It is Thursday, December 8, 2016. It is a morning of bleary eyes, after another wake trying to understand great switches of fortunes which show winners and losers of Election 2016. It has been tense, exciting and obviously disappointing, but the verdict points to Ghana as the great winner of Election 2016.
That the New Patriotic Party (NPP), led by Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has unseated the ruling National Democratic (NDC), led by His Excellency John Mahama, is an epoch event. To indulge in a little literary licence, I would liken the NDC Government to a mighty baobab assaulted furiously with the axe and fire.
The fire stands for economic misfortunes and the axe for cyclic eight-year yearning by the electorate for a new government. Combined, it is these factors and others that have seen Goodluck Jonathan and Yahya Jammeh swept from power. They have now visited Mahama. Our baobab tree is bound to fall to give the soil a new start.
Having said so much in this column in the lead-up to this election, I will consistently avoid the use of the term “change” for what happened last Wednesday. Yes, a new Government with the change mantra will take over the reins of power. The incumbent functionaries will be sent off to join the large and ever-growing hordes of “unbees”, but the change, if there is ever going to be one, is what Ghanaians will feel when they stand in judgement with their inked thumbs again in 2020. What am I saying?
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I have alluded to economic forces as one of the causes of the fall of John Mahama’s government. It is all related to the structure of the economy. So what will Nana and his government do about the patterns of production, supply and the foreign taste for consumption in this country? This will require re-direction of priorities and painful sacrifices may be mandatory.
For our agriculture, so much has been said about the effect of climate change, one of the greatest global changes this century has witnessed. Its impacts on the seasons, water bodies, vegetation and farming are well documented. What policy changes will Nana’s government initiate to mitigate the adverse impacts? And will this government have the courage to initiate agrarian reforms for land ownership?
Education has been left in a state of confusion. Of course, a lot has been done about access but quality and motivation have been poor. In a period of his tenure, what changes are we expected to see? The same may be asked of health care.
The much-reviled winner-takes-all practice that is rooted in our 1992 Constitution is a big challenge for Nana’s change mantra. Is the new government equal to the task of initiating a constitutional review to redress this grab-all policy? It is immoral to leave nearly half of the populace who did not vote for you out of the sharing of the national cake.
These challenges may have been addressed in the NPP’s manifesto but, as we all know, party manifestoes are never implemented with any seriousness. However, for once, the new NPP Government should tackle these promises with verve.
It is a good thing that the NPP has won a sweeping victory with a majority of not less than 65 seats in Parliament. This will enable them push reforms without fear of them being shot down by the legislature. It is a great victory. It is an adrenalin shot. Go, Nana and attempt audacious changes. Great numbers, they say, are an explanation for great changes. But changes do not come on their own.
To the outgoing NDC Government, My blog says “kpoo.” A defeat of the magnitude that you have suffered can be chastening. Take it on the chin and co-operate with the new government. Then bide your time as NPP has taken its time for the past eight years.