Divided by politics but united by poverty

graceI have just returned from the Northern Region where I visited several villages. The situation in the region is very desperate. One can see naked poverty boldly written on the faces of the people over there.

People can’t make ends meet and the only option left for the youth is to migrate down south where they hope to, at least get three square meals a day. It looks as if the government of Mr. John Dramani Mahama is committing crime against humanity.

What I observed when I visited the region was that the people there have seen the light. The young men and women who migrated down south to work returned home to tell their people how their region has been neglected. They listened to radio commentaries about SADA, GYEEDA, Asongtaaba and others which was used as a conduit to siphon monies for the NDC campaign efforts in 2012.

One young man I spoke to told me that but for the sickness of his old mother, he would never come down to his village because in Accra where he works as a wheelbarrow pusher, his standard of living is far better than his counterparts who are trying to irk a living through subsistent farming.

If you travel to Tamale, the regional capital and think you have been to the Northern Region, I am sorry you have deceived yourself. At Tamale, you may see very fine buildings and huge hotels as well as well stocked stores and flashy cars. It is when you travel to the hinterland that you will really experience what I am talking about.

If you buy something and pull out GH¢20 it will take the seller more than two hours to get change for you. And if you dash somebody GH¢5 it looks as if you have dashed him the universe. People are broke and there is no source of income.

Agriculture, which used to be the main occupation of the folks have virtually collapsed. And to add insult to injury, strong men and women who should have taken over from their aging parents as far as farming is concerned, have migrated to the south in search of menial jobs. I used to think teenage pregnancy is only prevalent in the southern part of this country.

I was totally wrong. When I visited the Northern Region, the situation there had nothing good to write home about. I saw many hungry looking small girls with their children strapped at their backs. Unschooled urchins roam the villages aimlessly while others herd cattle.

I saw old men and women resting under trees wondering where the next meal will come from because the young men had all traveled to find something to better their sorry situation.

In the run-up to the 2012 General election when Mr. Mahama went to campaign in the Northern Region and told them to vote for him because he is a northerner, I thought when he came to power he will turn his attention to the Northern Region because as a Northerner he knows the situation there more than anyone else.

And having been a parliamentarian for twelve years, Vice President for three years and of cause president for nearly four years, nobody can tell me that Mr. Mahama is ignorant about what is prevailing in the Northern Region of Ghana. Ministers from the Northern Region continue to construct their private mansions with architectural wonder in the big cities in the southern part of Ghana and the capital town of the Northern Region but fail to assuage the suffering of their people in the rural areas in the Northern Region.

They only go there when election is around the corner, give them soap, secondhand clothes, salt, cutlasses etc and ask them to vote for them. Poor folks, poverty has made them blind and they continue to fall prey to the trick. It is not their fault anyway, because the illiteracy rate is very high over there.

The NDC politicians are good at using communist inferior tactics to hoodwink the people in the Northern Region. The plan is very simple. Impoverish the masses and wait until election is around the corner before you send them a few items. You then promise to give them more when you get power again.

The sages say when rain falls, it won’t fall in one man’s house. So it came to pass that when poverty, hardship and unbearable high tariffs did hit hard on the poor folks of the Northern Region, they had no option but to hit the streets even when their own kinsman, the president went to their region to campaign for votes.

Nobody can convince me that the huge crowd at the demonstration were all NPP supporters alone. At least I saw Suleimana Imoro, one of the demonstrators who was holding a placard with the inscription, “Mahama has disgraced Northerners”. Suleimana, a dye in the wool supporter of the NDC had an encounter with me at the Aboabo market when I went to buy some items there during one of my visits to the capital city.

When I engaged him in a conversation and realized that he was a supporter of the NDC, I wanted to know why he was still supporting the party since the party has failed Ghanaians, including himself. He told me if even the heavens rain fire, he would never abandon the NDC. I was therefore surprised to see him holding a placard and demonstrating against his own government.

So my dear readers, you now understand the caption above? The same people who are divided by politics are now united by poverty. There are no different markets where supporters of the NDC patronize and a different market patronized by supporters of the NPP. And neither do the supporters of the NDC use different meters from those used by supporters of the NPP. We are all stewing in the same frying pan.

If this demonstration had been organized by people from the Ashanti Region, the NDC propagandists will have labeled the demonstrators as NPP supporters. This was organized by people from the president’s own region where he has huge support base. It speaks volumes of things to come.

Nana Addo a dangerous man?

The Akans say if you are fed up with a fight you forget that you have teeth in your mouth which you could use to defend yourself. They also say if you are better off than your neighbor he or she hates you.

Speaking at Bimbilla where he went to campaign, the President stooped so low to the extent that he referred to Nana Akufo-Addo as a dangerous man and so they should not vote for him. Eh! Has it come to this? Does the president know the track record of the man he referred to as dangerous? Mr. President, stand up for me to tell you a few things about Nana Akufo Addo which proves that he is not a dangerous man, has never been a dangerous man and will never be a dangerous man.

In 1978 when the late General I.K Acheampong, the then Head of State of Ghana sort to continue his rule through a non-party, tripartite arrangement involving the military, police and handpicked civilians, Nana Addo and a few men stood to be counted.

Instead of choosing the path of violence Nana Addo, General A.A Afrifa, Mr. Gbedemah and a few others formed the Peoples Movement for Freedom and Justice to campaign against Acheampong proposed referendum. In fact, Nana Akufo Addo, a young and enterprising lawyer was the General Secretary of the PMFJ. The group risked their lives and traveled across the length and breadth of Ghana, campaigning for Ghanaians to vote NO to UNIGOV.

At their peril, they confronted the military rulers without arms and Ghanaians followed them because they knew they were fighting a good cause. Even though General Acheampong openly rigged the referendum, it did not take long before a palace coup removed him from office. Where was Mr. Mahama when Nana Addo did put his nose on the grindstone to safe Ghana from a continuous military rule?

Immediately the Kufour administration took over the reins of power and Nana Addo was made the Attorney General and Minister of justice, the first thing he did was to repeal the Criminal Libel Law which was used by Rawlings and his PNDC cohorts to send people to jail.

Remember when then candidate Kufour said in the run-up to the 2000 elections that he will make sure the CLL is removed from our status book, the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mr. Obed Asamoah said the law will be removed over his dead body. And you call Nana Addo a dangerous man, Mr. Mahama? Check your Thesaurus and see the meaning of a dangerous man, Mr. Desperado!

Look at the attitude of a ‘dangerous man’ and compare him to the man who used his power to release convicted criminals who threatened the lives of justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana, including the Chief Justice. There was an Election Petition at the Supreme Court and after the sittings, the SC gave a ruling by a split decision of 5:4 that the President, John Dramani Mahama was rightfully elected as the president of Ghana.

After the ruling, which did not go down well with the NPP supporters, Nana Addo the loser of that petition hurriedly called a press conference and told the world that even though he did not agree with the decision, he had accepted the ruling for the sake of peace. When the teeming supporters of the NPP decided to gather at the Obra Square to protest, Nana Addo admonished them to stop. And you call such a person a dangerous man?

The truth is that President Mahama has come to realize that there is no way he can rig the election since the NPP supporters are now vigilant and wide awake. That is why he is junketing the length and breadth of the country, insulting, casting insinuations and aspersions.

If the president knows he has done well and Ghanaians will retain him, why worry his head and kicking like a bull? Coming events cast their shadows, so said the sages.



By: Eric Bawah