I don’t know what you might be doing now, but I am relaxing in a small corner of my room, reading through manifestos of the two major political parties in Ghana, while sipping Alvaro with “Kulikuli”.
Should you need a reminder of which parties I am talking about, then I am referring to the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition (New Patriotic Party). If you are a floating voter and you have not read through the manifestos of the major parties before heading to the polling station on December 7, it’s not only a disservice to you, but an intellectual crime. I am not sure anyone who can read and write will sign on to a contract for his company or organization without having to read through first.
What political parties are seeking to do as they tour every part of our country and flood every media house is to essentially persuade you (electorate ) to sign on to a contract by voting them to power so that they can rule you for four good years! You append your signature to this social contract by giving them your thumb, come December, 7.
One party to the contract [ politicians] are playing their part well, through both foul and just means while combing every nook and cranny of our country – something they will do only when they need your vote. Yes, they will go the extra mile to describe how deplorable you are, in an attempt to lure you into thinking that they are one of us and understand our plight. They will even try all that they can to knock at every door in a hard-to-reach community, and forget them just after the ballot is counted.
I heard some are even engaging in “door-to-door fufu pounding and door-to-door banku stirring”. Yes, the only moment they will pull over while driving their expensive Land Cruisers, Fords, among others, begging to offer you a lift, even when you are not heading their direction.
Are you appending your signature to the contract by only listening to what politicians are saying on rally platforms when they are before their charged party faithful, or by reading through the lines of their manifestos? I don’t know about you, but for me, I can only sign on to the social contract [manifesto] being put forward by these two political parties after I have read through their manifestos.
The only tried and tested ways we can hold political leaders accountable is through their manifestos, but not what they say when they are on rally platforms before charged supporters, or when they sit behind microphones in studios, engaging in unnecessary rebuttals or character assassinations. It is easier holding political office holders accountable through documented items than verbal jabs on political platforms.
Living conditions are hard now, but should that alone inform your choice? I think we have to go beyond mere economic challenges to see what tried and tested alternative solutions these political parties are bringing to the table to address the challenges at hand. For instance, it is a common public knowledge that job/unemployment is the biggest challenge facing us as a country. Reading through the two manifestos, I realized that one political party appeared to be providing more realistic alternatives to creating an environment where Ghana’s huge underutilized human resources will be used to lessen our unemployment burden. In that aspect of the manifesto of that political party, it met my expectation, and will have my vote.
Other areas of my expectation were education, health, agriculture, environmental sanitation and public/preventive health, and how they are aligned with the new Sustainable Development Goals. What are your areas of expectation? Have you read to know whether your expectations are being met by any of the parties before December, 7? If you have not read yet, I encourage you to do. It takes only about a little over two hours to read both manifestos and appreciate them – depending on your pace and comprehension.
The reason why every literate floating voter should read the manifestos is because of the fact that there are a lot of good policies out there in their manifestos, but the political parties themselves are silent over them. One party for instance, had a policy on “housing scheme for teachers”. I have never heard of this message from any of their communicators until I sighted it in their manifesto, by reading it.
Last week, the President cried foul about the Ghanaian media for turning a blind eye to his achievements and what he intends to do in the next four years if elected into office for the NDC’s third term. Why should he cry foul? Why should he blame the media for not projecting his achievements and his proposed plans for the country when pro-NDC media houses [names withheld] could devote over 40 hours a week paraded by party communicators, assassinating the character of their main political opponents? Couldn’t they have used these productive hours as an avenue for trumpeting the achievements of the President?
When it comes to infrastructure, I think the President has done tremendously well, but his communicators who get the opportunity to be on TV and Radio programmes are doing a great disservice to their presidential candidate – His Excellency John Dramani Mahama. Very characteristic of them, they are always comfortable assassinating the character of the presidential candidate of their main opponent, rather than talking about the achievements of their presidential candidate and what he intends to do in the likely event of leading Ghanaians again in the next four years. Assassinating the character of your political opponent may be allowed in a political contest, but not to the extremes as we have it here. Communicators for the NDC are engaging in character assassination to the extent that it is rather playing to the advantage of the person they intended assassinating. It might have worked in previous elections, but looking at how sophisticated electorates have become, I am afraid it might not work this time round.
I will vote in the December polls, you might also vote but my vote will be informed by the how the current government has performed over the past eight years, what they intend to do in the next four years and what the major opposition is bringing to the table. I will vote for a political party that will create opportunities for all Ghanaians, but not a few party cronies. I will vote for a party that will not ask of my party card before I am offered employment, but a party that will look beyond party colours and offer me employment because I am qualified and that I am a Ghanaian with equal rights.
Do not be left out on December 7. Do not think your vote does not count; it does count. Remember that a presidential candidate needs 50+1 to emerge as a winner. Who knows, your vote might be the +1.
We may vote for different political parties, come December 7 but at the end of the day, Ghana will emerge as the ultimate winner.
I love Ghana, and I know you do same. Avoid violence. Embrace peace. There is no place like home. The future is bright. Let’s live in peace and harmony. Don’t sell your conscience. Vote wisely. God bless our homeland Ghana.
Author: Gbolu Samson