Ghanaian poet, Paa Kayper, once cautioned: “Walk. Do not run to the funeral of one who died running”.
This week, when the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia launched ‘www.deliverytracker.gov.gh’, to publicize 17,334 NPP infrastructural achievements, I remembered Kayper. Perception brought Mahama to his knees, in spite of all those infrastructural projects, and it seems Nana Akufo-Addo has failed to learn from it.
Many Ghanaians perceived Mahama to be corrupt, listing bus rebranding, wastage of GH¢47 (470 billion old cedis) in the infamous guinea fowl and afforestation projects in which 600 of the fowls “flew” into Burkina Faso, and no trace of the trees.
This NPP website, though needful, is not critically because projects cannot hide: even a blind man can feel that he is walking in the sun.
But there is a problem. Ultimately it is not necessarily projects that make Ghanaians decide in an election, though they need them as badly as harmattan waits for rain. It is the perception of incorruptibility, humility and trust, combined with prudence. Were it not so, the NPP’s fortunes in all the surveys carried out by various pollsters would not suffer as badly as it has done these last few months. In April, the Economic Intelligence Unit said there was no way Mahama could upset Nana Akufo-Addo. This was repeated in June. In the EIU’s latest poll, however, it says “the 2020 Election will be closely contested.”
This somehow agrees with some polls which show Mahama in the lead. The latest poll predicts a run-off from which Mahama will emerge victorious. If you are a Ghanaian, you don’t need a poll to know that in a run-off, CPP will mass up on the side of NDC. Why? Not because they love NDC but because the NPP has dared to touch Kwame Nkrumah!
Impunity means taking people for granted, and Ghanaians don’t want to be taken for granted. By his third year, this perception was trailing Akufo-Addo. Many Ghanaians were (are) not happy with him for shelving the Ayawaso Wuogon probe report.
The perception is that you could be probed but you couldn’t be jailed if you are NPP. Ghanaians hate impunity like a sore. But by far the unkindest cut that is draining NPP of precious blood is the (mis)handling of the banking crisis, namely Bank of Ghana’s revocation of the licenses of nine local banks, 347 microfinance firms, and the SEC’s halting of Menzgold’s gold dealership.
I know of a family in Kumasi who are (were) dyed in the wool, blue/white-blooded NPP. Both father and mother have investments in one of the savings and loans companies affected by the crisis. Six months into the crisis they could be heard encouraging fellow victims to be patient: “Nana Addo will pay us”.
In June, one of their children died from a disease which could have been cured if money were available. That is when things changed. In July, they were swearing that they would not vote at all, since they couldn’t vote against NPP and wouldn’t vote for any other party. By last week, the wife had decided she would vote – “vote against NPP.” The GUM may have her vote because, as she says, “I can never vote for NDC”.
You heard Dr Kwame Pianim, economist and member of the NPP. “We are making it difficult for the NPP to win this election by stealing money from decent citizens,” he said. In an interview on Citi FM the other day, he offered a way out. “Pay them, even if the Bank of Ghana has to print money – because this is not inflationary, it is earned money.”
Referring to the banks’ shareholders and officials “who decided to use their banking licence to steal people’s deposits to finance themselves,” Dr Pianim asked: “What have we done to them? They are on trial? How long has it taken us?”
I personally think that the NPP government has not been lucky to have civil servants and financial experts with enough patriotism in their bones to want to see the back of the banking crisis. Validation? For two years!?
Another group of Ghanaians who are seething with rage are the former staff of the defunct banks and other financial houses. Most of them are still unemployed; one of them now drives an Uber and there is this lady who is making soaps.
It’s not enough to blame NDC for doing nothing about it when they were in power. All that Ghanaians know is that NPP collapsed the banks but has not paid their money.
I am not writing this to wish that the NPP lose the election. I write so that history will record that a government with 1,000,000 goodwill votes came to a point where it was fighting from behind. I write because everybody or organization in this world needs somebody watching behind to point out what’s going wrong and can be corrected.