The Morning After…
I went to polling stations,
got kicked out of one engaged with the voters, saw an MP get virtually thrown out of another and saw people go HAM when the vote counter guy purposely skipped a number when counting ballots. But nothing was more hilarious saddening interesting than watching all of my NPP comrades pull at straws trying to understand how and why they lost the election. I too was a bit shocked.Though my ‘focus groups’ showed great support for Mahama, I felt the free SHS message was consistent and pervasive enough to shake that— guess I was wrong.
It seems that at the end of the day… people. just. don’t. like. akufo-addo. Period!
The following is a summary of the responses I received that, in my opinion, eloquently summarize how JM finessed his way into the presidency…
- “We need to give JM a chance to see what he too can do”
Ghanaians have generally allowed presidents to have all 8 of their years in office (yes there are only two precedents, but you get my point, lol!). I spoke to many a taxi driver who said that because NDC only had four years, they deserved another term for true comparison with NPP. Others said JM was different from Atta- Mills and he as a person deserved time to show how his leadership would either differ or be better. Either way, Ghanaians were more privy to taking a gamble on JM’s leadership in spite of the shadiness of his party and the Woyome case AND the alleged media bribing OVER Akufo Addo. That says so much more about people’s general mistrust and lack of support for Akufo- Addo, then it does about anything that Mahama could have done on purpose in his campaigning.
- “Akufo Addo is tooooo know… he just wants power”
I had the most interesting conversation with one particular driver who said that he was voting JM because of the way he spoke. Holding back judgement, I asked him to explain what he meant by that. He explained that Akufo- Addo was very much a thirst bucket and he was super starved for power and would do/ say anything to get it. It wasn’t even about his uppity nature (which I thought was where he was going) but it was really about the power hunger that people could see. This greatly undermined his message of Free SHS because even if it was possible and even if people trusted NPP to come through on their promises with education like they did with healthcare, people just did not trust Akufo- Addo. #perceptionisreality
- “Hmmm… as for me dieeeehhhh, I am waiting for whoever will pay me more money…”
Someone legit said he would essentially give his vote to the highest bidder. I laughed and I said, that’s what’s up. I mean he was being honest. The man has got to eat. And maybe NDC was better at bribing the electorate. DISCLAIMER: I am NOT at all suggesting that they bribed a large enough electorate for that to be the tipping point of how they won. I just mean to suggest that there were people who were very much waiting to be bribed, and the NDC camp is infamous for the breadth and skill of their racketeering. So it could be logical to assume that NDC may have won because they are better at pandering to the needs of the people…even if it means bribery.
- “I will vote Nana Addo because he is Akan, and I am Akan. And when the Akan vote, their person wins.”This one was my favorite.
Because I spoke to an NDC taxi driver and pretended I was voting NPP because I was Asante. His response—verbatim—“Maame, we don’t have to vote that way any more-ooooo. Now we can vote based on the character of the person” <insert face of shock and pride>. As much as I want to believe he represented our move away from ethnic politics, I am not delusional. The NPP only got the educated (read: urban areas) and the Akan, pretty much while the NDC benefitted in part from Mahama being a Northerner. I think it definitely helped him and gave voice for the ethnic minorities of Ghana who feel like they voted for him as opposed to the NDC party itself. Much like many black intellectuals who voted Obama for many reasons, the biggest and most profound of which, was the fact that he was black. This tells me that ethnicity played a part in it, and that Akufo Addo couldn’t even carry the undecided voter in the face of an ethnic minority leader with only 4 months of presidential experience and a shaky party. Even funnier, was that NPP didn’t win a number of constituencies (whole entire constituencies!!!!) in the Ashanti Region. So ethnic lines seemed to help Mahama and only guaranteed Akufo- Addo his strong holds and very few, if any, swing regions. For shame.
The NPP should cheer up though. At the very least, if Akufo Addo should ever write a memoir, it should be called— Dear NPP, It’s Not You…Its Me: The Tell All Tale of a Fallen Legacy. In the end, I learned that though statistics place Ghanaians as largely un/undereducated, they are absolutely not stupid. When they saw Akufo Addo roll in, they all spiritedly said:
“Real recognize real, and you lookin’ mighty unfamiliar”
They have discernment in ways that many of the numbers do not capture… except for the 50.1% to 47% statistic… seems that one just about summed it up well for Ghanaians. And that one just dey be k3k3…