The NPP is grabbing at straws. The mighty have truly fallen and now all they can do is put up spurious challenges and do all they can to throw doubts in the minds of the electorate. But the fact remains that in the next few hours the EC should officially declare John Atta Mills as the successor to John Kufuor.
Few gave him a dog’s chance. This is his third shot at the presidency and since he started trying some eight years ago, the odds have never been so stuck against him.
First, his party is broke. Some doubt this but I am sure the NDC ran this year’s campaign on a very lean budget. The ruling NPP, on the other hand, seemed to have a bottomless purse. There were times when I heard about 10 NPP adverts on radio within a 60-minute period. The NDC’s adverts by contrast were few and far between.
Secondly, this year saw Prof. Mills being maligned much more than ever before. His health was a campaign issue. His opponents painted him as a sickly, dying man who would spend much of his tenure in hospital wards than in his presidential office tending to the problems of the nation.
Thirdly, they claimed he lacked a solid pair between his balls. They called him a poodle who wouldn’t hesitate to do the bidding of his dictatorial political benefactor. It was claimed that a vote for Mills would amount to a vote for Jerry Rawlings.
But at the end of two rounds of voting – and after almost all the ballots have been counted – Ghanaians decided that they would rather make the sickly “poodle” their president. They have well and truly spoken that even with Rawlings lurking in the shadows, they still prefer the two-time loser and his party with a very bad reputation (they used to shave people’s head with broken bottles for Christ’s sake) as their leader. By making such a choice, Ghanaians dealt the NPP and its candidate the most embarrassing rejection a ruling party could suffer anywhere.
When Nana was chosen as the NPP presidential candidate in December last year, he proclaimed that “this election is ours to lose”. He was confident because he and the ruling party felt they had governed so well Ghanaians will not hesitate in renewing their mandate. But they were wrong.
The result of the first round vote was an indication that Ghanaians were not satisfied with the NPP and their much-touted successes. The people spoke that they have had enough of the NPP and all the bad things it stands for – arrogance, wanton waste, cronyism, a president who inexplicably decides to reward himself with an expensive medal whiles calling his poor, hungry citizens lazy, corruption and greed. But they were unsure of the alternative because the NDC was a very bad, abusive government and at the time they lost power, Ghanaians had grown well and truly tired of their misguided policies, their dictatorial founder and the party’s penchant for trampling on the people’s rights with impunity.
Has the NDC changed? I am not so sure. I once heard of Prof. Mills closest aides, literally threatening one of the big guys in the NPP and I was shocked. He convinced me that the NDC is still full of thugs and goons. Only time will tell whether the NDC will form a leaner, meaner and better government. Yet, in spite of all the doubts about the NDC’s ability to govern and govern well, Ghanaians chose to risk the next four years under the party.
You can spend an eternity analysing Prof. Mills’ victory and the NPP’s heavy losses in parliament. However you look at it, there is only one bottom line: the people voted more against the NPP, not necessarily for the NDC.
It’s a very serious indictment of John Kufuor’s presidency. It shows that he has not done as well as he thinks he deserves credit for. To hell with all those international awards – those who gave them to him do not feel the pain and frustrations of Ghanaians. Now the people whose voices matter the most have spoken. The ‘elephant’ should go back into the bush.
The results so far show that Mills did not only win the most votes but he seems to have received more of a national mandate than Nana Addo does – even though the numbers seem so close. Whiles Mills garnered votes from almost every corner of the country, most of the ballots for Nana were cast in the Ashanti and Eastern Regions. Furthermore, Mills made substantial gains in the second round – compared with the first round results – but Nana suffered significant losses in several areas. This is sufficient proof that the NPP has well and truly lost power. It’s the end of an era.
I am appalled that despite their claims to be the most democratic of all of Ghana’s political parties, the NPP is refusing to concede defeat after the people have spoken so resoundingly. There are reports that they are planning to go to court to challenge some of the results – they want to subtract some of the vote tallies from certain areas whiles adding more to the tallies from other areas.
Truth be told, the run-off polls didn’t go as well as the first round. We should all be bowing our heads in shame at some of things that happened in certain parts of the country. But the NPP cannot turn around and accuse the NDC of being behind all the anomalies. As the US assistant of state responsible for Africa, Jendayi Frazier, put it both parties behaved “irresponsibly”.
The things that happened on Sunday and the pronouncements of the politicians – including the baseless rumours and allegations, mostly exaggerated fabrications – could have taken this country to the brink. But almost all the observers have declared that these cannot affect the general outcome of the polls. And I agree with them. That means that Nana lost and Mills won.
The onus is on the ruling party and its leaders to stop whining like little kids. I know the prospect of going back to opposition is hard to bear. But that’s what happens to a party that loses touch with the people. Instead of wasting time challenging results, they should rather focus on preparing their minds for life in opposition.
The next administration also needs to immediately start working the necessary transition arrangements. Barrack Obama had 72 days to make the transition. Atta Mills has only a little more than a week. The sooner he starts thinking about the transition the better.
Finally, Ghanaians just want to move on – probably forward. If Nana Akufo-Addo truly believes in Ghana, he should concede graciously and start thinking about ways he can help the country to continue “moving forward” – with him as a passenger, not in the driving seat.