Why Are Politicians Very Generous in an Election Year? (Ghana )-Part 1
I bring you Akpeteshie from Sogakope. Kola nut from Navrongo. Sobolo from Teshie-Nungua. Here is a smock from Tamale. Abongo from Kumasi Zongo.
I guess that year has come again, isn’t it? The year in which when you cultivate cassava it turns into plantain, is here again. And see how busy you are searching for more cassava sticks to cultivate before the raining seasons plunges us into the dry season. Been brooding on all you said at the rally last time when we met. You said a lot. You promised a lot. You yourself you remember. And my head has become very heavy, because I am cognizant that something good is going to happen. In few weeks we shall be voting. And like you told me, I should vote for you.
You see — my friends on social media have been texting me with questions pertaining to politics. I’ve tried to ignore them. The thousandth question that hit out in my inbox goose bumped me. They’ve realized I infrequently bit into this political pizza. And they’ve witnessed me yawn hence they’re trying to push a slice in.
They’re asking whether I support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. They are in the offing to know whether I am happy that Robert Mugabe is still president of Zimbabwe; whether I am happy about what Muhammadu Buhari is doing in Nigeria since he was sworn in; Jacob Zuma’s determination in South Africa, or whether President Barrack Obama has done America any good in his years in office. I don’t have to be a citizen of these countries in order to give an answer. I wish I have time to tell you my mind.
I think they are missing it. Yes, they are certainly missing it. There is nothing about politicians that surprise me. Their promises don’t. Their monies can’t. I am not aroused by any of their stratagems.
My friends would like to know whether this election year I’ll vote for His Excellency President John Mahama, the presidential candidate for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) — (who is currently the President of Ghana) or I will vote for His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Or whether I will vote for His Excellency Paa Kwesi Nduom, the presidential candidate for Progressive People’s Party (PPP). Or CPP’s His Excellency Ivor Greenstreet.
They think I was born twenty-one hours ago. They think I am not clever. They think I am oblivious.
“You see — you can never tell who your enemy is until you declare your political status.”-Richard Paa Kofi Botchwwey
The thing is, I am not petrified declaring my political status. I have done that on many platforms on many occasions. But the problem is that, they didn’t believe me. When I say I don’t belong to any political party — in the name of God, rightly believe me.
But Wait a Min!
If your political party comes to power and I cannot buy two balls of kenkey and some fried fish on constant basis to eat, and a bottle of beer to cool down my engine, that one I can’t shut my mouth. If your party wins the election and after few months I see more children hawking on the streets than are in school, that one you know I cannot be soft. If your party comes to power and children are still studying under trees, with no proper classrooms, proper uniforms, and textbooks — that one I can’t hail you. Your name will be on my lips for the wrong reasons. If your party wins the election and you’re made the Member of Parliament for Odododiodio constituency, and our roads are still rutted, I cannot laugh with you; I won’t only question your boss, I will hold you responsible. Because he told you to do it and you squandered the money. Don’t shake your head as if what I am saying is some manufactured lies. This civilian lies not.
Henceforth, if you are preaching to me to vote for you, you must be careful. Be careful, because if you make it there and you let me down I will not spare you. Me I’ve warned you. I said I’ve warned you.
You listen. I am not sending you there to rule me, but to serve me. It is not that I have hundred percent trust in you. I don’t trust you one bit. Yet, because it is my right as a citizen to vote and for the development of this country I will vote. For the sake of my unborn children, I am giving you a chance. Don’t blow it. The fact that I am voting for you doesn’t mean I am your slave or you are better than me. Without me who are you?
When you go out there and you are eating your appealing banquets, remember me and my children. When you are sending your children to schools abroad, remember that the classroom blocks in my children’s school are falling off and they need to be refurbished. The children have no school uniforms. For days now our gallons are desiccated. Our lips are breaking up and our intestines are flaking bit by bit as drinking water has come to be scarce in our community. But see eight polytanks in your house!
Because of mosquitoes, we cannot sit in the balcony to enjoy the sea breeze which nature wisps into our milieu. The gutters are choked and the light comes and goes, any day any time.
The buses you brought are all broken down. They have parked them at the bus stations. The bus inside has become a refuse junkyard. That is where we release our bodily waste. You cannot blame us. The public toilet at our area is jam-packed to the edges and anytime we go there, we cannot poo. Cholera is chasing us in our houses and we have nowhere to run to. Our stomachs are rotting, because we have iced up too much bodily waste. Our kidneys are failing. You are killing us little by little.
Regardless of all these, I am giving you a chance. I am leaving behind everything I can to go queue. That sun up in the sky is going to spank me, but for your sake I am going to stand quietly for it to spank me. Like I cited earlier, I don’t trust you, but if truly you say you will do all that you have promised, I will vote for you. Don’t think I am stupid. Don’t think I cannot change my mind about you. I am not begging you. Think about those of us who have no homes, yet we work hard to pay your bills, and put food on your table. Don’t think you can get my vote so cheap this time around, because of these pans and cutlass, you are giving me.
Your duty is to protect me and my children, not to run our lives to your own benefit. This election time around, you are not going to have my vote effortlessly. You must earn it. Period.
This is the end of chapter one of my letter. Standby for the next.
Voter Kofi Aidoo
Richard Paa Kofi Botchwey is an award winning Ghanaian writer, a poet, an author, and a social entrepreneur. He is the winner of Africa Youth Award for Literacy Excellence in 2015. Richard is a generational thinker and incredible business orientated young man who believes that, even in ashes, there is hope. Through his Non-profit organization (Orphan Trust Movement) he has helped many young people across Ghana and beyond with his amazing life story. He is currently working on several charitable projects and writing his next bestseller “If I were an American. www.richardbotchwey.com