Wednesday, 7 November 2012

30 to go

There are 30 days to go until Ghana decides it's next President although if it is as close as last time, we might have to add a fortnight to that countdown. America has chosen to move forward with the incumbent and just like last time the NDC find themselves mimicking the same message "stay with us, there is more to do, but we are the best to do it". Whether that message rings true to Ghanaians this year is still yet to be seen.

I know who I would vote for if I was able to vote and that doesn't mean that I support them 100%, but I believe that this is the year that Ghanaians are going to stand up and say, "we voted you in, but that doesn't mean we will remain silent for the rest of the 4 years". I really see civil society taking a more active role in shaping government policy. It's now not just about holding up someone's manifesto of years gone by and marking them solely against what they once said they were going to do, it's about requesting things of your MPs and President during term and seeing a significant response to your request. We don't need anymore "re-elect us and it will happen", we need "we have heard you, and we have acted" and I think the Ghanaian public is now in the position where this is the type of leadership they want.

A good example of this would be Ghana Decides. This is an authentically grassroots movement that really took off in their iRegistered campaign garnering celebrity support and really catapulting a discussion forum in that campaign on why it is good to register. The average Ghanaian was given a voice and we could all see how well they responded to that. Things have become murkier for politics in Ghana since the death of President Atta Mills. There is a big possibility that President Mahama could benefit from a sympathy vote, or perhaps those who thought it was a done deal, will be spurred to cast their vote for him just to make sure. That is all very good for democracy as long as it comes from the people.

The IEA encounters and debates have been an eye opener. Not only via the content of these events, but the fact that they appear to be the only platform upon which Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates are held to account. That in itself tells us much about the strength of our democracy and I think much needs to be done within the next four years to hold more personal and challenging interviews with the media and not just the traditional media, but New Media also. I had the pleasure of watching Abu Sakara's intimate Hangout with Ghanaians at home and abroad. I posed a question to him and whilst he did not directly answer it, his response gave me a greater insight into the type of person and leader he is and President he would be. That, strengthens the countries democracy, not simply pre-written scripts read out to debate questions in front of a distinguished and invited audiences.

There is 30 days, and one IEA debate left to go before Ghana decides. Anyone who thought one particular party had sealed the deal or were guaranteed victory or deserved victory for what ever reason should see how quickly opinions can change in the space of a week. Last Monday this was a battle between two giants in the political arena. 9 days later the CPP have managed to squeeze through the gap and make themselves real contenders for this race. I sympathise with Mr. Hassan Ayariga, as it seems he was judged more on his English than his vision. In 9 days his party has managed to vindicate him a little as Madam Matrevi performed relatively better in the VP debate. But if so much can change in just 9 days, think what could happen in the next 30. If the NDC and NPP become broken records and forget that there are other parties involved in this race who they just might need in a run-off (which is more than likely) they might just see the arrogance of being a big party become their undoing. Ghana decides.

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