Friday, August 6, 2010

Desperate power seekers or genuine contenders to change lives?

I have been sitting on the edge of a wobbling political seat, carefully watching and reading the happenings in the opposition New Patriotic Party. The party goes to the polls on Saturday 7th August, 2010 to elect a new flagbearer to lead them in the 2012 elections. The voting will take place in all the 230 constituencies across the country. It will be the first time in the history of Ghana that a political party elects a leader in such a way.

There are five candidates in the contest but only two are the main contenders: Alan Kyeremateng and Nana Akufo-ADDO. Two years ago when the two met, Nana won ahead of Alan though he was unable to secure the needed 50+1 percent to get ahead.
He had to rely on the benevolence of Alan’s refusal to contest to make him party leader. Nana Addo lost in the main elections. But he is back again but not alone. He is being checkmate by Alan and this time around, the former Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States is determined to push the deal till the end.

Obviously the lead contender in the race, he has enjoyed enormous support from senior party members and that of the national executives, the latter which has landed some of them in trouble. The main accuser Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, the party’s chairman and friend to Nana, is said to be working behind the scenes to rig the elections. He is an expert in rigging, his opponents claim. The man has however dismissed such accusation as ‘nonsense.’

Senior party elders met to broker peace in a meeting and despite a purported positive outcome, one of the contenders and former heart surgeon Professor Frimpong Boateng said all was not well. He said the rigging machine is still in place. He is contesting the elections eventhough his chances are more than slim. He is not in the race at all! He is however joined the rest to make silly promises of freebies, though he knows it’s more of a political talk than reality. It is the mantra of corrupt African politicians.

I have heard Nana Addo speak about how he intends to ‘liberate’ the ‘suffering’ Ghanaians from the clutches of Atta Mill’s government. Mills is killing Ghanaians with his style of leadership, he has been ranting on campaign platforms. He has spoken extensively about freebies, how he intends making Ghana a haven etc.

Alan has also been saying the same things he said which cost him the slot; cash for the people, jobs for the people. The last time he was given the position as a trader minister and asked to handle those senseless presidential initiatives, he messed them up. He was unable to handle that small project but believes he can manage Ghana. What silly! The two are not articulating any meaningful and right thinking ideas about how to change the fortunes of the country and arrest the mass thievery and economic mess.

All I have heard them say amount to nothing but petty lies: Pure political lies and deceit, which are the stock in trade of Ghanaian politicians. Also, the two or rather supporters of the two have been trading insults against each other. For example those in the Alan camp say Nana Addo is too old and should not be voted for.

They claim his age should be good enough grounds to disqualify him because he might possibly die in office and waste everybody’s time. Perhaps tired of such silly accusation, the man has been, once again, compelled to make a public statement in defence of his age bashing: “Every argument that is made about things which have really nothing to do with the quality of political leadership, you can find an example. There have been extremely successful old political leaders and there have been extremely successful young political leaders.”

Ironically his main contender Alan Kyeremateng who is favoured to be the youngest is way out of the forty bracket. There are rumours he’s in his early 60s while others say he’s in his late 50s. But the truth however is that he is out of the 40s.

Personally, I find this whole age thing very foolish and silly. We have had leaders from both generations who have either been wise or foolish. Jerry Rawlings was in his early 30s when he assumed power. He got all the accolades but became very stupid at his older age. J.A. Kufour was more than 50 when he became president. He failed to use his brains on over many decisions, making his opponents see him as an idiot. There are many examples of such leaders.

Winston Churchill was in his 60s when he became the premier of the United Kingdom. He is regarded as the best leaders the UK has ever had. Tony Blair who became the youngest leader in the United Kingdom foolishly committed his country to a senseless war. A lot more young UK soldiers had died prematurely because of his foolish obsession to a war he knew his country was not going to win. He was young but stupid and thick headed!

The truth is this age argument does not put forward on the table for the economically marginalized in this country.

Then there is also this longevity argument being pushed forward by those from Akufo-Addo’s camp. His supporters say he has been in the party long enough and therefore deserves to be given the slot. That is a funny suggestion. When did one’s longevity in a party become a panacea for leadership? It is a silly argument I pray they don’t repeat.

Nana should throw himself into the woods, fight for the minds and hearts of the delegates. This desperate attempt about being the oldest will not bring him anything but fuel the existing perception that leadership is an entitlement and as such, he deserves to have it without a fight. He must go out there and fight for whatever he thinks is his.

As for the other candidates I say whoever advised them to enter the race has done them a great disservice. They have thrown their money-or part of the stolen state cash-away. It will be better they don’t even waste their time putting monitors around the constituencies. The results will not be too pleasing at all.

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