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The Next President Will Have His Hands Full

With the general elections tantalizingly close, the nation’s two major parties, the NDC and the NPP each smell victory; they have pitched their tents, reinvigorated their campaigns and revved up the rhetoric.

And, of course, they are doing what politicians do best; peddling seductive half-truths to voters and trying to win them over with vain promises of making their lives a great deal better.

The elections, will no doubt be a watershed moment in the nation’s history coming as it is after the discovery of oil and the subsequent boost to the national coffers by the oil windfall.

Expectations are growing. Ghanaians ever the most optimistic people are hoping that whichever party emerges victorious in December will parlay the extra revenue into building infrastructures; roads, hospitals and schools.

Needless to say, the stakes are high for the nation’s two political behemoths, the NDC and the NPP. Electoral victory in December brings with it the trappings of power….privilege, prestige and immeasurable clout. A lost ensures the dreadful label of “opposition party” and invariably confines the vanquished to four years of soul searching and prolonged angst.

Both parties have alternated power in recent years and are thus no strangers to the intoxicating allure of power and the demoralizing downside of being outside the corridors of power and influence.

Playing second fiddle to its arch rival, the NDC, has made the NPP fiercely determined to reverse its electoral fortunes in December. It has, to this end, mounted a disciplined campaign that has clearly avoided the many pitfalls which doomed its chances in 2008.

Mr. Akuffo Addo, the party’s nominee for president and his running mate, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and other party shoguns are traversing the country telling Ghanaians that they would be better custodians of the national economy than the NDC

On its part, the NDC convinced it has presided over a vibrant economy that continues to win glowing praise from International financial institutions, is keen on retaining power. The party’s campaign is sprinkled with clusters of promises to create more jobs, fix dilapidated infrastructures and rejuvenate a broken education system.

For voters however, the question remains; what will a new government do to ease the burden of high inflation, high food prices and high unemployment? There is no doubt that the economy is buoyant; in fact, it is one of the top-ten fastest growing economies in the world, but the uncomfortable truth is that millions of Ghanaians still lead a hardscrabble existence.

The Accra metropolitan area has gained notoriety, fairly or not, for becoming the “ground zero” for the nation’s hordes of unemployed youth. A visit, however, to other urban areas exposes the ugly underbelly of the problem; thousands of able-bodied young men and women idling about on the sunbaked streets with no job prospects in sight.

And, sadly each day, their ranks are swelled by yet thousands of other young people who throng the cities in search of elusive jobs.

Ghanaian voters may have different party affiliations, but they share the same needs which run the gamut from a good healthcare system to a strong and resilient economy capable of generating jobs.

The next President will have his hands full; expectations are high. Any diversion by the President from an agenda that will ultimately transform the lives of millions of Ghanaians still trapped in poverty will not only earn the wrath of voters at the next elections, but also cast the President and his party as “peddlers of false hope and crushers of dreams.”

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