Election years are always a bit different in Ghana. Campaigning (unofficially) begins in the press about 18 months prior and continues to build in momentum until the day when all the ballots are cast. And some parties don’t stop there; they continue campaigning until courts or tribunals have made the vote final and standing.
Given that February is internationally renowned as the month of love, one might hope that slows the propaganda – or, at least, puts everything in a positive light (just for four short weeks), but it doesn’t. Indeed, things are just beginning to heat up.
It all starts with the late J.B. Danquah-Adu, once an MP for the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Given that he was a public representative, it’s easy to link his murder to politics… but whose? Although quite a popular member of the NPP, the party was eerily silent about Mr Danquah-Adu’s passing. And then, there were some strange statements released – such as a Member of Parliament declaring it a good omen for the upcoming elections. Now, no one is certain whether the young adult who confessed to the crime was there on a contract killing, a robbery spree, or even as involved as he claims to have been. One thing is certain: if any evidence links that young man to the NDC, this year’s election might actually need the assistance of international observers.
And now, the recent bus tragedy near Kintampo Township threatens to divide the public on party lines. At the present, 53 persons are confirmed dead as a result of brake failure on a Metro Mass Transit (MMT) Bus. It collided with a cargo truck as it descended into the Waterfalls area. However, what should be a terrible calamity has brought forth arguments from the people that MMT buses have been improperly maintained and driven under NDC governance. If this argument erupts fully, we may just see some protests.
But, that hardly the only thing people will want to protest. There are some goods and services Ghanaians might be missing in the coming weeks. Besides water shortage due to drought, we can also expect to see certain Nigerian goods disappearing from the shelves. As a near neighbour, most Ghanaian producers are shocked and dismayed when their products are refused entry into Nigeria. And now, the Ghanaian government is cracking down on imports from Nigerian producers. It’s a little tit-for-tat, and we will need to wait to see if it impacts Nigerian policy… or just the way another group of Ghanaians vote. That said, if Kotoka’s anticipated service delays last for more than a day or two, we can expect a lot of people to raise their voices along party lines.
But, who can say what will really happen. It is, after all, only February. And, things are only beginning to heat up… sadly, it seems we’ll miss the month of love in Ghana this year.