TALKING DRUM: Hello Nana Addo, should I vote for you?

President Nana Akufo-Addo

Last week at Bubuashie in Accra, a lady and young man quickly walked past my bus (trotro) which moved slowly— dodging potholes. Draped on the right shoulder of the lady was a megaphone. 

“He is number one on the ballot paper,” she said. She was not an evangelist winning souls for Christ. Here was a lady campaigning for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the upcoming December 7 polls. She was on a mission to win votes for NPP’s presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The Bubuashie megaphone campaigners announced that residents could dispose their refuse for free. They had brought a ‘borla’ taxi to collect all the residents’ rubbish.

If you are a Ghanaian or African reading this, I will not be surprised to hear you say you are equally not surprised of this sort of campaign towards an election on the continent. This is Ghana and that is how my people canvass for votes. When they win, you will only see them in the next four (4) years!

Sitting in that rickety bus, I felt justified for being critically harsh on politicians in my writings. The sad truth is that they know exactly how to turn around the fortunes of this country called Ghana but deliberately derelict their duties and responsibilities. They capitalize on the ignorance and timidity of the masses to rape them.

For instance, when the Nana Akufo Addo-led government assumed office, one of its policies, aside fighting corruption, was to get Accra become the cleanest city in Africa. Ghanaians were so hopeful that, at last, we had found a leader to rid Accra of its dirt.

I had no qualms about the President achieving this feat. In 1986, France and England conceived an idea to create a route that will connect the two countries. After deliberations, they settled on building a railway.

What became known as the Eurotunnel or the Channel Tunnel was not an ordinary railway line. The 31 mile (50 km) long Eurotunnel was built undersea. Yes! When it was officially opened in 1994, the world once again realized that the human brain is the most powerful thing on earth. A railway constructed undersea? Hmmm!

So, as mentioned above, when my president made endless promises to, among other things, get Accra to become Africa’s cleanest city, I never had doubts. Human beings elsewhere had been able to build railway under the waters. After all, how tedious is it to sweep rubbish and get citizens not to litter indiscriminately?

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Then, few months into the NPP government administration, they boldly and proudly told Ghanaians they cannot fulfill the ‘clean city’ promise. Annoyingly, the President and his ministers kept telling Ghanaians that goal would be achieved in their second term in government. Really? A country of jokers!

As elections fast approach, the NPP and its supporters and foot soldiers have seen the need to hit the grounds to aggressively campaign as I saw at Bubuashie and we see in every corner in the country. Why was the government unable to employ these on-the-ground campaign strategies for the sanitation campaign among others the president promised? Why is the NPP able to assemble beautiful ladies, station them on our streets and hand them placards bearing the party’s so-called achievements yet unable to get them to hold placards telling Ghanaians not to litter?

This, I must say, the National Democratic Congress is equally guilty of. The Ghanaian politician thinks every Ghanaian is a fool. So, they pretend to be working right from the day they are sworn into office. When they realize elections are drawing closer, they come promising us even the more.

If you have keenly followed the Australian Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Gregory Andrews, as I have, you would realize that right from the very day he got into Ghana, he started working. He had no time to waste.

When you read comments on the Australian Embassy Facebook page, most Ghanaians who comment on his posts bitterly lament over not seeing this spirit of a sense of urgency and selfless dedication to humanity in their own politicians. President Nana Addo, after he touted his government to be one in a hurry quickly implemented the Free SHS policy and went to sleep. His government is a tale of failed promises.

Our politicians are so wicked that after they come together to loot and, at times, pamper foreigners — as we saw in the cases of Aisha Huang and Helena Huang — to rape the country of its resources, they are even unable to provide basic amenities to citizens to calm down their tempers.

Last year, I went to Tamale on three separate round trips by air from Accra. Throughout my life, so far, my being aboard an airplane has seen me do Accra-Tamale and Tamale-Accra. I have not stepped a foot outside Ghana. Nonetheless, I spend time on the internet and so I know almost every country so well and I think Ghana is perhaps the only country where common sense is so hard to find. Yes! Politically, we do not have sensible leaders.

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If we had politically sensible leaders, would we have seen almost all our streets turn pitch-black at night while Ghanaians pay for streetlight services? If we had leaders who think, would we have seen them get their supporters climb these same white elephant streetlight poles to hoist their campaign flags?

In front of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, on the Awoshie-Pokuase Highway and University of Ghana (Legon-Accra) among others (all in Accra), one sees impenetrable darkness at night but party flags of both NPP and NDC adorn these streetlight poles. I am sure this situation reflects nationwide, too. Please, the question is, are we normal?

Few months ago, it took residents at Magoase near Awoshie to protest before traffic light was fixed for them on a point on the Awoshie-Pokuase Highway. When the ‘wise men’, however, fixed the traffic light at Magoase, they forgot to fix the streetlights on this same road. Are we not stupid!?

In August 2020, I used the Techiman-Sawla stretch. The potholes on this road speak volumes of our negligence. We do not value human lives so nothing tells us to fix, at least, our major roads. We are only interested in counting the number of deaths on these roads.

On January 26, 2020, I wrote an article dubbed “What next after counting the dead?” and in that piece, I told you that: “In 2019 only, Ghana as a country lost 2,284 persons to road crashes. 2018 was nothing different. We counted 2,020 deaths of humans on our roads.”

Actually, statistics from 1991 to 2018 indicates that 46,284 people lost their lives to road crashes. if we were to fill the Accra Sports Stadium — which has a 40, 000 seating capacity — with these dead bodies, as many have put this in perspective, we would have the venue overflowing with a surplus of 6000 bodies.”

That is how alarming the situation is. However, what concrete measures have our leaders put in place to curb road crashes? None! (See the aforementioned article and read measures I suggested be taken to curb the crashes.) Nothing pushes us to be concerned about our predicaments as we made the world believe we could manage the coronavirus pandemic.

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Mr. President, should I vote for you? Honestly, I do not see any sense of patriotism and nationalism in the two main contenders in the December 7 polls. The NPP and NDC are only bent on amassing wealth for themselves. They instigate their die-hard supporters to commit all sorts of atrocities including what we saw in Banda in the Bono Region where a young man named Silas Wulochamey met his untimely death in the hands of NPP-NDC thugs. In Kasoa too, we have not forgotten the horror ‘movie’ Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East Constituency Hawa Koomson shot.

If these people claim they want to serve Ghanaians, why do they kill and maim the same Ghanaians they want to serve? Why do they blatantly engage in corruption and rake in all the cash into their coffers while the masses suffer?

It is only an unfortunate reality that, come December 7, victory will either go to the NPP or NDC. For some of us, however, we see it as an exercise and endorsement of mediocrity if we walk from our homes and go to the polling centers to vote for any of the two leading political parties.

It may take us years for Ghana and Africa to have refined politicians with conscience leading us both in government and opposition who will place the interest of the masses before their selfish gains. The time to force these politicians to think is now.

If I had my way, I will elect Akua Donkor as Ghana’s next president so — officially — the world knows we are into comedy in our politics. Until we wake up and challenge our ‘educated illiterates’ in politics who are bent on bettering themselves, their family and friends, we will continue to ask God why we find ourselves in Africa!

By Solomon Mensah

The writer is a broadcast journalist with Media General. Views expressed here solely remain his and not that of his organization.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @Aniwaba