Fri, 05 Mar 2010 Feature Article

Bringing the Elephant Back into Town

Bringing the Elephant Back into Town

The much heralded National Delegates Congress of the Elephant fraternity ended successfully and peacefully on February 27,2010, with a completely new team elected into office. Though the Elephant was " Chased into the Bush", it is still a formidable force. To bring the Elephant back into town, the new leadership needs to concentrate in three major areas: The immediate establishment of a National Communications Directorate; an aggressive Foot Soldier Recruitment and Mobilization Unit ( National, Regional, and Constituency Levels) ; and finally a Professionally and Politically Mature Fund Raising Team (National, Regional, and Constituency.)

In playing Politics, strategy is of the utmost importance. Dye and Sparrow ( Politics in America) define Politics as " an activity by which people try to get more of whatever there is to get. It is about the struggle over the allocation of values and resources in a society. Simply put, it is about who gets what, when, and how." There are other definitions of Politics;" factional scheming for power," and "the use of strategy or intrigue in obtaining power or status" (The Politics of Campaigning and Winning Elections, Adom Tufuor). I like the last definition better in the sense that you need to use strategy or intrigue to obtain power or status and then you can decide on "who gets what, when and how." In fact the ruling NDC used this last strategy so efficiently well in the 2008 Elections that when all was over , they were at a loss as to the implementation of " who gets what, where and how." More about that later. The Communications Director will ensure the following at the National, Regional and Constituency levels:

1. That there is adequate media rebuttal to counter the NDC's incessant accusations.

2. That the Economic Policies of the NPP from 2000-2008 are adequately explained to the ordinary man in the street. That 'Economic Foundation' was laid and just at the time that the main 'Economic Building' was going to be built, the Party was voted out of office. Low inflation figures do not mean anything to the electorate unless it translates into low cost of living. These need to be explained.

3.That there is a proper explanation of the principle of Development in Freedom which has been renamed Property Owning or Property Grabbing by the NDC. Who in Ghana does not want to own property? Who in Ghana does not own something? There is the need for proper education of property owning minus the negative tag of corruption in high places.

4.That good reasons are given as to why certain Campaign promises could not be fulfilled. The people need to know this. The NPP waited too late in 2008 in tackling this issue. And the NDC capitalized on it to its advantage. And why not? They simply played Politics.

5. That the allegations regarding Nana Akufo Addo 's perceived drugs problems should be addressed. The "ehuru a ebedwo " mentality does not work in politics. There is the need for Communication. One of the best ways to do this is to provide additional information about other aspects of the candidate's character in order to give the electorate the fullest possible picture.

6. That the party's Campaign Machinery should not yield to the Campaign plan of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Opinion Leaders and Traditional leaders.

In the 2008 Elections, the IEA, Opinion leaders and some chiefs subtly coerced the candidates into believing the lie that there is no difference between negative Campaigning and Mudslinging. That's a lie. Negative Campaigning talks about the negatives of opponents that are irrelevant and cannot be proved. Mudslinging is the highlighting of the mess your opponent has created or gotten himself into. They must however be true and relevant to the race or the office being sought. If you talk about the positives of your opponent, you will be Campaigning for him. The best and logical source of negative information about a candidate is the candidate's opponent. The negatives must however pass the test: TRUTH and RELEVANCE. Always remember the efficient Communication Team of the NDC in Election 2008. The Alex Segbefia, Okudzeto Ablakwa, Fiifi Kwetey and Koku Anyidoho Team served their party so well that it seemed all of the NDC's resources were redirected to its Communication Headquarters. Why do you think it took them so long to make appointments to Government positions? They did not have enough time? Wrong. They were just too busy slinging mud at the NPP and whether we agree or not, the poor electorate bought what was presented to them by the NDC.

7. That both academics and professionals are recruited into the party Machinery. The interest of Academics center on why people vote, whereas professionals are only interested in how to get people to vote for the candidate. A combination of both is the ideal.

The next major point of interest is the aggressive Foot Soldier Recruitment and Mobilization Units. These should be at the National, Regional and Constituency levels. There is the need for the effective use of Foot Soldiers. And do not abandon them when you win. They will pay you back in four years if you do. They are your best connections to the locals.

Fund Raising Team: Professional and politically mature fund raising teams need to be formed at all levels, National, Regional, and Constituency.

They will need to raise money far in advance of an election. The Biblical concepts of asking and receiving will be useful here. The Fund Raising Team will need to:

a) Keep a list of contributors, their phone numbers, their fax/ email addresses.

b) Acknowledge the contributors. Let them know how much you appreciate them.

c) Use the Contribution Plan which spreads out payments; for example if 1000 people contribute GhC1000.00 over a certain period, this will bring a total of GhC1 million.

d) Ensure accountability.
At the end of it all, a good Communications Team, Aggressive Foot Soldiers, and an efficient Fund Raising Team will "Bring the Elephant back into Town"

Dr. K. Adom Tufuor is a Theologian, a Political Practitioner and the Author of "A Handbook of the Politics of Campaigning and Winning Elections".

March 5, 2010.