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28.01.2005 Feature Article

Ghana: 2008 - Democracy Continued.

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Politics is not always about the best person winning. It is about numbers and it is about strategy but for the sake of mother Ghana, it is important that from hereon, we are blessed with nothing short of sincere, dedicated politicians who have in-depth knowledge of the needs of our society and have solutions for our problems.

We need leaders who understand leadership and are ready to effect change for the betterment of the 20 million plus people who make this great country what it is.

The next few years will present several challenges and opportunities that will transform our country, and especially the sub-region, as we know it. There is more convergence of economies in the sub-region, we are discussing a common currency, we see more cross border activity in terms of business and there is drive to focus on economic development in the sub-region as a whole.

Ghana will need dynamic leadership with a broader vision and talents that far exceed what is required to manage the economy today. It is from this perspective that it is being suggested that those in politics now or any citizen who feels they have something to offer in terms of leadership, and have the desire to get involved in politics, create and pursue a strategy now, that will create results and dividends for them in 2008. This includes the party in power today.

Ghana is simply looking for the best of the best now, in terms of human talent, and rightfully so. As such, if the shoe fits then take that below and run with it.

Every party in existence in Ghana today, needs to reposition its “brand”. Come out with manifestos that are relevant and address in pragmatic and simple terms how the contemporary issues of Ghana will be dealt with. Prior to the 2004 elections, the issues were not effectively dealt with. One could actually see some amount of disconnection between the public and those seeking the mandate to govern. This was an issue across the board and not especially with any one party.

In Ghana, regardless of what the feedback may be, especially from the urban folks, the rural population actually is the population segment which needs to be reached the most and must not be taken for granted. Any serious party must have several information mechanisms, which will reach this targeted audience with precision. From an organizational perspective, the two primary functional areas that will drive a party to success, will be a marketing arm and a multi-functional information team. These two functions should be at the forefront of every serious party's strategy. If properly managed they will create the success for any party out there.

In terms of issues, there should be little focus on negativity and it should not be about what the government of today is not doing. Rather focus on 'selling' how differently your party would approach issues that government may not be addressing in a manner that suits you.

The successful strategy should be to always come out with the alternative solutions, in clear terms, and not just point fingers, because in today's world, standing by and watching a crime, more or less makes one an accessory to that crime.

Politics as said before is about numbers, but it is not about manipulation. It is about using facts and information to ones advantage. Ghanaians today are not seeking 'true politicians', in the sense that we know them. They are seeking 'real' people, who talk like them, walk like them, and feel the same way they do. This means that there must be a real connection with the people and a party must have 'foot soldiers' out there, each day monitoring political sentiment and actually using this information to shape strategy for the 2008 campaign and elections. The choice of candidates and their messages must resonate with the public. This requires hard work.

Drawing on ideology is rubbish because no one ideology has given Ghana everything it needs and even today there is very little connection with the past ideology, which many parties use to define their organizations. Look at that segment of the population that make up the majority of voters and it is clear that in 1957 many were not born. Move away from this sort of ideological dialogue, as it has very little impact or political currency in contemporary Ghana.

The party must be run like a corporate body, with those who would be ministers, be put in place now and actually handling those issues related to their areas now. There is no need to wait until one wins before you put together a cabinet. That is a way of actually saying that you are not running to win. If you want to win act like you are a winner and play the part. Also having the 'mock' cabinet deal with the issues that they will handle in the future, on a daily basis, as it addresses issues of today, creates a relationship with the public, even before the time comes for elections, and of course makes the transition into the real position a breeze if and when one wins. This process also makes these 'to be' ministers sharper, and if the party is run as an effective organization, it improves their skills, especially that related to handling multiple tasks when the time comes for them to do so.

2008 should be the real test of the parties in existence now, and also all aspiring politicians. Hopefully those in key party positions who want to serve Ghana, can sit down and put together a strategy now, that will continue to give democracy a real push forward, thus providing our dear nation with solid managers who will move the development agenda ahead and create new opportunities for our dear country.

Ghana like any good company that is growing, can always use good talent. Democracy requires strong parties either in office or in opposition so the hope is that in 2008 this will be reflected in our political landscape. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Ako Folson
Ako Folson, © 2005

The author has 58 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: AkoFolson

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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