The Time Has Come… to Talk of Many Things

Of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages – and kings

It’s less than two months until Ghanaians take to the polls. Registered voters will elect their parliament and president on 7 December 2016.

About a week ago, voters had a much wider choice. There were 17 candidates for the office of president. Today, there are four.

How did 13 candidates disappear from the ballot?

They incorrectly submitted their application or failed to pay the associate fee. One way or another 13 presidential and 24 parliamentary campaigners didn’t follow the rules of submission.

When you get to the polls, you’ll spot

  • New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,
  • National Democratic Congress (NDC), President John Mahama,
  • Convention People’s Party (CPP), Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, and
  • An independent candidate, Jacob Osei Yeboah.

It’s hardly surprising when you think about the backing of the two major parties. However, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, wife of former President Rawlings, is disputing the removal of her name from the list. She planned to run for president as the flag-bearer of the National Democratic Party (NDP).

Supposing that she or anyone else who had their name stricken makes it back onto the ballot, it’s hard to believe they would garner any major support. Even if they were to be reinstated, one would have to question how many rules and regulations they would follow then. If they couldn’t submit their application properly, how many shady deals might sit in front of those representatives when they sit in office?

But we are going to need to talk about issues at some point. People need jobs. Better healthcare and roads certainly wouldn’t hurt. Textbooks for the school kids would be great (neither would shoes and uniforms for the most vulnerable). And, yes, electricity is always an issue to discuss. We need to discuss food security (cabbages). We want to know whether there will be new, affordable housing available (with or without ceiling wax).

Sure, some of the policies and platforms have been outlined and provided for the people. But, it’s mostly been a matter of finger pointing and name calling between the NPP and NDC presidential candidates (kings).

And some major issues have just been swept under the carpet altogether. AngloGold has asked the government to suspend illegal mining activities. The South African company wants help protecting its investment – and their employees who are jeopardised a little more every time someone cuts into the earth without understanding the geography and engineering.

But, President John Mahama has said no! The South African bigwigs in charge of the mine cannot vote, and there are plenty of voters that reply on illegal mining activities to feed their families. It’s not a long term-solution, of course. No one can afford for South African investment and infrastructure to disappear from Ghanaian soil. But, it will do for the next few months.

A similar situation is underway with the removal of the statue of Gandhi from the University of Ghana. Sure, it’s important to maintain relations with India, but the voters must come first at the moment. And, the incumbent President can take credit for both.

And he’ll need it too. He barely won the last election and this one appears even tighter. Whoever takes it, however, will have a lot of work to do. It’s a long walk to the Ghana that should be; and a frightening one at that, as anyone speaking of shoes and ships and ceiling wax should know.


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