By Boakye-Dankwa Boadi.
The Ghana News Agency on Monday February 27 2006 reported: “President John Agyekum Kufuor has signed into law the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA), his Press Secretary told the Press at a Castle briefing on Monday.
Mr Kwabena Agyepong said the President gave his assent on Friday, a day after its passage by Parliament.
This brings to an end the round one of the contest between those for the Act and those against it. This Writer knew the Government was going to enact the Law that was why he emphasised in a previous article on the dangers in its implementation.
It was obvious that the Government was going to enact the Law because it could not imagine how it was going to finance its Election 2008 political campaigns without the financial support of New Patriotic Party (NPP) Branches in the United Kingdom and United States of America that had threatened to withhold their funding.
The other reason was rather egoistic. The Government wanted to prove to the Minority in Parliament that they were in control so they could not be intimidated. Indeed some of the comments NPP commentators made were to say the least very irresponsible: “Let us fight the National Democratic Congress (NDC) so that we would see who is stronger.”
Why should a Government elected to rule a country precipitate conflict just to show that it had the muscle? Who does not know that the Government controls the coercive agents of State and can decide to unleash the might of the Military, Police and the Intelligence machinery of the State on the people? Africa is replete with Leaders, who use the coercive agents of State against their political opponents. Is that the type of Leadership we want in this beloved country?
Seconds Out! Round Two!
The opponents of the Law must now take the battle to the people of Ghana to decide. They must craft their campaign messages very well to win the support of the people.
For example when they go to Asante Akim Morso, the Holy Town that supported the NPP candidate to the hilt during Election 2004, they should ask the people whether their Member of Parliament consulted them and they agreed that she should vote for the Government to use the money that should be expended on sinking boreholes for them to carry ballot boxes to the United Kingdom, United States and the other 157 countries in the world.
When they get to Asante Akim Krufa they should ask them whether they agreed that the money should be used for the same purpose instead of using it to tar their link road to the Konongo - Agogo road which becomes so slippery when it rains.
When they get to Dumanafo near Mamponteng , where NPP got almost all the votes cast in 2004, they should ask the people whether they agreed that their MP should vote for the Government to use money to send ballot boxes and ballot papers to Ghanaians in the Diaspora instead of tarring their two-kilometre link road to the Kumasi – Mampong road.
They should not forget to go to Akyremade, Yabi and Akosombo also in Ashanti Region, and to ask them whether they authorised their MP to vote to send the vote to Ghanaians outside instead of reconstructing their link road.
Wherever they go they should look for the felt need of people and take advantage of that.
They could embellish it by saying that the MPs did not care about their well-being because they stayed in the plush areas in Accra where the water they used to flush their toilet was by far better than what they the people in the rural areas drank. They should not forget to add that anytime the MPs decided to visit them they came in their cross-country vehicles so they did not care about the bad and dangerous roads.
The Convention People's Party (CPP) foot soldiers may add that because the Government does not seek their welfare it has been saying: “It is not the business of Government to do business so they should wait for the White Man to come to open businesses to provide jobs for them.” They could then go on to add that if the CPP came to power it would re-establish the Builder's Brigade to employ the youth in their hundred of thousands.
The strategy should be to win many votes in the Ashanti Region. This is because most of the votes in Ashanti are worth two votes for the Opposition Parties mathematically, for the simple reason that if a person, who voted for NPP in Election 2004 decides to vote for an Opposition Party it becomes plus one for the Opposition and minus one for the NPP.
This Writer had had the occasion to point out that NPP did not win Election 2004 but NDC lost it. The NDC campaign strategy was faulted in a serious way. The campaign strategists did not seem to appreciate the demographic composition the country. It was unimaginable that a political party could launch a campaign against the Golden Stool and hope to win elections in the Ashanti Region as some perceived NDC newspapers like “The Palaver” did.
It was so strange that even though the NDC through its own calculations came to the conclusion that they needed 30 per cent of the votes in the Ashanti Region in order to win the elections yet they decided to go on an anti-Golden Stool campaign. One hopes the NDC had learnt its lesson albeit through the hard way.
The NDC might like to take a look at the results of Election 2004 to appreciate this point. The vote differential the NPP got in Ashanti Region alone covered the vote differential the NDC got in the Volta Region, Northern Region, Upper East Region and Upper West Region with more than 60,000 votes to spare.
It is instructive that NDC should not fight Election 2008 on anti-Ashanti or anti-Akan strategy as was evident in non-Akan speaking areas during Election 2004 because the demographic composition of the country is such that it would be very difficult to win elections without the support of the Akans.
The battle lines are drawn between the Patriots and Self-Seekers. The battle for the mandate of the people is joined.