Political chaos is connected with the decay of language…one can probably begin to start some improvement by beginning at the verbal end – George Orwell

Barely six months into Election 2020, the leaders of the National Democratic Congress, the party that saw into 2020 through their oracles that 2020 is a victory year in the calendar of Ghana’s destiny, is interestingly the very party that appears to be clowning with the 2020 campaign.

Without a running mate and a serious communications strategy, the party’s focus has been on negative rather than positive issues. And, they remind me of Accra Great Olympics of yesteryear. I’ve forgotten which coach was handling the team in the dispensation that am referring to.

If you miss the ball

But, I recall that those were the days when players were taught that if you missed the ball, never make the mistake of missing the man. If you understood that, it simply means hacking the striker so that he does not put the ball into the net.

I think these were the days slightly after the Jones Attuquayefio and Boye Otinkorang dispensation.

Well, that soccer philosophy from barbarian times failed Great Olympics and they began deteriorating till they lost glory and visibility on the national league just like Swedru All Blacks and Cape Coast Vipers.

I should be surprised if Ato Ahwoi, Totobi Quakyi, and the Fante Confederacy Boys didn’t know that the decision to drag the Finance Minister to court over a constitutional duty, for instance, was a waste of time and that the matters they should be trying to push in court are the GhanaCard for it to be brought to the doorstep of the people because of its importance in supporting the contrivance of credible, abiding electoral management structures. But they did – and lost miserably; and the NPP is partying over propaganda.

Next; is the NDC running away from its shadows, in confronting the Electoral Commission proactively? Are they afraid that there are issues with the register, which if resolved would minimize their chances in winning future elections? Then, again, where are they in picking their running mate at a time the ruling New Patriotic Party have a field day bombarding the terrain with double AAs (achievements and accomplishments)?

Free SHS

Already, the party is stuck in the mud over several issues, the most emphatic of which is the Free SHS Pogramme that has pockets of families up north defecting away from the glare of the media in those uncharted parts of the country.

Private business takes me most of the time to the north. And most of the time on my way back with the Monday morning flight, I encounter incognito my smiling friend Mahama Ayariga pumping hands and waving to northern constituents, including MPs on the other side who are also returning.

He doesn’t look the guy who chased Hawa Yakubu from town with Russian Kalashnikovs – while the NPP, in power, looked on and gave it to God.

But my story here is not about impunity during elections but how the electorate is responding to the Free SHS Programme. And for those of us who the country like a book, I tell you on my honour as a traditionalist and believer in our Volta Oracle that the free education initiative is eating up any credibility left of the NDC in the northern regions.

While people may not be vocal and overt about their sentiments on the matter because of the caustic nature of the politics in those parts, I can tell you that it is a game-changer by dozens of nautical miles.

As I learnt as a researcher, the average family is hoping that the NPP stays in power just to sustain the Free SHS Programme.

“All we need to do is get your kid to struggle through the public school system and pick an automatic slot to Free SHS. At that point, they may be ready to do some work, while privately improving themselves economically to attempt university education,” one UDS lecturer told me.

One media friend who hails from the Old Fadama neighbourhood has confirmed that, saying “all you need to do is find a security company and ‘job there,’ while send your meager salary home to be invested in agriculture for you. Or you save some cash and begin with an HND programme at your convenience. And, you are there…”

Particularly, in Bawku Central, my lecturer friend told me about an NDC apparatchik who told him they would need to keep the NPP in power so that their children’s education and future can be secured.

Shadowy SADA

At Zebilla, too, a group of onion farmers told me they had absolute confidence in SADA as a magic wand that would lift them up, only to be confronted with the stark skullduggery sold them by the Mahama administration.

Reacting to the credibility of the Free SHS Programme, they said as far as the Free SHS is concerned, they can see and feel it, beyond all the propaganda by politicians on either side.

“If Bawumia says it can be done and would be sustained, we want to trust him more than John Mahama,” they concluded.

Of course, they had issues with fertilizers, markets and the market queens. However, as far as the Free SHS is concerned, any anti-government propaganda from the NDC may bounce, if that weapon is tried up north in all the northern regions.

Then, in the Volta Region where we did some work on a proposed pension scheme for market unions, the response was like that which would come from an envious rival over the quality of akple and okro soup prepared for the husband by the more skilled spouse.

“You people say you can do it; well, who doesn’t like good things…just go ahead and do it, but do it well”, a vegetable queen intoned.

And, am told the sentiment is the same in Bukom, where the response is that the Free SHS money is everybody’s; not Ofori-Atta’s, not Nana’s and not Bawumia’s…but, it’s good.”

Where are the cadres?

Before Atta Mills won the 2008 elections, the NDC had a strategy in managing to put faces to names of people in each register in each constituency. It was as if they knew where everybody lived and so, on elections day, they moved into homes, led by apparatchiks, including fishermen or settler farmers, uprooting residents from compounds to go vote for the party.

After the Ato Ahwoi conspiracy and propaganda which said it was time for another tribe to be president, the political permutations changed because that was no longer sustainable, with the Bawumia issues philosophy.

Mahama, lost for strategy thought the way to go was manipulate the EC and its structures into fudging figures and putting national security on alert if a fly shook itself and dared a sledge hammer.

When the nation’s Law Lords and Lady intervened, the loopholes were plugged and the party forced to attempt propaganda. Now, with people like Abronye finding similar space and wounding Mahama, we ask what became of the fishers of men strategy and the hard-working June 4 boys, PDCs, December 31st Women cadres?

The answer is simple. The NDC have not learnt to build parties; after Jerry Rawlings, they have always sought to use a mix of vigilantism, vicious propaganda, skullduggery and intimidation.

When each hole got plugged, they got jittery and messed up. Why not, if they have no Manifesto, credible constitution, running mate and gamut of best practices in running an organization called a political party.

Rest in peace, Vincent Assiseh!