2019, pre-election year is here. When the elections of 2016 ushered in a new government on January 7 2017, 2019 seemed such a long way off in the future.
But it is here and just like 2018, which has flown past into history, surely, as time waits for no man, 2020 would soon be upon us! And Ghana, our beloved country, free forever since March 6 1957 plods on towards age 63 in 2020 when two competing symbols would once again lock horns to determine who on January 7 2021 would be calling the shots.
Shots that would continue keeping us apart or finally bring us together to achieve great things.
We did not start 2019 on a promising note. Some carried-over items like the “Constitution Day” holiday, which we observed (or imposed on us) on the 7th of January was not universally accepted and some critics derisively said it should appropriately have been called “Plagiarism Day” holiday, for it was inauguration day on January 7 2017, when the inaugural speech turned Ghana into the laughing stock of the world with parts of the speech taken off verbatim from past US Presidents, without due acknowledgement.
Constitution Day or Plagiarism Day, the other proposed national days and those to be dropped, together with the Christocentric National Cathedral set the tone for a divided country in 2019 and perhaps for many years ahead.
The game was given away when a “Man of God” by name Owusu Bempah gave the real reason for the idea of a National Cathedral: To give the ageing incumbent long life while at the same time speeding up the demise of others, according to him from a “prophecy” available to him!
But this National Cathedral would never be a rallying focus for the generality of Ghanaians as presently conceptualized, unless…
Since they love the Constitution so much and to show their love, they have declared a national day of commemoration, they can re-hash the cathedral concept into a National Constitution Centre concept devoted to the upliftment of the constitution, democracy and human rights.
Within the edifice they can include space devoted for worship: Christian, Islamic, Traditional and Others. Then we will be talking of a truly national focal point. Critics of the cost and priority would grouse for a while but would eventually concede the unifying value and join in.
And a fundraising event would then go beyond just party supporters and adherents of the Christian faith but other patriotic Ghanaians from diverse political, ethnic and religious backgrounds…As it is now, it will end up as a nugatory divisive eyesore, no matter its architectural splendour…But even more dangerous, it is pointing in the direction of state capture by religious cronies and institutions. More on that in a future commentary.
And the national holidays. There is a lifeline there too: They can have their August 4 Founders Day but leave our AU Day and Republic Day holidays intact.
August 4 would eventually go the way of the NLC, NRC, June 4 and December 31 holidays – all part of our history but not quite in the ranks of AU Day or Republic Day. UGCC deserves a footnote for allowing itself to be shown the red card by the man who would eventually declare on March 6 1957 that “At long last, the battle is over and Ghana, your beloved country is free forever” The man was (is) Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. A footnote for the UGCC but not a national day!
In two years, the NPP has not done a good job of uniting the country around any one thing that we can all buy into. Why have they refused to perform a formal opening of Terminal Three at the Kotoka International Airport? Arguably as one of the most glittering showpieces of African development in recent times it is a monument deserving of national honours or does the name John Mahama have something to do with the churlishness? Pettiness? Vindictiveness? At least the late President Mills gave President Kufuor a place of honour during the formal inauguration of the N1 and Bui Dam…
The NDC ended 2018 in a show of confidence with the Accra Trade Fair site congress. That confidence is still radiating around the Party in these early days of 2019.
The radiation, by all indications is emanating from one individual: John Dramani Mahama. Any doubts about that were dispelled on the day of the congress. This was the day on which the Party, with one voice – well, most voices – acclaimed the centrality of JDM in NDC affairs.
It was the day honorary party founder, J.J. Rawlings was stunned by the overwhelming rejection of his attitude towards the NDC and JDM.
The tsunami of the massed voices reduced J.J. into incoherence as he beat an early retreat from the congress without even bothering to return to vote…It is an open secret that J.J. has turned his back on the NDC for the NPP and would prefer someone other than JDM to lead the NDC into Election 2020…His wife was captured on video calling on Ghanaians not to vote for the NDC in Election 2016!
Her hibernating party, the NDP was established to challenge the NDC not NPP and most likely will stir awake in 2020 to offer what help it can to the NPP!
This I know may not please some people, but the NDC would have to come to terms with the reality of life free of the apron strings of Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings…A Party that is not owned by an individual but independent, with ownership for the people, by the people and of the people. In other words, a true democratic party…
The line-up of five other aspirants in the NDC primaries has one sole purpose: to upstage or upset JDM, which really, with the evidence available, is hubristic! They cannot do it.
JDM occupies an unassailable position. Even in the event of a worse worst-case scenario, he will not fail to garner the 50%+1 votes to win the primary on first ballot.
And in the face of the law, that is what he actually needs! Anything in addition to that is purely “gyara” or as some tongues would put it, “jala”! His handlers are demanding anything from 70 to 90 percent, which may sound impressive but not really necessary.
Those running against him have the opportunity, even at this late hour, to rally behind him to work towards 2020. They will eventually get round to that, anyway, after the polls on January 26 2019 when in their concession speeches they pledge loyalty, unity and cooperation, massive doses of which the NDC will need to confront a determined NPP which has no intention of giving up power.
All the attempts at rewriting Ghana’s history is because they want to black out all else in our history and crudely or subliminally force the so called Danquah-Busia tradition on us once and for all.
The NDC’s manifest destiny is to halt that and ensure that March 6 (Independence) would continue to be linked to July 1 (Republic) to May 25 (Africa).
But it first has to put the house properly in order on January 26…
By: Oli A. Rahman (Tesano, Accra)