My crazy dream for the elections were dashed. It proved to be only a dream and worst off, Ghanaian gave the Convention People’s Party, a party tipped to be the third force, a big disappointment. Ghanaians did vote for the party but the votes came trickling in in such single digits one could only shed a few tears for the CPP team.
When Dr Ndoum went campaigning through out the country, he was welcomed by enthusiastic crowds, 400,000 young members even took membership cards, many assured him of their votes, many made him think the cockrel was back in Ghanaian politics. In fact many pollsters said he will poll 7% of the votes and thus tipped to cause a major upset in the elections.
But he was in for a real shocker; and shocked he was; so shocked that he did not even wait for the single digits to be counted when he threw in the towel. I guessed he was trying to spare himself the pain of hearing the clanking noise of the single and embarrasing votes.
The fact has once again been established that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) are the masters of the political game in Ghana. They are in control. The NDC for instance was stunned by their own performance in all the ten regions of Ghana, they started proclaiming their candidate as the winner even when the truth of Nana Addo being in the lead was staring them in the face. In their ‘shockprise’, they saw rigging attempts, armies marching out to declare Nana as winner and the Electoral Commissioner, a tea drinking house guest of the President. Much ado about nothing.
They were expecting to make some in roads in the various constituencies but, not even in their wildest fantacies did they imagine they could move from a seat in the Central Region to win 12seats. It shocked them, they may not openingly state it but they were pleasantly shocked. Their message of change swept through the country like a blazing harmattan fire and when the fire was over, great men and women of the ruling party had fallen flat on the alter of change.
Their effect was felt in 6 prominent regions, though in their state of ‘shockprise’ they are banding about screaming ‘we won in 7 region’, someone please wake them up. That they won in the Volta region was a forgone conclusion; their victory in the three northern regions was also expected, though not in the measure they got. The real surprises were the Greater Accra and Central Regions.
In terms of geography, the change fire blazed through the whole country but the coastals were the most affected. from Anlo to Axim constituents danced to the change music. From the Anlo coast of the volta region, through Ada in the greater Accra to the Elmina of the Central and Axim of the Western regions, the change wind swept through, Tema however resolved to move forward. NDC has performed very well and this was admitted by even an ardent supporter of the NPP, Gabby Okyere Darko. It is unfornate the change song could not bring in all they vote to give a ‘one-touch’ victory’ for the NDC.
Then came the shocks of the NPP; which were not pleasant ones at all. In fact, even before Ghanaian went to the polls, a new song had been released by unidentifief singers in town predicting shock for the NPP flag bearer. It went thus, “Naa Nana, Naa Shock’, meaning, here is Nana, here is shock’. Well the shock did come and they were not pleasant. First the NPP lost 29 of its seats in Parliament to the opposition NDC. Most of its big guns had been carried away by the NDC tsunami, and worst of all their candidate failed to bring home the ‘one-touch’ victory.
They took 4 out of the ten regions of Ghana and yet managed to poll majority votes for the presidential slot. They came so very close to victory but missed out. Victory was so close and yet so far. Some people say it was their ‘one-touch’ prediction that did them in. One-touch is a cellular network that has been sold to the Vodafon by the NPP government. It was gone, and obviously, so was the one-touch victory.
The Lessons of election 2008 are numerous.
- Many say the Ghanaian voter has come of age, we know what we want and we get it;
- The Ghanaian voter hates the display of arrogance of the people they put in power, so they simply reminded those politicians that they had the final say;
- Politicians must serve the people who put them in power since they are answerable to them and not seek their selfish interest at the expence of the ordinary voter;
- An African country was capable of managing its electoral affairs creditably;
- Lies, mudslinging, money and a sweet tongue, falls electoral polls do not always bring in the desired votes; and
- Pride and arrogance always leads to a fall.
It was the EC that gave us the most useful lesson of all, patience pays, so wait and while waiting keep your mouth shut. This lesson is for all: the electorate, political parties and of course the media.
Now on the role of the media. I was greatly impressed by the general performance of the media. They brought us the news, the counts, the irregularities, and all that had to do with election 2008. Of course, they also helped to heighthen the anxiety of listeners as we waited. Kudos to all the men and women who lost sleep to feed us with all the news from every corner of Ghana. Thank you very much.
Yet there were some who crudely displayed the polarized nature of an institution that was supposed to be neutral. Such allowed their airwaves to be used for the peddling of rumours the army marching into town, of Afari Djan in bed with the government, of suggesting to listeners that their favourite candidate had secured the required vote.
My last take is a praise to all Ghanaians, political party supporters, the security forces, staff of the Electoral Commission, free lance reporters, cellular networks, international and local observers, musicians, religious bodies, donor partners, and who ever matters for a good job done. We have done Ghana proud.
Let us meet on December 2008 for another round of tension, anxiety and lesser shocks and suprises. God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.