Last month I voted in the UK general election. Although the party didn’t win, it was so nice to vote within 5 minutes. No biometric whatever, no fingerprint, no retinal sensor, you walk in, they tick your name off and then you vote, put your card in the box and away you go. When the new Prime Minister was announced, there were no cries of foul play, no court contest, the party leaders even stepped down and the opposing parties are in the process of selecting a new leader while doing their root cause analysis for why they lost in the hopes that they will learn from their mistakes. A far cry from the half a day I spent in the scorching sun the last time I voted.
Fast forward to this month and I received a phone call last week to say that an uncle had won the NPP ticket for his constituency. The way this relative was talking you would have thought this uncle had won but no, it just means that he will stand in the next election. What does that mean for me, absolutely nothing, but I congratulated him all the same and genuinely wish him all the best. I did google him though, my uncle, well sometimes he does come off a bit arrogant, and I hope he turns public opinion around because well those are the votes that matter at the end of the day. Getting the party delegates vote, it just means that you or the person endorsing you is very popular with the party, getting the public vote, means that they you have talked the talk so now walk the walk.
While reading one story, I came across another new party delegate, it took me by surprise. Not shocked that he went to stand, but in a “I know this person” kind of surprise. The person is George Andah. Now for those of you who don’t know him, he is Ghana’s version of Donald Trump in the business man/celebrity. Back in the day, when I was a young pup he was one of my bosses. I never had an issue with him, but he has the ability to make a grown man cry. I remember once I had to get a contract signed and one of the directors would not sign it for whatever reason, so I asked one of the marketing guys, correction, I asked nearly all of the marketing guys to ask him to speak to this director as he had more clout than I did. Not one person would do it, so I had to do it myself. I did and he said fine. Why, because this a guy who deals with facts, and likes you to get straight to the point, unfortunately the average Ghanaian must tell a long arse story and go around the houses, it irritates him and he makes it known that you are an irritant when such a situation happens. Which is why I laughed when I read the stories that came up, the first one is that he is an NDC sympathiser and a good friend to President Mahama, he was expecting a ministerial position and when he didn’t get it, he turned his coat. The second one is that the group #OccupyGhana of which he is a founding member was an NPP “puppet” and the NPP candidacy was his reward for ruffling up the NDC feathers. Is this claim true or false, only the good lord upstairs can tell you, however, the only advice I can give to the Ghanaian journalists is “don’t bullshit a bullshitter”.
Andah, is a brand manager and a business man, and you know with marketing people, their personal brand cuts above all else. He knows what to say and to dig him out of any hole, so whatever means you have to discredit such a person, make sure it is backed up with cold hard facts because he can spin you around until you get dizzy. Which is why I am not going to comment on the first allegation, it is for God to judge and not me a mere mortal. I will however comment on the second point, because well whatever the reason here are the facts of which of which these so called “responsible” journalists seem to overlook when they regurgitate the same tired old pieces.
#OccupyGhana was founded by some middle class professionals who got together in protest to the poor management of the country. Some of you will say that the present government are doing the best they can, if that is how you feel; I am not here to change your mind. I just want to present to you the facts as I (and those who protested) see it.
• The dumsor has been going on for far too long and it is getting worse, in from what I hear it is more dum than sor, does this only affect NPP sympathisers or the whole country?
• There was a petrol station explosion which killed almost 200 people, there have been lots of reports as to why this happened but I am sure that it didn’t help with the lights going off every two seconds
• The streets are not littered with gold but with pure water sachets and filth
• In 2008 the dollar was 1:1 with the cedi, it is now 4.20:1, really?
• Everything that is sold is imported and hardly any commodities are exported (can anybody see what is wrong with this picture and fix it?)
• I’m not going to start on the roads and the open gutters
• Education was supposed to be a “right” as quoted by our dear president but still there is a high illiteracy rate
• Committees have been set up to look into the problems that are affecting Ghana, now one would assume that these committees are set up to find solutions to a problem. Where are the solutions?
• It’s been almost 8 years, and what have we seen nada, and this is not coming from a disgruntled opposition sympathiser, this is the consensus of the people.
Now if these things were happening in western countries, too right people would be out in protest as it is their democratic right to do so. They would also be A-political about it because it is an issue affecting the country so come again with a point, and too right even die hard supporters of one party would defect to another. That is the whole point of democracy; you have the right to choose at will. So again, what is your point.
In the piece I read , it went on to say that #OccupyGhana was used as a springboard for Mr A’s political career. Do I think this is true, well as I said Mr A is a business man, in whatever venture he does he expects a return on investment. He is also a marketing guru (in their words) so he can brand himself well. Is he genuinely motivated by doing what is best for his constituents, well time will tell. Just like all politicians from whatever party they belong to, there are those who will, at the very least, do something and at the worst will be in it to reap the rewards at the expense of the people. All I can say is, this is a person who is a shrewd business man, at times ruthless and always has to have his own way, so if he uses his powers for good and not evil, he can do positive things. I am just glad that there are finally people under the age of 55 in that party. Grown arse men almost at retirement clinging for power just doesn’t do it for me, but that’s just me.
I can see in the run up to 2016, there will be a lot of focus on Ghana’s home grown celebrity. Those that are not smart will come up with their stories and cash in now, those who are a bit smarter will wait and see if they can get a boost up from their political ally. What I will say is, you better read up on responsible journalism before you print any articles because love him or hate him, he is always two steps ahead. He wouldn’t have signed that form without doing his SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) first.
So the US has Donald Trump vying for President and Ghana has George Andah standing for MP. Who will win in their respective positions, you decide. I just pray that they sort out that voting system because I am not going to stand in that hot sun to vote for any party if there is a repeat of last time.
Nice piece Efia. Long overdue. It’s always a joy to read your pieces. Your objectivity is very apparent. Don’t keep us waiting for too long
And on a personal level, how are you settling in back in London. I have followed your pieces when I resided in Ghana for about 18 months (and trust me your pieces kept me there for that length ) I would have turned on my heels sooner.
Keep on writing
Hi Vida, I feel a bit of a foreigner now but it’s cool and interesting seeing London through fresh eyes…lol
Thank you for your lovely comment x
Please tell me you are not a typical Pavlovian, Labour-voting African! You would be forgiven for voting Green Party. As for voting security, the traditional vote has been corrupted by other immigrant mentalities (unaware of Mr Rahman in Tower Hamlets???), so expect biometric voting soon…
I can only speak for myself when I say I base my decision on which I feel their policies suit my environment best, or who is the lesser of two evils….I cannot base my decision on the action of one corrupt minister else I probably wouldn’t vote at all….if that is pavlovian as per your perception….what can I say…
Great post, thanks for sharing. I hope UK is treating you well. Any plans of returning to GH?
Hey lovely…just started a new job so settling in (will post on that soon), so looks like early next year for any trips to GH
Oh great, congratulations. Ok can’t wait to read it.
hey, it’s rita. hope all is well. I tried to contact you via whatsapp but I think your whatsapp has switched to your UK number so hit me up or send me an email.