KIDS ALARMED Over Unrealistic Campaign Promises
The commentaries, complete appreciation of trending topical issues and mockery of vague promises by school kids who featured on Joy FM’s special ‘Eid al-Adha’ edition of the Super Morning Show, raised many eyebrows on Monday.
It was a perfect reflection of what many political analysts hope for and wish will drive candidates and their political parties to wake up to the call for respect to the ordinary electorate.
In the past, many have concluded Presidential and Parliamentary candidates especially took voters for granted, made wild allegations, spread falsehood and got away with them. But the dynamics are changing fast, thanks to media pluralism and enlightenment through evidence or verifiable facts.
The show basically gave a platform to the pupils, whose ages ranged between 12 and 15, to speak their minds. Though very young, their message was clear that those who take the intelligence of the ordinary Ghanaian for granted are doomed because people are now awake.
Political party manifestos packaged with clearly mapped out implementation strategies, cost, source of funding is ideal, but they come late. This give room to some candidates who try to exploit the ignorance of the masses.
Clearly even Children are seeing through tricks to promise heaven just for votes and the response that met Kojo Yankson’s question explained it all as soon as he announced time to talk about promises.
I was stunned by how they virtually rubbished the ‘ONE THIS, ONE THAT’ mantra following the One Dam-One Village promise by NPP Flagbearer, Nana Akufo Addo
“One Fisherman-One Sea, One Factory – One Meter, One House-One Meter, One District-One Factory, One House – One Big Swimming Pool”……and so on as they chuckled.
One student lamented. “My problem is the kind of promises they are making. If people actually believe them, then it means we have a problem in this country, that we are all very gullible. Sometimes, they target deprived communities where the people are ignorant. They deliberately choose these areas and the people easily believe them”.
Another child panelists, 12-year old Kelly added , …“The One Dam Project, even for the regions in the North, it will cost 218 billion cedis. And considering the fact that a country that earns only 50 billion cedis annually, it would mean borrowing more. More so the northern belt is mostly dry, the driest in Ghana and it may not be feasible to depend on bore holes as some officials of the NPP have said. Its virtually impossible to find water sources in all the villages. So if you want to improve agriculture by putting one dam in every village, its not a good promise”.
Fordrina was blunt. “I think they say those things just to win votes. We are in an election year, every candidate wants to win, especially the NPP and the NDC. Maybe Nana Addo can build one dam to serve communities in two or three districts but not one to one as he was heard saying.
Strong views. Obviously influenced by their basic knowledge and public discourse, largely because the architects of the policy ideas failed to provide details.
Nana Akufo Addo’s ‘One District – One Factory, One Village – One Dam, One Constituency – One Million dollars with more yet to come promises were not accompanied with concrete implementation strategies. Conflicting explanations by communicators have even made matters worse for the NPP.
The NPP obviously hit by the elementary assessment by the student panelists tried to harass them by suggesting they have little experience on the subject matter. Some lamented the host of the programme could have done better by giving them some leads.
But that’s from kids who don’t have votes. The Ghanaian electorate has equally become sophisticated. The strategy of using the media and phone-in programmes to generalize problems facing electorates is failing. The masses who mob the President during his campaign tours and the enthusiasm on the ground suggest not all, indeed, majority do not share the NPP views.
Press conferences, loud radio commentaries spelling doom for the economy and a gloomy future for the country is not winning minds because there is evidence, ordinary people, intelligent as they are know their needs, see what is transforming their lives and appreciate efforts to improve their living conditions.
NPP has consistently said the economy has been mismanaged and Ghanaians are worse off. It’s unclear if the conditions under which the average Ghanaian lived eight years ago or more under the Kufuor regime was better. Access to healthcare, roads, schools, electricity and so on.
The battle for the Presidency in 2016 will be fought on different fronts, credibility, track record, personality traits and general appeal.
Attempts to lump challenges together isn’t working for the NPP hence the juicy promises. But Nana Akufo Addo’s cup is gradually filling up because when the NDC outdoors its manifesto, it will have no alternative than to showcase its development blueprint its holding to its chest for fear of being stolen,
And what is in it will kick the campaign to another gear.