It has taken me weeks to understand what is expected of me in the polling booth on December 17.
Now that I understand it, my mind is made up.
I will vote ‘No’.
A ‘No’ vote will prevent political parties from hijacking elections at the district level.
By a ‘No’ vote, I am refusing to allow the madness of divisive political partisanship to destroy what otherwise is potentially a beautiful governance system at the local level.
A ‘No’ vote means that I prefer candidates to offer and sponsor themselves.
Not being a party choice, they will be pro-district, not pro-party.
To allow political parties to sponsor candidates is to entrench at the local level what we have, for 27 years, been holding our noses against at the national level.
At the national level, that is, in Parliament, the only time MPs agree on anything is when they have to vote to buy themselves cars, increase their salaries and pay tribute to a late colleague. Not so in all other decisions, when the only consideration is what the party whips say.
A ‘Yes’ vote will entrench impunity at the local level. Thieves shall no longer be called by that name.
Even policemen fear to touch a known party man.
Many people who listened to the former Electoral Commissioner, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, recently on a private radio station actually “mis-heard” him.
What he said did not amount to endorsing a ‘yes’ vote, necessarily.
Please, listen again to him. As a member of the consultative assembly which drafted that particular constitution, he says:
“The idea was that people would consider district level election as community activity. You would want to offer your service to your community so you would offer yourself and be elected by the community.
But the system was hijacked by the political parties.
The problem is that by law they are not supposed to be involved but we all know that they are already involved.”
On the radio show, what he was, in effect, doing was throwing his hands up in despair, like a father who has given up on an incorrigible child.
Partisan politics is the evil that this nation has tolerated because the few people who are benefiting are refusing and will refuse to change course.
It dates back from the “Domo”/”Matemeho”/ days of the 1950s when party thugs shook bottles of soda water and exploded them on their political enemies, or the “Tokyo Joe” boys who easily, without compunction, knifed their political opponents in the streets of Accra, to the present ‘Azorka Boys’/Delta Force’ era, when even members of the same party murder each other for backing opposing candidates for a party post.
The impunity licence was given a final blessing in the most recent example when the government, for months, was reluctant to release the probe report on the Ayawaso West Wuogon election violence. I am all for electing Metropolitan Municipal District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), but I prefer that they campaign on their own merit.
Our politics is too divisive. We are insanely too narrowly divided politically at the national level to allow this madness to percolate to the bottom.
I dread a tomorrow when a DCE sponsored by the NPP will stand in the way of an NDC President of the Republic – or vice versa – for obvious reasons.
Have we forgotten instances in this very Fourth Republic when DCEs eyeing a Parliamentary seat made it difficult for the incumbent MPs to access their share of the District Assembly Common Fund to contribute a thing or two towards the area’s development? Do we want to elect MMDCEs to replicate “winner takes all” at the local level? And by the way, what is the guarantee that a candidate proposed by a party is competent?
He/She may be a mere money bag, not a thinker. My proposal: let him or her present his credentials to the people at town hall meetings or rallies.
Dear reader, have you read the survey results showing the huge percentages of people who are not aware of the choices on December 17? Our PhDs and the proliferation of Masters degree have not helped us to think, plan and initiate African solutions to predominantly non-literate African populations.
Most of our academics will do well working in the United States, the UK, France etc. Our graduates have not been trained to lead Africans. The hollowness of a Ghanaian degree is getting out of hand in an era when notices are all over the place advertising the availability of ‘Thesis Writers”!
After being sexed for grades, you can now also pay for your thesis.