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…First Time Voters are watching
I decided to watch the NPP’s Delegates Conference in Cape Coast against my usual suspect, Alhaji and Alhaji on Radio Gold.
Unless, I have something else doing, I listen to Alhaji and Alhaji and sometimes flip the dial to Newsfile, since I am able to watch the repeat later in the night.
One speech that struck me was the speech delivered by former President Kuffour.
He concluded the speech by saying that the NPP must focus on the “consolidation of power.” To do this, he prescribed the following,
1.The party must have a team of backroom technocrats to help the party with serious political research and messaging. These researchers are to focus on the people only.
What this means is that,you need researchers who can help you with best methods of divide and rule among others.
2. The party must learn to resolve differences indoors and that openly washing your dirty linens can destroy the party and it’s credibility.
These strategies can only come from a man who has failed before and has learnt from his mistakes.
It is the strategies of an experienced politician.
This man became President between 2001-2008.
He set out one of most vicious political strategy of victimization and demonization of the Rawlings administration.
His brother in law,Hon JH Mensah,had indicated that by the time they were through with appointees of Rawlings, the NDC will be dead.
Two things happened,get as many former appointees to the courts and also through the National Reconciliation Commission.
It was the days when the Fast Track High Courts became the slaughter house of NDC appointees.
The view was that once you get the appointees of the NDC prosecuted and convicted whether justly or unjustly,the tag of corruption would have remained and ingrained in the minds of the voters. The NDC will not be politically attractive as a party of choice.
Secondly, by using the National Reconciliation Commission, you were directly appealing to the emotions of the people against the NDC as a political party made up of persons who simply abused the fundamental human rights of citizens.
Reliving the past.
By the year 2008, the NDC rather focused on the issues of living standards and corruption in the Kufour administration.
The NDC then in opposition,did this relentlessly.
Even though it did not have enough resources, and only Radio Gold,there was enough noise to get even the Joyfms to discuss corruption within the NPP.
The NDC simply focused on anything about corruption in NPP.
From Hon Dr Richard Anane,Haruna Essekou’s famous kickback story.
It became worse when Mr Kuffour made the infamous “waa waa ,corruption is as old as man.” Incidentally, it was in Cape Coast just as today’s conference.
Everywhere, NDC members were singing corruption,corruption, corruption. From the School feeding program and the use of maggots infested foods. Eventually, the Dutch government withdrawn their sponsorship of the program.
Mr Kuffour, immediately recognized as he stated, “in Ghana, the one who fights corruption in his government is rather seen to be corrupt.I will not allow corruption to destroy my government.”
What did he do? He established the Office of Accountability at the Office of the president. Immediately, it was nicknamed,”Office of Concealment.”
Do you know that by 2008,most first time voters didn’t even remember what happened under Rawlings. They didn’t remember any issues of corruption. What they knew was Kuffour and their living conditions. What was the price of petrol among others.
It was not surprising that the NPP lost in 2008.
Good lessons for him. Fast forward to the 2016 elections,a little over 1.2 million first voters were added to the voters register. They are 18yrs and above. The most active part of the voter population.
They usually turn out in their large numbers to vote. They are young and active. They are voting the first time,it is a great experience for them. Older people usually tend to develop voting fatigue after two elections. Low turnout is usually among older people.
By 2009 when the NDC came to power,those who turned 18yrs in 2016 were barely 10yrs old. What was the level of their political consciousness? zero All they knew related to living conditions under President Mahama. They can’t remember anything more.
They were likely to be influenced more with recent happenings than what happened in the past. The NPP is going to suffer the same fate.
Young people who are 14yrs now should be 18yrs by 2020. Every year from now,some thousands of young should be turning 18yrs and therefore eligible to be registered to vote. Their first election will be in 2020.
The battle should be targeted at them. They will only be experiencing the administration of Nana Addo as adults.
Their parents will complain before them. They will express their daily frustrations in front of them. They will discuss low salaries with them.
They will show their disapproval of government policies in front of them.
They will start forming their electoral decisions with what they hear.
It is even more dangerous now,the era of social media and it’s influence on our politics.
Information is spreading fast.
Most of these young people have a lot of information.
They are whatsapp platforms and facebook.
They will blame the government for no water,food price increases and fuel price going up.
They will blame the current administration for their lack of jobs.
They will see increasing transport fares as the problem of the incumbent.
Issues of corruption involving current government appointees will be greatly discussed in front of them.
They are reading the Otiko Bugri naabu goat for appointment allegations among others.
By 2020,their biggest considerations will be what is working for them.
So when government officials or NPP members decide to trade accusations,it forms part of the national discussion.
Until,Otiko Djaba spoke,who knew that Chairman Bugri was accepting goats,ducks and fowls for appointment?
Until,Ken Agyapong spoke,who knew that aides around the President were extorting money from people before you can see the President?
Until the personal Prophet of the President spoke,I didn’t know that the President has been hijacked by Gabby and Duke Ofori Atta.I mean Prophet Owusu Bempah.
So when former President Kuffour says don’t wash your dirty linens in public,he is simply saying that don’t give information that is within close corridors.
People tend to believe it more.
The NDC suffered it in the past.
Once we are involved in competitive electoral politics,management of information is key.
The NDC must take a cue from the speech of Mr Kuffour and get together closely.
We need power.
Think deeply about it.