I really feel my home country Ghana is not in a good place these days. That’s not a cultural statement (although that’s on the decline as well), but rather a socioeconomic – political one. And although I will always love my Ghana, I don’t want to be near it at the moment.
I know that’s harsh, but I must say that nothing seems to be working in Ghana these days and everybody else has stopped thinking issues out, especially electorates. In fact, I don’t know what is wrong with us.
My name is Ruth Appiah Osei, now living in Norway and working as a Teaching Assistant in the University of Nordland. The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it.
You often don’t see what’s messed up about your country until you step outside of it. And so even though this article is going to come across as fairly scathing, I want my Ghanaian readers to know this: our way of thinking and some of the stuff we do, that we always assumed was normal, it’s kind of screwed up.
I was in Ghana just last December to spend the Yuletide with my family. During that period of my short stay in Ghana, I hooked up with some of my colleagues from way back ‘Secondary School’, now Senior High school.
I must admit I had a blast hanging out with my old classmates. Along the line, one intriguing topic that cropped up in one of our customary discussions was apropos of the imminent 2016 general elections, November polls. One of my mates preposterously suddenly gave an indication that she was going to vote for a certain Presidential candidate.
The joviality characterised by her swift response, made me laugh saaa. Out of curiosity, I asked her the reason for wanting to vote for such a person, and the answer she gave really dazed me. She said, “Well, I just love the party not necessarily the person or what he can do, but I was born into that party, both parents belong to that party so I automatically belong there”.
I was utterly taken aback. Wow!!! 21st century and electorates are not busily scrutinising policies and laws but basing their electoral choices on family and ethnic inclinations? That was way below the belt for me. I explained to them that I would proudly vote for Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive Peoples Party; and the reason I gave was brief.
I said, in a country like Ghana where corruption is rife, I need an incorruptible leader who would be willing to fight corruption tooth and nail. Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom has been on the forefront, narrating a lucid solution of prosecuting alleged corrupt people by decoupling the Attorney General’s office from that of the Ministry of Justice.
As a Development Communications Specialist, I am tremendously biased towards developmental Issues. For Development to be achieved effectively, the participatory approach to development which gives power to the people is key.
Dr. Nduom on numerous occasions has hinted he would give Ghanaians the opportunity to elect their own District/Municipal/Metropolitan Chief Executives to ensure local accountability and rapid Development. I cannot overlook unemployment challenges in Ghana, when talking about issues that should inform ones presidential choice.
Of course, all the aspiring presidential candidates have been preaching employment opportunities everywhere; a natural-political obsequious trait found in all politicians in an electioneering year. This is when leadership by example sets in to separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’. Dr Nduom as a private man has been able to establish about fifty indigenous companies with over 5000 employees. His companies are not only found at Elmina where he comes from, but across the country. Apart from creating Jobs for many Ghanaians, Dr Nduom has reiterated that he would use government’s purchasing power to ensure that we eat what we grow and use what we produce in Ghana; a case he has proven by serving locally manufactured foods in his owned hotels, Coconut Grove Hotels.
One other news which I find fantastic is Groupe Nduom acquiring ISF Bank in Chicago. Without a shred of doubt, I have hope in such a leader because I am convinced he would not be indulged in State fund disbursement but rather use his position as leader of the country to create jobs for the many unemployed youth in the country.
After explaining my reasons to my friends, (mind you these are only but a few of them) they all nodded affirmatively but one of them was quick to chip in, “As for Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, we all know he is the best man to lead but what will my single vote do for him? Voting for him is like wasting my vote”.
Really? Like seriously? A vote for Nduom is a WASTED VOTE? Honestly I laughed out loud because I realised how ignorant some people were on electoral issues.
I would have let go of the issue but I have come to the realisation that a lot of Ghanaians are like my friend who believe in the good agenda of Dr. Nduom but do not want to vote for him simply because they think a vote for him is a wasted vote.
I will like to reiterate my response to my friend on what a WASTED VOTE really means. In the world of politics, there is nothing like first and second runners up. Once you win an election, you become the president.
All other political parties, whether you came close to beating the winner or not, you have lost the elections. Using 2012 elections to illustrate my point, all the over 5 million electorates who voted for the major opposition New Patriotic Party Flagbearer, Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo, wasted their votes because all the single votes put together could not make their candidate win. So what happened to their votes then? All went down the drain; WASTED. I am not attacking any party; I only want to enlighten people on what Wasted Votes really mean.
Anyone who casted a vote for any political party other than the Incumbent Nationaal Democratic Congress, did not obviously win, so what happened to all those votes? I leave the question for you to answer since I have already given you some “apor”.
Now, to all those who voted the NDC into power, yes your votes worked at getting your candidate into power. However I have a question for you as well; did you actually queue up to vote for Thievery, Corruption, Mismanagement, Dumsor, Unemployment, unpaid salaries and arrears, Unrealistic hikes in Utility tariffs, disbursement of State Funds, hardship in the country, economic mishap?
That is my genuine definition of Wasted Votes. We all go out to vote for development; to see improvement in our lives through well laid out policies by the party voted into power. So if we will all go and vote for a party that would make living conditions in the country worse, then can we proudly say we cast a beneficial vote?
As I leave you to ponder over this, I would vehemently advice that we think of Ghana as a country first. I believe the logs that have clouded the minds and eyes of many would be removed after reading this piece. We cannot afford to waste any more vote this year. There is power in your single vote, so let us all come together to vote for Good Leadership, Leadership by example, Incorruptible Leadership; which has been demonstrated by Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom. He is the best man Ghana needs now to transform the economy. I will not WASTE MY VOTE this year; my vote must bring me positive transformation. What about YOU? Would you waste your vote?
By: Ruth Appiah Osei