Ghana has a rich history in terms of political landmarks. The Country is credited for leading the struggle for the decolonisation in Sub- Sahara African and Africa at large. From the illustrious contribution of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as one of the greatest Pan- Africanist to the political Messiah of the Fourth Republic, Late President Jerry John Rawlings, Ghana is touted as the beacon of African democracy.
For being able to end incessant coup d’ tat to a stable multiple-party democracy for over 32 years, the country (Ghana) is referenced for efficient performance in the democratic dispensation in Africa.
The landmark election petition after the 2012 presidential and parliamentary election, further earned Ghana high feet in the global scale. We are living witnesses to happenings in Kenya, Cote d’ Ivoire, Namibia, etc. where disputed elections did not follow the legal path but rather ended in a post-election violence.
Women, children, adults and the aged were killed, hunger, exclusion, and diseases shrunk on. We in Ghana have demonstrated institutional maturity and choose a path that strengthens our democracy, growth, and development as a people. President Nana Akuffo Addo the opposition leader in the 2012 election was widely celebrated for believing in the rule of law. It was a show of responsible opposition leadership.
Fast forward we have a sitting president who could not retain the seat of government as he was voted out in 2016. It must be appreciated, the whole world, just like what happened in 2012, showered praises to president John Dramani Mahama for conceding defeat in the election.
In other African countries, some presidents had refused to accept defeat and turn their countries into turmoil. Fact must be stated; both distinguished politicians; President Nana Addo and Former President John Dramani Mahama have demonstrated high sense of patriotism and acted swiftly, when the nation so demanded their leadership.
It is important to note that, political leadership has been benchmarked as the highest institution for our governance and development agenda, and for that matter political process entailing elections are to help provide a platform for us citizens to choose leaders.
We must therefore focus on their track records, manifesto promises and general assessment of their performance to make our decisions. Young people must eschew tolerance, and responsiveness for us to have a peaceful election.
Luckily, Ghanaians have the opportunity to evaluate two dominant presidential candidates- President Nana Akuffo Addo and former president John Mahama.
Both Candidates have a privileged life growing up; while President Akuffo Addo’s father was the Head of State in the second republic, former President Mahama’s father was also the first Northern Territory Commissioner under President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. President Akufo-Addo had been in Government in the Kuffour’s led administration and contested the presidency three times and was lucky on the third attempts. He is vying in the contest for the fourth time and ultimately his last contest if elected.
President John Dramani Mahama on the other hand has contested the presidential election in two occasions. He won in the 2012 election and lost out in 2016. He is mounting a come-back and now in the race for the third time. Both Candidates are seasoned politicians; had been president before; and their family root had political jinn’s. They have profited from our multi- party democratic system and for that matter they should play the games according to the rules.
Let me spare some paragraphs and to provide a possible clue that will help guide you to understand that, election is not a do or die affairs.
What was their records in fighting corruption?
Former president John Dramani Mahama was straddled in corruption and cronyism; the regime was criticised and touted as a despot. They were countless cases of corruption allegations; from SADA Scandal to Bus branding saga; from Woyome to Brazil 2014 fiasco; Ford Saga to Zoomlion contracts; inflated roads to other infrastructural contracts, and so on. This compelled the regime to established the special complaint unit under the office of the president to receive complains and allegations of corrupt practices in the country. The John Mahama led administration could not survive the dismay and frustrations the regime put Ghanaians through. The issues of corruption contributed to his and party NDC defeat.
It must be stated; the NPP government that won 2016 at the back of corruption campaign were more deceptive than the NDC; the current regimes are rocked with numerous scandals including; PDS, Agyapa, Kelni GVG, Australia Visa Fraud, GH Cylinder Stimulus Package, Cash for Seat, PPA contracts for sale and so on. The regime had appeared as our last bet in fighting corruption. The establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor and a subsequent resignation following some revelations imply the government have failed to tackle the issue of corruption. One will not be far from right to conclude that; both John and Nana had endorsed corruption. It is not surprising that they have run away from the politics of corruption. As Hon. Martin Amidu likened the presidents conducted to issue of corruption as ‘mother serpent, I am also searching from the archive to look for the best phrase to described Former President John Mahama.
We have been engaging in politics of nepotism, sentiments, family and friends. While President John Mahama was accused of loading family and friends in his government; Nana Akuffo Addo have quadruple the practice. It is sad that we have politicised everything in Ghana. It is an issue that has to do with morality? Or a spate in the face of law?
The 2020 elections have several dynamics; a sitting president as against a former president. Both candidates are seeking for additional term to end their presidential time limits. The difference also is; in 2016 the NPP presented the most ambitious manifestoes that won the minds and heart of Ghanaians. However, in 2020 the NDC is equally presenting the most ambitious manifesto.
It must be added that, President Nana Akuffo Addo and Former President John Dramani Mahama have zeroed political leadership. It has been simplified to the point that, anybody can rule Ghana. The regimes have been too cheap and shallow; Appointing family and friends, borrowed too much, loots and share. We must therefore not die for desperate politicians. It is sad that there is no credible third alternative.
There is no need to vote for a party that only becomes relevant in elections year. President Akuffo Addo and John Mahama will not take care of your wife, children, and parents if you so die careless or caught up with the law. Politicians only need our thump and not our life and for that reason, every young man should not perpetuate violence to support their quest for victory. Their families get a better life while you are given GH$10.00 fuel to run around. Let their family take up the dirty or groundwork challenge. Every young man should quietly think of Ghana first; next to your family, thirdly your life, and lastly politics.
We the electorates have the opportunity to make an informed decision considering the conduct of the major parties, their track records, and manifesto promises. While we are focused on the presidential slot, let also show the exit to some MPs that have wasted several years in parliament and are exploiting structures, and sentiments to retain their seats. This election is an opportunity to retire all ill-performing MPs.
I entreat all voters to have the understanding that this election is about choices, it is about Ghana, and who so ever wins, Ghana wins.
May the best candidate wins!
Author; Tahiru Lukman
Youth Activist, Dev’t Consultant & Pan- African Author
Email: [email protected]