Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pre-election Sentiments at the Accra Mall

Three days to election day and everyone is gearing up for one of the most hotly contested elections in Ghana's history. Since 1992, there has perhaps not been as much media fervor and anticipation for a presidential election as this. The reported 32 radio stations based in Accra alone, and dozens of television station allow more avenues for discourse for everyone to be engaged in the political debate. The nationally televised and online broadcast presidential and vice-presidential debates notwithstanding, there are still a number of  young people I met at the Accra mall who were not intending to vote come Friday, December 7th 2012.


Some of the young people I spoke with were skeptical about voting. A gentleman who is an employee at one of the businesses at the mall, and wants to remain anonymous, lamented that he could not return to his place of registration in the Volta region and come back in time for work. I pressed him further and asked if his employees gave the impression that his job would be threatened because of his absence and he admitted to the contrary, he did not think it was worth the hassle and would consider voting if it was more convenient for him to do so.

photo credit: emmanuel a. gamor

Jeffrey Tetteh Obese, the Operations Manager at Barcelos fast food eatery at the mall, was pleased to pledge to vote. He shared that the management at the mall sent letters to all shop renters and employers that the mall will not be opened before noon on Friday to allow employees and workers to exercise their right to vote. Whether the notice about the mall's late opening was trickled down to all employees is another matter.

Jeffery Tetteh Obese at the Accra Mall photo credit: emmanuel a. gamor

A young lady with whom I spoke with at the MTN service center, hinted that though she lives in Accra and her registration/voting station is at Legon, she was not sure she would vote on Friday. She admitted she was a bit intimidated by the rhetoric between the NDC & NPP with a seemingly close election race may lead to violence. When pressed on what would make her more politically engaged and vote on Friday, she joked that a private chauffeur to the voting station without the wait in line would be best.

photo credit: emmanuel a. gamor
photo credit: emmanuel a. gamor

After the Arab Spring uprisings we are yet to see if the large demographic of young people in sub-Saharan Africa will affect or influence the presidential elections. The two dominant political parties have made a showing of employing young people amongst their ranks, and the NPP's main campaign promise revolves around serving young people with free Senior Secondary School education. Ghana Decides' Our Vote Our Voice campaign seeks to engage all young people, regardless of their political affiliations to go out and vote. Voting is a democratic right that should not be taken lightly as the opportunity usually comes once every four years with considerable implications to our collective well-being in the very near future.

Emmanuel A. Gamor for Ghana Decides