In the late 90’s one could not mention multiparty democracy in Ghana without tagging it as a “fledgling” one just to stay safe should there be any disturbances arising out of activities in the run up to the general elections in the year 2000.
This was partly because of the pockets of violence that characterised the 1996 elections which saw Jerry John Rawlings retain the Presidency for the second and last time, after defeating John Agyakum Kufuor, the ‘gentle giant’, who had made his first shot at the Osu Castle.
I remember as a young boy then, how the victors -National Democratic Congress- filled the streets in parts of Accra particularly Maamobi, Nima, New-Town, Kotobabi and Pig Farm to celebrate victory over the elephant (NPP) for the second time running. Miniature elephants were tied on a rope and dragged on the streets by the ecstatic party faithful to signal their victory. It was all fun those days even though I did not really know much about party politics apart from the fact that it had to do with J.J Rawlings and the opposition parties seeking to kick him out through the opaque ballot boxes.
But all that seem to have taken a different direction lately especially as our democracy gets entrenched. I remember in the run up to the 2008 elections, the most popular campaign song then was Nana Akufo-Addo’s “Winner” which was sang by every Ghanaian, young or old. It was such popular to the extent that some NDC supporters sang it to celebrate their election victory over the NPP which was then in government.
At that time it sounded a bit weird to some observers and equally worrying for those concerned as there was the fear that, that could amount to ‘teasing’ and could result to attacks from the losers some of whom were still in a state of shock. In 2012, the decision by then opposition NPP leadership to challenge at the Supreme Court, the declaration by the Electoral Commission of John Mahama as winner of the Presidential election, automatically put to bed, any plans by the NDC to organise a ‘victory party’.
The court case dragged until late August, 2013 when the justices affirmed the EC proclamation. NDC then organised some form of a celebration over the ruling but the fact that it came after almost a year due to the adjudication, took the shine out of it.
The most popular campaign song during the 2016 electioneering campaign was undoubtedly, the NDC’s ‘Onaapo’ tune which is a blend of the Ga dialect spoken by the indigenous people of Accra, and English language to project the incumbent, John Mahama as the obvious candidate for the Presidency. However, the shocking outcome which saw the NPP recapture power from the NDC and for the first time beating a sitting president, has taken the victory celebrations to a new height.
The ‘Onaapo’ tune has been the number one hit song on the airwaves since Friday, December 9, when the EC Chair, Charlotte Osei officially declared NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo winner of the elections after he garnered over 53% of total votes cast while John Mahama polled just a little over 44%.
Interestingly, NPP supporters by default, seems to have shielded its “Nana yɛ winner” jingle and have ‘claimed’ the Onaapo one from their fiercest opponents.
However, one would look at this interesting development, it is one beautiful aspect of our democracy that we just have to be proud about. Everywhere in the country where NPP is marking victory rallies- Dome-Kwabenya, Bantama, New Juabeng and Jaman North- the Onaapo tune is very prominent there.
As the winning party jubilates with the jingles of the ‘villain’, it leaves one thing in my mind which is victory for Ghana. This is because, if you are visitor to Ghana at this moment and keep hearing the Onaapo playing over and over, hardly will you know who won the polls. There are no NPP jingles and there no NDC jingles. It is a rare occurrence in our part of the world where election victory rallies are mostly characterised by violent clashes which sometimes leave scores dead.
The winning party is celebrating its victory with the campaign tunes of the losing party and that’s a big plus for an African democracy which just celebrated 24 years of multiparty democracy since 1992.
Let’s keep it this way and the Red, Gold and Green flag of Ghana, the Hope of Africa, will continue to score high marks with her democratic credentials and make Africa proud.
Author: Jerry Tsatro Mordy,
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