Thursday, December 6, 2012

Eve of Elections-Our Vote, Our Voice (East Legon)

After all the festivities during the national rallies, hosted by the National Democratic Congress & New Patriotic Party yesterday, today seemingly started with much less fanfare on the streets of Accra. Shortly after mid-day the pouring rain, as if in attempt to wash away the posters and banners, left-over vuvuzela's and print-outs in town, cleansed the capital of all political campaigning paraphenelia on the final day before elections.

Sentiments about the elections have been heated, debates and national officials of either party are both guilty of raising the rhetoric to alarming levels of accusations and counter-accusations.
 "We are the peaceful party, watch out, the others are the more violent."
"We do not control the military or the police force, they do, but like the youth in Tunisia, we have the mandate of the people and the mandate of the people is the mandate of God."

If you spent time in either party's camp, ambushed by red blue and white (NPP), loud vuvuzela buzzes you would come out reciting the free high school education platform and accolades of Nana Akufo Addo; if you were overwhelmed by the white and green, mouth contorting slogan of "edey be kɛkɛ" you would be an advocate for the "better Ghana" incumbent initiative. Amidst the rhetoric what was more impressive was symbol of unity friends of both parties showed when as they walked side by side, hand in hand late night after the political rallies. Taxi drivers were cautious to share their political inclinations, most from either party hinted that the race may be too close to declare early victory for either party and progressive, foreign educated Ghanaian's lamented about the absence of a strong political campaign machine to support other choices besides John Mahama's NDC and Nana Addo's NPP; the likes PPPs Nduom and CPP's Sakara.

Napthaline Djokoto at East Legon, Accra photo credit: emmanuel a. gamor

The "Our Vote, Our Voice" campaign by Ghana Decides seeks to engage young people in the electoral process, by providing pledge cards and an online link to vote, the Ghana Decides team seeks to remind young voters the importance of their contribution during the 2012 elections. Most young people were registered to vote, when pressed on whether they would vote on Friday, however, some gave excuses that where they were registered was inconveniently far from where they currently work or reside in Accra and weren't as pressed to show up at the polling station come December 7th.

A good section of the people also expressed a sense of being fed-up with the political rhetoric the incessant name-calling, the intimidation of potential violence due to the accusations of the dominant parties of what the other might do. Yes the democratic process is important to most people, and you can engage in a lively debate by mentioning colors, slogans, political parties names or prominent politicians. You will very likely find an ardent fan or vocal opposition almost anywhere on the streets of Accra.
More importantly though, Ghanaians enjoy good music, we enjoy concerts both religious and non-religous and more importantly, Ghanaians have embraced peace.

May the best man win.

Emmanuel A. Gamor for Ghana Decides