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01.01.2005 Feature Article

Hawa Must Be Circumspect

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I admire Madam Hawa Yakubu a great deal and I know many other Ghanaians do. I think she is a great politician and a remarkable African woman. I also believe that her loss of the Bawku Central seat in Parliament is a great loss to the people of Bawku and the Parliament and Democracy of Ghana.

But I am afraid that the way Madam has gone about it is not fair. In her rush to town to engage in her blame game she is probably leaving many of her sympathisers behind.

Since losing the elections, Madam Hawa has blamed her defeat on everybody but her self. She has blamed the security agencies for not providing enough security. She has accused both the NDC candidate and the Independent candidate of intimidating her, and now she is accusing the Vice President of not campaigning for her.

Her latest offensive on the Vice President has only served to expose her real ambitions for 2008, for which reason, she might want to undermine the Vice President as a probable Presidential Hopeful. It is important to state from the onset that Madam Hawa has the right to accuse who ever she wants to accuse. But even as she does so, it is important for her to stick to the facts, rather than indulge in some self-serving twisting of the facts, and an obvious self-coronation.

Again it is important for Hawa to note that she is over playing the northern card, and in the process, she appears to be mourning more than the bereaved. It is not true that the NPP's performance in the north was embarrassing, and the fact that Hawa lost in Bawku will not make it otherwise.

The facts on the ground show that in the Northern Region, the NPP did 34.7% in the Presidential Elections in 2004 as against 29.58% in 2000. In Upper East it was 32.7 as against 16% in 2000 and in the Upper West it was 31% as against 15%. In the parliamentary elections, the NPP got 8 seats out of 26 in the Northern Region, 1 out of 10 in the Upper West Region and 2 out of 12 in the Upper East region. In the current parliament NPP has 5 seats in Northern (2 of them out of By-elections), 2 in the Upper East and no seat in the Upper West Region. Whichever way one looks at it, the NPP is rather gaining a foothold in the north, albeit, gradually. In the face of the facts, it seems obvious that, Hawa believes that she is the only person who can adequately represent the north, and in her absence the north will be short-changed. (I hope I am wrong, because that would be a mark of intolerance and an exaggerated opinion of her self). Unfortunately, Hawa is not representing her self; she is representing the good people of Bawku Central. And in the judgement of the people, Madam has done her bit, and needs to move on.

The most disturbing angle to all of this is the attempt by Madam Hawa, to weave other northern politicians into the equation, in order to give her some credibility. For God's sake, all the people she named that the Vice President did not help are people with the clout and confidence to speak for themselves. Why is Hawa appointing herself a spokesperson? She has given hints that she will not support the Vice President, if the latter decides to run for President. She would probably contest him in the primaries. That is a good idea. It will enhance Ghana's democratic credentials to have a female President. It would be another in the string “FIRSTS” that Ghana has achieved in Africa.

After making all those spurious allegations against the Vice President, Hawa admitted on the same platform that it would probably have made no difference if His Excellency the Vice President had campaigned for her, because of the margin of defeat. This made her accusations against the Vice President all but a classical case of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

But, with all her clout and influence as well as international pedigree, especially in the sub-region, it looks to me curious that Madam Hawa still needed a photo opportunity with the Vice President in order to a win a seat of which she claimed before the elections that she was comfortably in-charge. Perhaps, if Madam had concentrated a bit more on campaigning in the northern constituencies, rather than on influence peddling in the more secure, Mfansteman West, Okai Koi North and Shai-Osudoku, the north would have done better than what she describes as “an embarrassing performance”. Instead, she styled herself a kingmaker and was criss-crossing constituencies to install queens. In the process she forgot that, it is better to lose a friend than to lose a relation. And it came to pass that she lost her relations in Bawku Central.

Again, to describe the NPP's performance in the north as embarrassing is not fair to the Foot Soldiers, who braved the storm to achieve the improved performance that we have witnessed in the last elections. If we would not play ostriches, we should be bold and admit that the North is a stronghold of the NDC. Therefore, our performance, with all of the issues of Dabgon and other flash points in the north working against us, I think the performance was remarkable. Bearing in mind, the age-old stereotypes that bedevil our party's relationship with the north and zongo communities. We need to work hard to change that, but no body should assume that it is going to change by the waving of some magic wand.

It is absolutely imperative that our northern politicians stay together to join hands with their counterparts from the south to develop our country. It is even more crucial for us the youth to see that the leaders have a common voice, otherwise, these petty squabbles can further worsen the political and chieftaincy problems in our communities, especially, when, sympathisers are given reason to believe that their idols are being given a raw deal.

It is regrettable that Madam Hawa lost her seat. I am going to miss her fluid and cogent debates in parliament. All of Ghana will miss her. Unfortunately, in this election, the decision was to be made by her people, and they did. Let us respect the choice of the people. There will be another opportunity for Madam to serve her people, party and Ghana, one way or another. For now, let us move on. In my view she is a great Ghanaian, but she may have fallen short of being a great citizen of Bawku, at least, the voters in her constituency think so. Mohammed Gausu C/o Buipewura's Palace Buipe, N/R Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Mohammed Gausu
Mohammed Gausu, © 2005

The author has 8 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: MohammedGausu

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