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16.11.2008 Feature Article

The only Polls that Matter are those Conducted in Ghana!

The only Polls that Matter are those Conducted in Ghana!

I couldn't help feeling deeply insulted after reading the article pretentiously titled “Policy & Strategy Poll: Atta Mills Leads Akufo-Addo,” which appeared in the Ghanaweb.com edition of Nov. 16, 2008. Not only is the article, which pretends to be reporting the results of a “scientific” polling of some 7,000 potential Ghanaian voters in the heated run-up to Election 2008 unpardonably insulting to the intelligence of our citizens, it is obviously aimed at gratuitously and deviously muddying the waters in order to set the stage for congenital and pathological mischief-makers like Mr. Rawlings to create mayhem, in the wake of the certain defeat of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) come Dec. 7, 2008.

First of all, you don't want a guy with the dubious title of “Prince” Kassim sitting in London and kibitzing about who is headed towards presidential triumph in Ghana's 2008 general election. But I guess this “Prince” Kassim bloke has deftly figured out that a half-century into the postcolonial era, Ghanaians still appear to pretty much prefer Western opinions about them and their culture to their own organic and incontrovertibly authentic opinions about themselves.

What is interesting, though, is that this is not the very first time that we are being subjected to undue and flagrant external political influence. Between 1991 and 1992, for instance, in the wake of the total collapse of the Ghanaian economy by the PNDC pseudo-revolutionary regime, Monsieur Rawlings and his associates managed to get a London-based financial newspaper to “conduct a survey of potential Ghanaian voters,” when it became apparent that our half-Scottish waif, more infamously known as the Butcher-of-Dzelukope, was not quite done with exploiting and suppressing Ghanaians. And all too predictably the newspaper, which shall remain nameless, released deliciously cooked results, in the imagination of the extant Ghanaian strongman and his lackeys, at least, indicating that, indeed, if Flt.-Lt. Yor-Ke-Garri decided to civilianize himself and gun for the presidency of the then-inchoate and largely discursive Fourth-Republican dispensation, he would trounce any political opponent hands down, as it were. It goes without saying that we have all been witnesses to what transpired at the polls between 1992 and 2000.

But that a newspaper supposedly staffed by financial experts would goad Monsieur Rawlings into, literally, hijacking Ghanaian politics for nearly an extra decade, amidst glaring evidence of his massive structural destruction of the Ghanaian economy, must give us some cause to pause before attempting to swallow any “policy and strategy” poll purported to be originating from London. It is, of course, rather pointless to dispute the fact that a lot of darn good and even great things have come down to us from London, both in the past and presently. It just happens that objectively and accurately sizing up the Ghanaian political and electoral climate is not one of them. And, needless to say, we, Ghanaians, prefer it this way; for the center of Ghanaian politics is Ghana itself, just as it is only too commonsensical to anticipate that the epicenter of British politics would be Britain itself!

What is also inexcusably insulting is the fact that “Prince” Kassim would tell us that prior to his Oct. 25-Nov. 7, 2008 polling survey giving Prof. Atta-Mills a significant edge over Nana Akufo-Addo, of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), 53.67-percent to 42.01-percent, two other “policy and strategy” polls had been conducted by Mr. Kassim's so-called Policy & Strategy Associates, Inc., which the pollster cavalierly terms as specifically meant for the internal consumption of the staff of his company. This, indeed, is exactly what “Prince” Kassim says in his Nov. 16, 2008 Ghanaweb.com article: “The first two exercises, carried out between the months of June and September were for our internal research purposes.” How so? And if these earlier surveys were, indeed, publicly irrelevant or insignificant, then why mention them to us and then promptly decline to release their results? Or does this Arab-sounding Kassim guy take Ghanaian voters for dupes?

What is more, for a polling survey that claims to be comprehensive, the pollster curiously fails to tell his readers exactly what questions were posed, as well as the economic, ethnic and ideological suasions of the purported 7,000 potential Ghanaian voters polled, except to blab some nonsense about respondents having been in various forms and postures of relaxation at polling time, almost as if the latter, per se, are what make such polling “scientific.”

“Prince” Kassim also does pretty little to cover his widely exposed and snotty butts. For instance, regarding the identity of the sponsors of the poll, this rather vapid and protean tripe is what our “scientific” pollster has to offer: “It must be noted that this polling exercise is the third research sponsored by young Ghanaian professionals who are independent, multi-partisan working associates of the Policy & Strategy Associates, Inc., in the Diaspora.”

If the preceding does not amount to abject nonsensicality, I simply don't know what else does. What does Mr. Kassim, for instance, mean by the sponsors of his poll being at once “independent” and “multi-partisan” working associates – read “slaves” – of the Policy & Strategy Associates, Inc.? Here again, this scam-artist has probably, and quite accurately, figured out that many Ghanaians are not critical readers and thinkers of the English language, thus his dastardly and morbid attempt to pull such a fast one at us. Sorry, Sheikh Prince Kassim: Fourth-Republican Ghanaians have gone far past such statistical trash facilely and deviously disguised as a “scientific” survey. Try harder next time!

Then also, what is one to make of such stolid polling gimmickry as to liberally and generously award Nana Akufo-Addo the 4-percentage point margin-of-error in order to create a hypothetical run-off, whereby Prof. Atta-Mills barely falls short of the 50-percentage mark, plus the one vote, needed to clinch the presidency thereby avoiding a run-off? Why is the pollster so certain that Prof. Atta-Mills could also not, in fact, gain on the 4-percentage margin-of-error points? Some “scientific” polling, indeed!

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 18 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: [email protected]

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Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2008

This author has authored 4768 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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