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Charting The Path To Defeat
 
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17-Dec-2016  
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The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office, says Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Ghanaians across the country went to the polls on Wednesday and Thursday, December 7- 8, 2016 to elect the new administration to run the affairs of the state over the next four years.

The highly contested election by seven political parties saw the presidential candidates going all out to convince the electorate to give them their vote through the diverse campaign messages.

The polls were generally calm and peaceful and domestic and international observers’ missions to the country praised its peaceful conduct.

But, the outcome did not go the way the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) wanted it to go.

The NDC, led by the incumbent President John Mahama, had prayed to be retained over the next four years although the party had been in office for the past eight years.

However, the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, emerged the winner, sweeping about 171 out of the 270 parliamentary seats nationwide and winning the presidential elections by a total of 5,716,026 votes, while the NDC candidate, John Mahama, had 4,713,277.

Several thousands of people within minutes of the announcement of NPP’s victory by Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, a few minutes after President Mahama called to congratulate Nana Addo for his win, trooped to the Nima residence of the president-elect to jubilate, with others around the country also hitting the streets.

History Made

With the announcement, it meant incumbent Mahama had become Ghana’s first-ever one term president, a reality the first gentleman of the land will probably find difficult to live with for many years to come.

But what led to the defeat of Mr Mahama who claims his government had undertaken many infrastructural projects than any other regime in the history of Ghana?

Several reasons accounted for the president’s embarrassing defeat, with some of the key factors responsible for Mahama’s defeat discussed below.

Rawlings’ Relegation And Volta Neglect

The founder of the NDC, ex-President Jerry John Rawlings who hails from the Volta Region, happened to be the main reason the people of the Volta Region, have over the years, voted for the NDC.

Strangely enough, the Mahama administration was seen to have relegated Mr Rawlings to the background, excluding him from major party activities, especially throughout its campaign for the 2016 polls. Except for the party’s campaign launch at Cape Coast in the Central Region, Mr Rawlings was not seen at any of NDC’s campaign events throughout the electioneering period.

The NPP saw the relegation of Mr Rawlings as a perfect campaign tool in winning the hearts of the people of the Volta Region.

A presidential campaign aide to Nana Akufo-Addo, Pius Hadzide, had told the people of the Volta Region at Sorkorban village, an Ewe-dominated community in the Nhyiaso Constituency of the Ashanti Region, during one of the campaign tours of the president-elect that they (the people of the Volta Region) no longer have reasons to vote for the NDC because the party has neglected them and also relegated their son, Mr Rawlings, to the background.

He “….but also because, their ‘brother’, former President Jerry John Rawlings who happened to be the main reason why ‘Voltarians’ voted for the NDC, had been relegated by the John Mahama led NDC.”

“In the past, my people used to vote for the NDC because of our brother JJ, today that reason does not exist anymore. Jerry has been relegated and ostracised out of the NDC, to John Mahama and Asiedu Nketiah, our JJ is now either a ‘bull dog’ that has to be shut up or is too old, that is our brother they are talking about,” Mr Hadzide said in apparent reference to comments reportedly made by the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah.

The people of the Volta Region had also complained about total neglect of their region by the Mahama administration, with respect to sharing of the national cake.

The region, described as the ‘NDC world bank’ due to its consistent support of the party, remains one of the poorest even though it had voted into power three NDC governments, namely ex-Presidents Jerry John Rawlings, Evans Atta Mills and President Mahama administrations, with the hope that their support for the NDC would manifest into the development of the Volta Region.

Gradually, voters in the Volta Region and some parts of Northern Ghana are changing and becoming more discerning in deciding who they vote for to become the next leader of the land, and this should be a strong lesson for political leaders that they cannot continue to perform poorly and rely on the tribal card to be re-elected into office.

Deaf Ears

President Mahama was expected to address the concerns of the people of the Volta Region ahead of the December 7 polls, knowing very well that the fortunes of the party, had over the years, depended on the reason.

Mr Mahama and his team rather chose to pay deaf ears to the plight of the people of the Volta Region, which led to the region recording low voter turn-out for the first time in the electoral history of Ghana.

Living conditions of Ghanaians became more difficult, as prices of goods and services increased with more graduates becoming jobless, although the Mahama-led administration claimed it was creating jobs.

Teacher and nursing trainees, civil servants, the business community, among other people, cried out their frustrations against the poor management of the country’s economy by the Mahama-led administration, with the staging of countless number of demonstrations nationwide.

For the teacher and nursing trainees, the withdrawer of their allowances by the Mahama administration was their major concern they wanted addressed.

President Mahama, on the other hand, had vowed not to restore the allowances, asking the trainees to vote him out if they like.

Many believe the president’s response to the trainees concerns was harsh, especially considering his role as father of the nation.

He later made a u-turn, promising to restore their allowances, but the opposition NPP launched a campaign, telling the trainees that the president had simply beat a retreat with the aim of securing their votes during the elections.

Insults

As the masses’ cries against the poor handling of the economy heightened, President John Mahama was brave to say he had become impervious to threats of strikes and demonstrations in Ghana and will not yield to any of such threats in the upcoming election year, saying he had what he termed a “dead-goat syndrome.”

The president made the remark while he was addressing a Ghanaian community in Botswana and Ghanaians back who were going through hardship felt insulted by the president’s ‘dead goat’ comment.

Not only did the masses felt insulted by President Mahama, but some of his ministers and senior appointees as well who perceivably became arrogant as they amass wealth through a ‘create, loot, and share’ scheme.

Incompetence

The country faced severe power crisis from 2012 till the middle of 2016 even though the president had promised Ghanaians in the 2012 elections that he was going to fix the energy challenge within three months, should they vote him into power.

Three months after he won, Mr Mahama failed woefully to bring the energy problem under control, making several promises afterwards in addressing the issue.

Why couldn’t he resolve the energy crisis in the first three months or year of his presidency as he promised the electorate during the run-up to the 2012 elections but rather allowed the problem to cripple businesses before finally fixing it only in an election year?

Vice President-elect Dr Bawumia had always argued that the NDC administration’s inability to address the power crisis and general problems that faced the Ghanaian economy from 2012 to 2016 was as a result of what he termed as incompetence on the part of President Mahama.

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia had, on several occasions, described President Mahama as an “incompetent driver” leading Ghana nowhere, thus, asking the electorate to vote him (Mahama) out, a call that well resonated with the masses, leading to President Mahama’s eventual defeat.

Golden Age of Corruption

Ghana under President John Mahama experienced what the incoming government, NPP, described as the ‘Golden Age of Corruption’.

Appointees of Mahama were perceived to be mainly concerned with ‘creating, looting, and sharing’ instead of focusing on developing the country’s economy.

Some of the high-profile cases of corruption under President Mahama included the GH¢3.6 million Smarttys bus branding scandal, the $88 million Embraer Jet scandal, the $10 billion STX scandal, $600m worth of contracts with shady Queiroz Galvao and the secret, illegal lodging of $250m in UBA.

Desire

Ghanaians wanted a new administration that will fight corruption, as they had lost hope in Mahama’s commitment to fighting the menace.

President-elect Nana Addo, on the other hand, was widely seen as an incorruptible figure as was even pointed out by ex-President Rawlings.

Mr Addo during the campaign periods heralding the elections gave Ghanaians the assurance he would not supervise a government that will steal their monies as was witnessed under outgoing President Mahama.

“I am not in politics to fill my pockets, to enrich myself or my family or to steal your money. That’s not why I am in politics,” Nana Akufo-Addo indicated during one of his rallies.

President Mahama in the last few months to the elections arguably commissioned more infrastructure projects than he ever did over three years of his administration, an action the NPP believed the president was trying to use to hoodwink Ghanaians into re-electing him into power.

Lessons

Thus, as the results began trickling in on Wednesday evening, the electorate sent these political lessons or messages to the two largest political parties that was sure to chart a course of the country’s democracy that “political campaigning is about issues and not personality attack. Wealth, no matter its quantity, should not make us arrogant towards the people who make us who we are and that arrogance has no place in leadership within a democratic and civilised society.”
 
 
 
Source: Daily Guide
 
 

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