GHANAIAN VOTERS, PLEASE USE YOUR VOTE WISELY!
by CAMERON DUODU
You see them driving along our roads every day. Or rather, you see their cars.For the cars usually have shaded or smoked-glass windows, so that no-one can tell whether there are real human beings inside, or dogs, dwarfs or mules. Or women being ferried to, and from,office-hour assignations.Cars, moreover, that were bought with your taxes.
It will interest you to note that in the past, serious politicians like Dr Kwame Nkrumah
and Dr J B Danquah liked to be seen when they were driving along. For that exposed
them to the people and thus brought their respective messages to mind. Do these people
in SUVs have any message, you may well ask! If so, what is it and at whom is it directed?
Yes — this crop of politicians are also supposed to represent you and me! But we never see their faces nor hear their normal, that is, “unradio” voices.
Until an election comes along. Then it is that they hire buses and fill them with people, who invade our town or village and pretend that these strangers are our fellow townspeople. These strangers will make a helluva of noise, and then sneak away, as suddenly as they had come.
Then, at night, some of them will creep back. Secretly. They will be carrying bags of rice, corn or flour, and tinned foods of all types.
They will also carry a lot of hard cash. They will distribute these to members of our community whom they trust, and urge these agents to distribute what they’ve got to the people of our town or village who matter!
The “middlemen” will, of course, be very happy, for there will be no means by which
the rich men from party headquarters in Accra can establish whether they have
kept the cash and goods for themselves, or actually distributed them to the intended
But, of course, the “middlemen” [and women] will make a lot of noise about their party and
what it will do for the community after it has been voted into power. They will never answer
questions about what happened to the promises similarly made to the community in 2012 –
that is, the last time an election was held. They will pretend that asking such questions is rude, and they won’t give any money to an agent who asks such questions!
They do these things because although you think you have power over their party because of your thumb – the finger which is stained with black ink to show that you have voted –they believe strongly that you are a fool.For if you were not a fool (the deceitful politicians tell themselves) would you not ask why your children continue to go to school in a building that has no toilet facilities? Why are there such few teachers in the school? Where are the textbooks the children are supposed to use?If you were not the fool they take you for, would you not ask why the road between your village and the nearest market town is so bad that when you decide to travel, you must summon a lot ofcourage to be able to do so, because you constantly hear of accidents – on a daily basis, perhaps – in which people like you lose their lives because of drivers speeding on very bad roads?Would you accept that the water you drink and cook with should be unsafe while those who control your tax money drink water imported in bottles or fancy plastic containers?Would you calmly shrug your shoulders if your town or village is deprived of electricity for hours (sometimes days) on end?If you were not a fool, would you not want to find out what happens to the money you pay to the Government every time you buy kerosene, a box of matches, a candle, a tin of milk, a packet of sugar and a host of other consumer goods that you need for yourself and members of your family?
Would you not want to find out why those people in the cars whom you can’t see, are said to drink beer, whisky and brandy mixed only only with the aforementioned imported bottled water and not the sort of water you drink? Wouldn’t you wonder why there are so many people on the streets of the larger towns selling [probably unsafe] sachet water? Wasn’t it in the urban areas that one was supposed to experience the luxury of drinking treated, pipe-borne water which, when chilled in a fridge, sometimes tastes a lot better than the imported stuff? What happened to deprive you and your fellow citizens of that privilege?
As you stand in line in the hot sun, waiting for your turn to vote, please use that nimble and cunning brain of yours. Try and work out the full implications of what you have heard in recent news reports about how taxpayers’ money is used in your country under the NDC Government.
You must have heard how a certain gentleman with so-called foreign contacts didn’t do any work for anyone, except flourish some papers with promises on it allegedly issued by foreign banks, promising that money would be lent to our country. How a lawsuit was instituted to obtain money on the basis of alleged undertakings given with regard to these documents, and how lawyers who are paid with your taxes, deliberately refused to defend the state from the frivolous claims made in the lawsuit, and instead, reached an “amicable settlement” with the said fellow. How, within days of this “settlement” being reached, the said gentleman walked away with money that could have built an excellent paved road, at least 50 miles long.
You must also remember that recently it was revealed that the same gentleman had obtained the agreement of the current government to carry out some ADDITIONAL contractual works that would give him a lot more of taxpayers’ money?
Please remember that those who give away these moneys – which could give you safe water and lower petrol prices, to say the least! – to the gentleman and his ilk, do it on your behalf! They have the power to do what they like with taxpayers’ money, because taxpayers are alleged to have voted for them the last time round and given them a mandate to spend taxpayers’ money.
They say you have given them this mandate and so they can give contracts to people they choose, on a single-source basis. This means that they can disregard the rule that all public contracts should be opened to competitive bidding so that the company with the best proposal and cheapest contract priced should win the contract. They resort to this single-sourcing because then they can share the proceeds from the contract with the contractor. Of course, you never see them to ask whether they told you whether they would disregard the rules for awarding contracts, when they were campaigning to be elected.
Please don’t listen to your chief if he tells you to vote for Mr So-and-so but is unable to convince you that he can stop taxpayers’ money from being looted and shared by heart. Maybe the chief too has been bribed!
Don’t listen to your pastor, either – some of the pastors are in business and have cultivated friends in government, so that their businesses can reap profits unhindered.
Some pastors are even said to bring pressure to bear on public officials who attend their churches, to commit acts that are of a party political nature. Did you not hear recently that an official who should be regarded by both Muslims and Christians as a neutral person, went and declared in a church that prayers should be said for a “peaceful election”? Did that official consult Muslims before making such a statement?
This is your only chance to hit back!
Don’t allow the officials to take you for granted.
Do not fear! A soldier called Yahya Jammeh took the reins of government in the Gambia for over 20 years. He arrested whoever criticised him. He used the state treasury as his own private bank account. But what happened to him in the end? The Gambian people used mere votes to boot him out. And there is nothing he can do about that!
Now, the people of Ghana first had the vote, or what is called universal adult suffrage, several years before the people of Gambia had it. If the people of Gambia have had the good sense to use their votes to throw out an egotistical “leader” who used taxpayers’ money to satisfy his own whims, so can the people of Ghana.
Do not be swayed. Vote according to your conscience. But remember that if you make a mistake on voting day, you will live to regret it.
Look at how galamsey is being allowed to destroy our water-sources. Are the voters of Ghana unaware that in destroying these water bodies – great rivers like Prah, Offin, Oti, Densu, Birem etc.– the galamsey operators are cutting short the lives of their own children on earth? And the lives of their children’s children? Why is such a self-evident fact being ignored to allow the galamsey operators to be given a more or less free hand to destroy our heritage? Why are our so-called elected representatives committing treason against OUR NATION’S FUTURE by allowing its water resources to be ruthlessly, wantonly and flagrantly vandalised by galamsey operators – with impunity to boot?
Isn’t it the primary duty of every Government in the world to protect the natural resources it inherited from its predecessors? Didn’t even the rapacious British colonial government make laws to protect our natural resources? Didn’t it leave us a “Forest Reserve” in which it was forbidden to farm or interfere with water-bodies? Why is our government– SIXTY YEARS AFTER INDEPENDENCE — unable to provide that elementary protection to our water resources although it knows how to order warplanes from Brazil at inflated prices?
Dear reader, both you and I are aware of the facts so I need not go on.
All I can tell you is: use your vote wisely! And go out into the streets to protect you vote — if you find that officials want to steal it for a person you did not vote for.