Opinion

Why Nana has to get mad to defeat NDC

23 August 2008 at 09:11 | 729 views

By Kofi Akosah-Sarpong, Ottawa.

With his vice president, Mahamudu Bawumia, selected and the ruling
National Patriotic Party (NPP) set for the December general elections,
what’s most important is Nana Akufo-Addo(photo), the 2008 December NPP
presidential candidate, needs to get a bit mad and take on the increasingly
ferocious opposition National Democratic Party (NDC) in order to win.

Quite simply, Nana needs to create a more compelling narrative on
continuity from incumbent President John Kufuor’s record of progress and
democratic growth, use history as a context for the development process,
and get mad about something the NDC either didn’t do or did poorly, of
which there are plenty.

First and foremost, Nana must bring a narrative to
his position as a continuity agent and tie the progress-freedom agenda in
the context of Ghana’s 21 years of mindless military juntas and 6 years of
imperially threatening one-party rule.

Nana can’t simply seek continuity for continuity’s sake. The argument must
be made that this is an election with two choices: the continuity-seeking
good folks of the NPP or the dictatorial, fearful-clinging bad guys of the
NDC.

The Nana campaign needs to brand every NDC negative attack as just
another desperate attempt of the power-drunk NDC, as former President
Jerry Rawlings and his cohorts show, to return to power at all costs.

Nana’s campaign should argue that all of NPP history shows that it has the
courage to break from the same old game in order to provide the continuity
Ghana needs for its progress, while the NDC refuse a new direction for
Ghana, as the utterances of Rawlings and his wife, Konadu-Agyemang-show:threats, harassment, insults, muddled and violent thoughts, infantile
behaviour, shallow-mindedness, lack of detailed projection of issues and
their almost 20 years of rule that left Ghana darker as Ghana’s
sanitation, indiscipline and some aspects of its dark culture show.

The NDC is increasingly undermining John Atta-Mills, its presidential
candidate, by projecting its vice presidential candidate, John Mahama, over Atta-Mills.

It shows an incoherent NDC against the backdrop that Atta-Mills is easily
manipulable in the face of a Rawlings family that are undemocratic and
dictatorial. I don’t really know why a law professor can be nationally
known as intellectually weak in this context, but Nana and his NPP
campaign team must continue to highlight the same old, same old NDC that
offers more of the same failed social accountability policy, more of the
same being prone to violence in all its facets, more of the same
misunderstanding of Ghana, more of the same unfreedom, more of the same
muddled economic policies, more of the same military-mindedness, more of
the same fractured education and healthcare sector without factoring in
Ghana’s cultural values.

And Atta-Mills certainly offers more of the same
failed Rawlings development policies without a key sense of Ghana’s cultural
values driving them.

Nana can connect with voters on development issues by using history as a
guideline - the issue about the record of development production over the
years from Busia to Kufuor. Nana should start by reading Daniel Yergin and
Joseph Stanislaw’s The Commanding Height, Hernando de Soto’s The Mystery
of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else,
and Amartya Sen’s Development As Freedom.

The non-partisan and non-political inference of these writers in relation
to the NPP is that under Kufuor the NPP built a better economy, a more
just rule of law society and further opened up freedoms for progress in
the face of global complications like the increases in oil and food
prices.

The Nana campaign needs to say that since 2004, Kufuor and NPP have not
only shown coherence in tackling economic challenges, part of which
involve opening the development front for more national debate as the
Ghana Telecom/Vodafon issue demonstrates: GDP growth, school feeding,
freedom of the press, more gender enhancement to the extent that Alima
Mahama, the Minister of Women and Children Affirs, was nearly picked by
Nana as vice presidential running mate.

Need more? How about better
performing state institutions not cowed by imperial threats as the
PNDC/NDC did during its almost 20 years in power.

There’s no need to listen to Atta-Mills’s social democracy rhetorics which
he hasn’t practised, even as head of the Rawlings’ presidential economic
commission. The reason is that the NDC, which has a 20 year history, has only produced development shenanigans because historically the NPP
has produced better economies from former Prime Minister Kofi Busia to
incumbent President John Kufuor.

And with development issues still at the forefront of the 2008 campaign,
it seems like a no-brainer for Nana to talk about the historical supremacy
of development under NPP Heads of State - Edward Akufo-Addo, Kofi Busia
and John Kufuor.

And my last piece of advice to Nana and his NPP campaign
team is to just get mad about something. Nana’s campaign seems so intent
on projecting him as an “intellectual and politically mature” leader.

Well, Ghanaian voters want to see a sense of urgency and outrage in Nana: outrage over worsening sanitation, increasing crime, some still inhibiting
aspects of the culture, dependence on foreign aid; outrage over increased
cost of living, health care and education; idiotic elites; and outrage
over Ghana’s loss of prestige over its image as a place where its former
President, Rawlings, talks like a child.

To put it bluntly, Nana needs to get outraged over something other than
“attacks on NDC mismanagement.” When all the dust settles, Nana can use
the NDC’s tattered 20-year record to wrap it around its neck and just may be
become President Nana Akufo-Addo.

No convention or vice-president from the
Bank of Ghana will matter as much as connecting with voters on key issues in a Ghana where insults and mindlessness drive electioneering campiagns.

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