I know, I know. I promised a month or two ago that I was unlooking Ghana, never to look back lest I turn into a behemoth pillar of pure NaCl , but this is too exciting to ignore! Indulge me for just a moment and then we can go back to discussing really important world events like the chick who ran a UK marathon with a bloody, soggy bottom or what color the Kartrashians are dying their follicles these days.
John Mahama is going to win re-election in 2016 because Ghanaians are predictable. What’s more important, the president, his ministers, his drivers, his side chicks, his shoe shine boys…anybody who is in his sphere of influence knows this. That’s why they are collectively misbehaving publicly with utter impunity. The NDC knows that no matter what they do, no matter heinous their crimes or how dearly they cost the country, John Mahama – and more importantly, the Ghanaian people – will save their bacon in the end and ensure that they can continue on their campaign of utter ruin uninterrupted.
Let me be clear: I do not want John Mahama to win. I’m sure he’s a really nice guy and totally that dude you want to invite over to your Aunt Maggie’s dull dinner parties for the benefit of his excellent oratory skills and penchant for hyperbole of her accomplishments, but he’s not cut out to be the president. That’s the first problem with the Ghanaian electorate: they cannot separate the person from the performance. Like this guy who jumped all my case on Facebook a few weeks ago when I went on rant about the demonic work of a certain bearded Accra Mayor. You know what this bloke had the unmitigated gall to say on MY wall?
“Hey! That’s my uncle…careful! Speak no evil of him.”
I politely informed him that his uncle was a despotic douchebag on a perpetual ego trip who has done nothing during his tenure as mayor to earn from the people of Accra anything but their eternal contempt. I think he blocked me after that. Shoot, I would have blocked me after that.
Anyway, the point is, because Ghanaians are incapable of distinguishing person’s personality from his/her competence, JDM is an absolute shoe-in. Did you see how social media reacted when he showed up at the site of the Goil explosion after the June 3rd floods? Even Africans from other nations were impressed. Oh how sorry your president looks! You can tell from the look on his face and the tone of his voice that he really cares!
Eish. No. We beg. If the president really cared about the capital city of the first sub-Saharan nation to receive independence, he would make sure that there was proper (and consistent) disposal of waste, he would root out the nefarious elements in the city planning and zoning committees that allow petrol stations to go without proper inspections or who chop funds that are supposed to be used to sanitize the city instead of paying workers, and he certainly would have come into office with a viable plan to curb – or at least lesson – the impact of floods that occur annually. No one was surprised that Accra got flooded on June 3rd…it was the devastation that followed that was so shocking. But hey! The President John Mahama looked sorry, and that’s what counts.
That’s the other reason that JDM is assured of victory in 2016. Say what you will, but the man photographs like a dream. Always has. This is part of the reason he got elected in the first place. Ghanaians wanted a “cool looking” president, for once. So there he was in all his handsome splendor for the ladies, clutching his iPad to deliver speeches for male appeal. John Mahama may not know diddly about running a country, but he knows a thing or two about winning elections. Like Kwame Nkrumah, he understands the limits and appetites of his people. He knows that Ghanaians are visual.
When Nkrumah and the CPP were contesting the highest seat in the land, they crisscrossed the country using loud speakers set atop vehicles painted in party colors to proclaim the details of their manifesto. Few Ghanaians were literate at the time, and this was the best way to communicate with his people. After becoming president of the First Republic, whenever Nkrumah sought to propose public works in any locality, he would take scaled images of those projects to show the locals in order to win their buy-in. His strategy worked. I believe Mahama has studied this and modified it to suit his style. Ghanaians en masse are no more literate than they were 60 years ago, and those of us who CAN read, do not engage in the exercise frequently enough. We look at a headline to surmise the totality of the content of a report.
Look at these pictures here:
WE know that this is just a photo op and not a remedy for the filth that makes Ghana the 7th Dirtiest country in the world, but remember – it is not the people sitting comfortably in Accra and Tema who determine the direction of the country. It’s those in the towns and villages waiting for their manna who set the trajectory of the nation. That’s where the numbers lie. If they like what they see in pictures, that’s what the nation gets served for the next 4 years.
Oh, but all of this would be easy to combat if some of the other candidates could just get their names and faces in the national dailies looking like they were doing something, right? Ahhh…it would be, if not for the occurrence of the Soli 100. That’s when the sitting NDC effectively bribed Ghana’s entire mass media elite corps with payouts of between $50-333 in order to “improve and normalize relations between the government and the media”. I promise my American friends, I’m not making this up. Google it.
Of course, the government denies any of this ever happened, and those journalists who would dare to name and shame have been threatened (with physical/bodily harm, arson and even death) by their colleagues in the media. It’s like watching a pig take a swan dive in its own shit and then having the impudence to strut through a perfume aisle, convinced of its olfactory pleasantness. Sorry, Samia, Nana Addo and Co. The media’s already been purchased. No coverage for you!
But you know what the best part – and this is the part that has me geeked – is? President Mahama’s “measures” are beginning to work! The Better Ghana Agenda is in full swing! If you just look, the evidence is all around you. Back in 2014, when dumsor (power cut offs) were wreaking havoc on the economy and daily life and therefore the president’s chances at re-election, politically aware Ghanaians predicted that if Mahama could provide constant supply for 30 days…just 30 days!…around Christmas and just before the elections, he would be assured of victory. So what have we seen now? A shift from the Energy Minister telling folks to stop charging their cell phones and to turn off their fridges for the 6 hours that they DO receive electricity to eight solid days of continues light just last week. I don’t think we’ve seen a straight week of light in Accra since Azumah Nelson did a Milo advert. It was a trial run to see what kind of cost and manpower it would take to do this at the crucial moment. Don’t worry. After JDM wins, you will all go back to 3 days off, 12 hours on.
The second part to that is the economy itself. Ghana’s economy has been described as “moribund” by Forbes and other international media outlets. Is there a word for “zombie” in Twi? Because whatever it is, I think that’s a more apt description for what JDM is about to do. Never mind the outright stealing in the GYEEDA scandals and co. He and his cabinet have withheld cash from all these works, projects and schemes for years because it was not prudent to inject those funds into the economy until NOW. Soon, we will all see an infusion into various areas of the economy that’s going to put more cash into people pockets, cause them to spend more and ultimately, cause them to feel better about re-electing JDM…just in time for Christmas. It’s going to be grand.
In her open letter to the president in which she made his performance analogous to that of a kindergartner’s. Lydia Forson wrote that she was waiting for the president to shock her. I hope she is prepared to be shocked, awed and amazed by the scandal that is about to rock this nation: That 26 million people are about to give their lives over to the man and the party that have been the architect of a country’s doom the mandate for another four years.
If that ain’t worthy of a Hollywood flick, I don’t know what is.
I’m excited to watch this all unfold. Are you? I’ll bring the popcorn.