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Election 2020 not a foregone conclusion

Source: By Kwesi Parker-Wilson

Ok, so former president John Mahama secured a safe landing to battle Nana Addo and his NPP in 2020. Congratulations Sir. As to whether the election was fair and transparent enough to have guaranteed you that kind of endorsement is a question the party leadership would have to be candid about it in the coming days (largely because of the infractions recorded as some polling stations).

Anyway, I hear the NPP is gloating over the victory of the JDM because in their minds eye, JDM on the ballot paper would be a “cool chop” for Nana Addo.

The 2020 elections would offer Ghanaians a fine opportunity to ascertain the true meaning of incompetence for both NPP and NDC. 

The then candidate Akufo-Addo won election 2016 because many people were disappointed by Mahama’s performance as president. Prior to the 2012 polls many had considered JDM as a youthful president to fast track the country’s transformational agenda. But, for many Ghanaians, he did not meet this expectation.

Under Mahama’s watch, the economy was in shambles, according to several metrics. The cedi, for instance, declined against major international currencies; Ghanaians endured a power crisis (although one can conclude that Mr. Mahama eventually fixed the problem); corruption allegations and scandals like the “Brazil 2014 fiasco” and the “bus branding scam” buffeted the administration and damaged the then president’s reputation.

The now known “borborliborbor” man was increasingly seen as corrupt by many people – a charge that was viciously promoted by the then oppositon NPP. He was also deemed to have treated corruption allegations against his ministers casually, choosing to post some of them to the presidency instead of investigating the allegations against them and dismissing those found culpable. (In this respect, President Akufo-Addo, has attempted to distinguish himself from Mahama by investigating corruption allegations against his (Akufo-Addo’s) appointees and taking punitive action against them.) 

Mahama’s decision to suspend allowances for nurses and teachers in training was also seized upon by his political opponents to portray him as insensitive.

Akufo-Addo, on the other hand, presented himself as an incorruptible candidate who would eradicate corruption and oversee the transformation of the country from a mainly raw material-producing economy to an advanced economy. 

He promised to create jobs, implement “Free SHS” and build factories in every district in Ghana, among other pledges. Ghanaians voted overwhelmingly for Akufo-Addo because they trusted him to deliver quick, decisive and visible change. Their expectation of the president is extremely high. 

This level of expectation is probably unprecedented in decades- and roughly two years into his administration, the jury is still out on whether Akufo-Addo has given a good account of himself as president.

While many gains, including the implementation of “Free SHS” and appointment of a special prosecutor, have been made by the current government, many Ghanaians, including prominent NPP members, have recently began to complain of failed promises, job losses, cedi depreciation, and general economic hardship. More important, however, is the flurry of corruption allegations that has buffeted the Akufo-Addo administration in key government agencies such as the energy ministry and BOST.

The public repulsion and outrage sparked by those alleged corrupt acts have already led to the dismissal of Boakye Agyarko, as minister for energy. Akufo-Addo himself had his integrity severely questioned when Kwesi Nyantakyi asserted in the Anas “#12” video that the president was open to collecting bribes from investors in exchange for giving them contracts. Nyantakyi also claimed that members of the president’s family were illegally profiting from their relationship with the president by engaging in various shady deals. Although, the president rigorously denied the claims, the episode did not help the image he had sought to project as an incorruptible politician to a section of the society.

So in 2020, Akufo-Addo will be a “tainted” candidate just like Mahama was in 2016 (It’s palpably palpable right?). This might play to the ex-president’s advantage. Also, given the sheer weight of public expectation, if Akufo-Addo turns out to be a disappointment or a mediocre, business-as-usual president, his support among Ghanaians will dwindle sharply. So you see, the 2020 election is not a foregone conclusion.

Finally, the former president once said, and I quote “If you ride a lame horse into a race and you lose the race, your priority must be to cure the lameness of the horse and not about who will ride the horse”. So I ask do we now have a remedy for the lame horse. Or the horse is still under surgical operation? Let the discerning people of our country decide.

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