One of the greatest problems facing our politics today is the lack of credible alternatives to the party in power. Apart from a few fanatical supporters of the present government, many Ghanaians will want to try something else that is a refreshing change from the old politics. The only problem is that none of the available alternatives can be said to be any better.
Today, the only real alternative many Ghanaians think of to an NDC administration is an NPP one. But the NPP, as an alternative to the NDC, is only the other one of two equally bad choices! The other parties are so far behind the pack that a vote for any of them will be like a spoilt ballot. But that will depend on whether it is the parliamentary choice or the presidential one.
Since the choice of a parliamentary candidate is only a constituency-wide one, a vote at that level can be more meaningful than one for the choice of a president which will be determined by the national tally. I come from a constituency in the Volta Region which is an NDC redoubt. If I cast my vote for the NPP parliamentary candidate in my home village, it will be a lost ballot since it will be overwhelmed by the NDC votes. But my vote for the NPP presidential candidate in my Volta Region NDC stronghold will be meaningful since it will form part of the national count for the candidate.
Fortunately for me, I am registered in a constituency in Accra and I intend to be there when the elections take place. The cosmopolitan nature of our national capital means that the one-way voting patterns that we see in the “ethnic” constituencies in other regions, such as the Ashanti and Volta Regions, are not easily replicable there. Most of the floating voters are in the big cities where most of the middle class live and work. I, therefore, have a chance to make both my parliamentary and presidential ballots count. All told, it is at the constituency level that we can make sure that the next parliament is not filled up with only NDC and NPP representatives.
As at now, I am deciding that I am going to vote for the NPP parliamentary candidate in my Accra constituency but not for the party’s presidential candidate. You see, I have been trying very hard to learn to stop worrying and love Akufo-Addo. This has not been an easy task. I just cannot warm up to him. I am still to be convinced that if Mahama is doing badly that means Akufo-Addo is bound to do better. The potentially better alternatives to Mahama are not even in the running. Akufo-Addo is in the running but I do not think he is one of the better alternatives. That is why I will not vote for him.
I do not see what there is going for Akufo-Addo. His grim, almost desperate, determination to achieve a goal (a human strength in other endeavours) may appeal to some. To some of us, it is the kind of foolhardiness that should not be rewarded. After all, it is not as if there is a lack of people (capable or otherwise), even within his party, wanting to rule us.
There seems to be no ambivalence about Akufo-Addo. You either love him or dislike him. And there are some who have made a profession of writing to express either sentiment of him. This is politics and people have all kinds of reasons to like or dislike a particular candidate. But I suspect many members of the party he leads just tolerate him or show their support for him because they cannot do otherwise. And then there are all those who hail him in fulfilment of their clannish loyalties. But I am not compelled by any of these reasons. I am a footloose voter and I need strong reasons to give him my nod. I am still looking for those reasons.
Akufo-Addo is not a new type of politician even though some people are trying to present him as such. He represents continuity of the old politics but what we need is a real change! The bitter in-fighting within the party that he is presiding over is symptomatic of the old politics. He is the major cause of that infighting! There is nothing that suggests that this will not go on should he form a government and plum posts will be up for distribution with rewards for supporters and punishments for detractors. It may be so bitter that animosities will be carried on for long to the detriment of the national wellbeing.
Yes, I know there are other considerations to be pondered over. Despite the many negative things beings said about the candidate and the fact that he leads a house that is divided unto itself, he can still deliver the punch as executive president, given the enormous powers our constitution confers on that office. Then there is that third world phenomenon of choosing “politicians who steal money but get the work done” favouring NPP more than it does NDC. But I am still not feeling comfortable.
In the end, I wish to state that since I am far from the corridors of power and don’t personally stand to lose or gain directly from whoever wins, I really do not care who wins. I won’t lose a moment’s sleep over the outcome of the elections. The saddest thing is that, there are many Ghanaians who also feel this way.
There is still a long way to the elections. There is time for me to learn to stop worrying and love Akufo-Addo enough to cast my vote for him. But, right now, I just don’t know how to do that. Will somebody help me, pleeeeeease?
Kofi Amenyo ([email protected])