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OPINION: Is There A Justification In Relating The Outcome Of The American Election To Ghana's?

It is a known fact that many leaders and supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have over the last few years supported Donald Trump in his bid to get elected into office as the President of the United States.

The support for Donald Trump is borne out of the belief that there is a certain correlation between the outcomes of elections in the United States and elections here in Ghana. It is for this reason that in the lead up to the 2020 elections, many more supporters of the NPP mostly on social media still threw their support behind Donald Trump.

They believed that a renewal of his mandate will give a psychological boost to the NPP in their bid to get President Akufo-Addo's mandate renewed.

However, following the defeat of Donald Trump by Democratic Party Candidate Joe Biden, many of these NPP supporters have sort to claim that the elections in the United States has no bearing on the Ghanaian elections whatsoever and even going on to attack the reasoning and judgment of members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who make comments suggesting the victory of Biden is a sign of good omen for their candidate, John Mahama in the upcoming elections on December 7.

I find this sudden change in positions very hypocritical. If for nothing at all, in 2016 when Trump was declared the winner of the U.S. elections, the then National Communication Officer of the NPP, Nana Akomeah claimed that, Donald Trump has paved the way for the NPP to come to power. In a report published on Ghanaweb, he is quoted to have said that, “the winner of the Republican Party and its candidate in the American elections hold important lessons for Ghana,” adding that, “the first major lesson is that the American people have voted for change.

This shows us that no incumbent government is entitled to automatic retention in power. That retention in the office is dependent on how best a government has fulfilled the expectations of the people."

Again in November 2016, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Benard Antwi Bosiako popularly known as Chairman Wontumi just as Nana Akomeah did, drew similarities between the Republican party and the NPP and further narrowed it down to similarities between Donald Trump and the then-candidate, Akufo-Addo.

“From day one, I knew Donald Trump will win, because he was speaking the voice of Americans; they need jobs; most American companies have moved out of the country because of the unfavorable economic conditions. These are similar to what Nana Akufo-Addo has been saying here, such as the ‘One District, One Factory’, the Constituency Fund, and the promise to reduce taxes amongst others.”

“We [also] have an elephant as our symbol, and the Republicans to have an elephant as their symbol,” the NPP Regional Chairman said in an interview with the Chronicle newspaper.

Similarly, on November 9, 2016, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko who is a leading member of the NPP and nephew to the current President in a tweet said "America has voted for change. Ghana next."

Therefore, on what basis will the NPP today pretend that they have not in the past done what some members of the NDC are doing today?

Indeed since we adopted democracy as our system of government in Ghana in 1992, there has been some correlation between the ruling parties in the United States (U.S.) and in Ghana. In 1992 when Bill Clinton, a Democrat was President of the United States, J.J. Rawlings was also President of Ghana on the ticket of the NDC. Both of them left office in 2000 at the end of their constitutionally guaranteed tenures.

Republican, George Bush took over as U.S. President while John Agyekum Kufour became Ghana's President on the ticket of the NPP.

Then in 2008 when both Bush and Kufour left office, Democrat Barack Obama and NDC's John Evans Atta Mills took over as U.S. and Ghana's Presidents respectively. Interestingly, President Barack Obama had Joe Biden (now Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Party) serving as his Vice President while for Prof. Mills, John Mahama (now Presidential Candidate of the NDC) was his Vice President.

These occurrences in my view are nothing but coincidental and may not mean anything in the grand scheme of things as far us the 2020 elections in Ghana are concerned. But I will also not fault those who are superstitious enough to believe that the two countries have their destinies tied together for which reason the election of a Democrat as President in the U.S. could somehow influence the victory of the NDC in Ghana.

While both Vice Presidents Barack Obama and Atta Mills are today contesting as Presidential Candidates in their respective countries this year, they have both put forward women as the Vice Presidential Candidates.

This is very significant in appealing to female voters. It is therefore not surprising that some experts have attributed the victory of Joe Biden to the selection of Kamala Harris as his Running Mate. Biden's announced victory means that the U.S. for the first time in history has a woman as their Vice President. Ghana just as the U.S. stands the chance of making history by making John Mahama's Running Mate, Prof. Jane Naana Oppoku-Agyeman the first female Vice President in Ghana.

Anyone woman who watched Kamala Harris speak their victory rally yesterday will be proud to have a woman up there and if you are in Ghana, definitely you won't let this history-making opportunity pass you by. So, to some extent those who feel what happened in the USA can go a long way to shape what happens here, are within their right to do so.

If Trump had been declared winner, I am very certain that those who are not happy today, will have made political capital out of this. If for nothing at all, we saw how meanings were read into the reelection of Mahamadu Buhari of Nigeria.

It is also important to point out that some of the similarities between the Akufo-Addo administration and the Trump administration. First of all, both have been very hard and harsh in their treatment of the media and opposing views.

While Donald Trump uses every opportunity to chastise the media publicly, President Akufo-Addo who always trumpets his human rights credentials has in the past four years of his administration clampdown on dissent, closed down opposition media houses, and watched on as his appointees and leading members of his party launch scathing attacks on media men and women.

One of such unfortunate clampdowns on media men led to the death of Ahmed Suale and the ostracizing of Manasseh Azure Awuni.

Again both the Trump and Akufo-Addo administration are well known for their unenviable record of abuse of office and sidestepping democratic principles. Both men politicized virtually every state institution there is in a manner that has never been witnessed before.

Some examples here in Ghana include the appointments of family relations into key government positions which puts them in conflict of interest positions, the politicization of the judiciary by appointing judges with obvious partisan biases, and the use of the state security apparatus to harras opposition elements and to block public scrutiny of government dealings.

The Ghanaian President has shielded wrongdoers in his party from criminal prosecution and failed to take action on scandals involving key appointees.

Another act of abuse of office here in Ghana is the orchestrated ousting of electoral commissioners based on frivolous charges of procurement breaches and the subsequent appointment of people who will do the bidding of the President and his party.

Donald Trump failed to show leadership during the Black Lives Matter protest when people of color protested against racial discrimination and segregation. Here in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo equally failed to act when many minority tribes were made to feel alien and sidelined during the voter and Ghana Card registration exercise. In some regions, there was military deployment to physically stop people from registering.

Again one key similarity between the Trump administration and the Akufo-Addo administration is the spread of fake news, lies, and misleading information to unsuspecting members of the public.

While in the U.S. Donald Trump spearheads the churning out of lies, in Ghana the Vice President is the one often assigned to churn out lies with the able backing of the President. For instance, it still a campaign message of the NPP that Nana Addo ended dumsor when several fact-checking news outlets have come put to state that dumsor was ended by the Mahama administration.

Again the NPP government prides itself on constructing five major interchanges in their first term in office but the fact is that three of these five interchanges were started by the previous government.

A major campaign message of Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP is that John Mahama if voted into office will cancel the Free SHS policy. No amount of correction of this erroneous impression has been heeded to by the NPP. Recently the President's official Facebook page was flagged for churning out fake news.

That aside, the President has used images of various infrastructure projects which cannot be found in Ghana in advertising his achievements ostensibly to deceive the public. So indeed there is enough evidence to connect the maladministration of the Trump government to that of the Akufo-Addo government for which reason some Ghanaians will like to vote him out just as Trump was booted out.

And so if anyone is pretending that politics in the U.S. has no correlation with what goes on here, they should bow their heads in shame. But the mere fact that we can draw similarities between the politics of the U.S. and Ghana does not necessarily mean that the outcome of the upcoming Ghanaian election will be the same as that of the U.S.

But those who will take inspiration from the outcome of the U.S. elections can also find some more motivation from President Akufo-Addo himself who is on record to have said that "no government has an automatic right to be elected twice." He told Ghanaians in 2016 that "We should not give [any] government the sense of the right to be elected twice unless they perform and unless they deliver on the promises they made while seeking out votes." The highest rating of the Akufo-Addo government in the delivery of manifesto promise, which many Ghanaians find charitable was a little over 50% by Imani Africa, a policy think tank.

Anything around 50% is average and so if the words of President Akufo-Addo is anything to go by, an average does not deserve a second term.

Credit: K.M. ABDUL-HAMID, Kmahamid7@gmail Disclaimer: 

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