As the elections draw ever nearer on the calendar, Nana Akufo-Addo, leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is busy campaigning in Ghana’s northern towns and villages.
It’s a good move considering these are the areas with typically poor service delivery. Ghanaians living outside of the city will likely be those that make or break the presidential winner.
Meanwhile, the incumbent candidate, John Mahama, is in New York with his wife. No, he’s not on holiday; Mahama is attending meetings and events taking place at the 71st General Assembly of the United Nations. Amongst general work, Mahama is focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He is co-chair of the UN Advocacy Group on the SDGs and will be busy for the next several days.
That gives Akufo-Addo plenty of time to woo Ghanaians to his party’s platform.
And, he’ll need that time. The economy has been in trouble for the last couple of years. It’s made it difficult for ordinary Ghanaians to carve out a living for themselves. College graduates remain jobless, small traders battle a lack of disposable income, and let’s face it, dumsor isn’t helping anyone.
Although it initially appeared that dumsor would cease to be a daily burden at the end of 2015, it’s hardly gone. Sure, the periods of darkness have lessened, but they’re not gone. And they will return if either presidential candidate is able to make good on promises to increase service delivery – to both urban and rural residents.
It’s just that it’s impossible to create new generators that can handle the needs of all Ghanaian people. Sure, it’s possible for another power ship to moor along the coast. And, there are plenty of lovely stories of schools building their own solar energy panels. But, the provision of all the energy and electricity that everyone in the entire country demands will take time – a lot of it. And, it will require plenty of money.
Money is, sadly, a scarce resource these days. It’s possible to blame it on the fluctuations I commodity pricing. Of course, changes to the global economy and the revision of US Fed monetary policies are partially to blame. Whether there has been governmental mismanagement of funds is almost a non-issue because, no matter how you dice it, the economy is down. The 2012 economic growth rate of eight percent is sitting at four percent now. There is also that pesky issue of the recent IMF bailout.
As both parties try to convey their populist policies to the people, it’s hard to get away from the issues of the economy or electricity. As many times as it’s said, there’s no denying this is going to be one electrifyingly close election.