of ours. Ghana needed a government which could deliver us from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) dependency.

Government should make me feel safe, I wanted a government in whose hands I could entrust my security. I wanted a government with a clear means of dealing with corruption; a government which will not create, loot and share.

I was tired of rhetorics and the charlatans. I had had it. But I could only wait and trust my thumb. Winter was coming.

Winter did surely come. President John Mahama alias JM was overwhelmingly rejected by the Ghanaian people in the 2016 presidential elections. Of course, not forgetting my very good self. For the first time I had contributing to the ousting of a government in power. I could hardly contain my excitement. The then candidate Akufo Addo, now president, had given me a lot to think about. He had outlined a number of bold initiatives. He was ready to get me out of the doldrums. His running mate was poised for action; he was going to strengthen the fundamentals of our economy. My expectations were very high. The long awaited messiah had finally descended on a cloud. It’s been two years and I am beginning to believe that there is nothing new under the heavens. The scales on my eyes are falling off. Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.    

JM is back. He is back on the ticket of the N.D.C. He wants to be given a chance to write his wrongs and put an end to the cries of Ghanaians. However, unlike a dog, I can’t return to my own vomit. I can’t betray my political beliefs. Where is my integrity if I do? How do I go home and tell my people I will vote for a political party which has been a torn their flesh since time immemorial? How will I live with my conscience?

I don’t believe JM can do any better, and I also don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel under this current administration. You can call me a pessimist, a naysayer, a cynic or even a worrywart. It makes me no difference. I just have to wait for two years to choose the lesser evil between the two or just sleep on the fence.                    

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