Friday, 14 October 2016
Need For Issues Based Voting
The season has begun and the atmosphere is filled with cacophony of promises. There is no doubt that Ghana is confronted with a lot of developmental challenges. There is growing unemployment, declining agricultural productivity, deteriorating infrastructure and many more. Recent surveys conducted by various institutions such as the National Commission for Civic Education [NCCE] revealed that Education, Health, Employment and infrastructure are key issues at the heart of many Ghanaians. With less than two months to the general election, it is imperative that those who seek political power subject themselves to probing questions from the masses to show that they understand their concerns and have what it takes to solve them. In times past, elections were driven by mundane factors such as tribe, religion, height, and skin complexion. Campaigns were also characterised by abuses, insults, mudslinging, fabrications, unsubstantiated allegations, accusations and counter accusations. Little attention was paid to the main issues, call it, the bread and butter matters.
It is significant however that there is a gradual shift from that attitude. The last election was largely driven by issues of education and the fight against corruption. This is a tradition we must continue. This year's election must be issues driven. The youth of this nation will no longer tolerate living in circumstances that give them no hope for the future. Whoever is elected must take concrete steps to assuage the plight of the youth or be prepared to face their wrath. There is rage in the eyes of teenagers in the three regions of the north who wallow in abject deprivation of basic essential needs of life. There is rage in the heart of children dwelling in communities like, Sodom and Gomorrah, Nima, Nungua, Ashaiman, Tsorkor, and many others. The feeling is not different with head porters popularly referred to as ‘Kayaye’ all over the big markets in this country. That same rage is sensed in the minds of Ghanaian workers whose salaries take them only to the next Bus Stop. As for their condition of work, the least said about it the better.
It is refreshing that after the long delay, the main opposition party, the NPP has launched its manifesto. Needless to add that, the ruling party, the NDC had also launched it’s about a month earlier. The aim of a manifesto is give indication that they understand the concerns of the citizens and have the solutions to them. True to that, the two main parties have attempted to proffer some solutions to the key issues they think many Ghanaians are concerned about. The NPP made a number of grandiose promises including reduction of corporate taxes, VAT, and import duties and at the same time embarking on a massive industrialisation drive, by building at least one factory in each district, one dam in each village and allocation one million dollars to each constituency. The NDC also promised to revamp old industries, invest in the citizens, expand social and economic infrastructure and many more.
What is key is that the two main parties are pretty aware that one of the greatest challenges confronting the nation is unemployment. There is general despondency among many citizens as a result of current economic challenges. As Gen. Romeo D. put it, and I quote "Human beings who have no right, no security, no future, no hope and no means to survive are desperate group who will do desperate things to take what they believe they need and deserve" unquote. That is the more reason why people who are seeking political power at this crucial time must give hope to the citizens. For lack of hope is the root cause of rage. Those struggling for political leadership should tell the nation in the ordinary man's term, how prepared they are to eradicate poverty, deprivation and hopelessness. This is not a matter of making phantom promises which can never be realised. What is most insulting is for a political party to take the intelligence of voters for granted. Even in our desperation for political power, let us remember that the Ghanaian voter is discerning, he or she knows what is a vote catching promise and what is realistic.
God bless Ghana.
BY SEWONYADZI ETSE REXFORD, FROM ASHAIMAN MIDDLE EAST.