06.01.2024 Feature Article

2024 Elections – factors militating against Mahama

The contest may be Mahama's to lose and he can lose itThe contest may be Mahama's to lose and he can lose it
06.01.2024 LISTEN

Mahama’s time in office was so bad that we all thought the bottom of bad governance had been reached. Until Akufo-Addo still managed to prove us all wrong!

Now Mahama is making a comeback. The post is so sweet that he thinks it is his right to want it back. Power is sweet. Even Trump wants his second term and 81 year old Biden wants to deny it to him. If Akufo-Addo has the slightest chance of staying on, he will do it.

Mahama could have done a great service to his party by not standing and allowing a fresh face to be groomed for the leadership. He has had five years in office and was beaten twice after that. Anyone else would throw in the towel. But, kyenkyenaa, he wants it again! There were no forces in the party strong enough to talk him out of it. Mahama’s boundless ego will not let him see reason. Or is there a lack of talent in the party?

In free and fair elections, Mahama should be the runaway favourite against Bawumia not because he is any good but because many people are fed up with Akufo-Addo and his family and friends’ government and the lies of Bawumia who is tainted by association with the regime.

But Mahama can lose it. There are strong factors militating against him.

The NPP has found itself in a funk and the only way to prevent their incompetence from being further exposed is to hold on to power. They will fight through fair and foul means to protect their ill-gotten wealth.

They will rig the elections given the least chance. Jean Mensa, the Electoral Commissioner, is their person there. In a close contest, her voice will be decisive. Jean Mensa’s fortunes depend on NPP winning. She is aware of the fact that an NDC government too can manoeuvre and exploit loopholes in our faulty constitution to push her out just as was done to her predecessor. There is an Akan proverb about such a situation.

NPP has successfully infiltrated the top echelons of the civil and public services. The personal fortunes of individuals and their families will be at stake. For them, it is not about how badly the country is run but if they’ll remain in their positions with a change in government. An NDC government is a threat to their careers! In a country where political power has become a veritable source of wealth, the kleptocratic political elite will do everything to maintain their positions. Even the judiciary, whose uppermost court will be the arbiters of an eventual election dispute, is compromised.

The incumbent in African politics always has an advantage. They control much of the media. Despite the proliferation of cheap private electronic media, the role of the state owned media is still important. Apart from controlling the state broadcaster and the two most widely circulating national dailies, the ruling party has bribed many of the privately owned media to be on its side.

As the ruling government, the party has amassed a lot of wealth to splash out on convincing the people to vote for its flagbearer. We have seen the nauseous display of opulence in the gifts given to the delegates in the run up to the flagbearer primaries. Many of the rural poor need only a piece of cheap cloth or a kilogram of rice to vote for the giver. If you look into it, that is a rational human choice for the people who are remembered by the political rich only at these times. The NDC is also going to bribe voters but they have less money to throw around. The NPP can also fund thugs and unemployed hooligans to intimidate voters better than the cash strapped NDC can afford to do.

Ghanaians still vote on tribal lines. The NPP is still a party that draws its strength from its Akan base. The angry Ashanti youth routing for Kyerematen or loud-mouthed Agyapong and vowing never to vote for the mate who helped the driver steer the ship of state on to the rocks will still toe the tribal line when it comes to it. And the Ashantis, disproportionately the largest region, have a lot of votes. The Volta and Oti regions will line up behind NDC as usual but what are their numbers against the numerous Akans?

Then there is the rumour that Bawumia may be receiving funding from a powerful Nigerian Muslim Coalition with considerable influence. It is an unsubstantiated rumour but one that cannot be dismissed without investigation. If Muhamadu Bawumia should become president, it should be because a majority of Ghanaians of all religious persuasions freely choose him and not because of some outside influence wanting to see a first Muslim President in a Muslim minority country like Ghana. A similar foreign Christian influence is also not acceptable.

A lot will depend on the city dwelling educated elite who are more likely to vote purely on policy issues. In a close call, this can be decisive. How will this pan out? Pre-election polls cannot be relied on. They are becoming inaccurate these days even in countries with an older tradition of polling and access to better national statistics.

Mahama should look out! He should never forget that he is only the less of two bad choices. The contest may be his to lose and he can lose it!

There will be one consolation for many of us, anyway. No matter who wins in December, Akufo-Addo and the Akyem Mafia will be gone. We shall see the back of the unelected white-bearded Grand Vizier of the government who is also a member of the clan. That will be something!

Kofi Amenyo
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