Just before you say ‘enough to this election stuff’, and start preparing for the next four years, spare me some time to tell you my personal post mortem of the defeat of the NPP at the 2008 polls.

Well a defeat is a defeat. Moreover, it is most painful when it is so close like the one we had.

Before I even start, I would plead with you to listen to my case entirely without hastily writing me off as a propagandist of some political party. Who knows, somebody might make some corrections next time.

I have keenly followed Ghanaian politics since 1992 and have taken notice of the use/abuse of propaganda by the NPP. I voted NPP in 2000 because I wanted ‘the devil’ out of power. The propaganda worked till somewhere late 2003/2004. After this, and in my opinion, people started reading through the useless ones and that’s when the decline started.

Propaganda, in my view, is the single most important factor in the rise and fall of the NPP. Arrogance, executive luxury and high standard of living only helped to shorten the time. Defeat was always coming from the way they were going. Let me attempt to outline a few of such useless propaganda.

As far back as 1996, there is this journalist who consistently has ‘dragonised’ and mystified ex-president Rawlings and his ministers. It was easy buying into that when the man was in power but eight years after the man is out of power makes it questionable. More so, his arguments are more pronounced anytime accusations of corruption were leveled against the Kufuor led administration. The man was bad so we voted him out, and when we complain about what’s going on now, we are told that worse things were done by previous government. Does it not sound like an insult?

Teachers go on strike to demand pay increases, we were told it was a group of pro-NDC teachers who were inciting the others to make the government unpopular. University Teachers as well as Polytechnic teachers had similar fate. Health Insurance workers were unhappy about their Chief Executive’s actions/inactions. We were told the same thing. Rail workers, health workers and several others were not exempted from this propaganda.

In each of these, there were pro-NPP members who were aggrieved. They have families and friends who also have family and friends AND THEY TOLD THEM THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND THE PROPAGANDA.

Consider the incarceration of former ministers, usually done when people accuse the government of corruption by its officials. Let’s not even talk about Tsatsu. In fact the NPP saw every occasion and every institution as propaganda tools, including even the judiciary.

As for the media, the least said about them the better. A day before the presidential debate, I asked a couple of friends what the main headlines would be the day after the debate. We unanimously accepted that it is going to be something in the like of ‘Nana floors Mills”.

Similarly, anytime the president travelled and people made noise, the headline the next day looked like ‘President Kufuor secures $419bn loan from…’ In one of such cases, a group of women were sent to the Castle to dance in acknowledgement of a loan that was secured. Wow! propaganda at its best.

I was surprised that even the funeral of the late Peter Ala Adjetey was not exempted from the propaganda fiesta (for Nana to showcase his legal expertise). They should have known better.

Sometimes, it is like the headlines are premeditated weeks before the actual event. Take the case of Mr. Rawlings going to Manhyia for example. It was obvious a group of journalists were told to get ready for a headline like ‘Rawlings wields a gun” or worse case scenario ‘JJ shoots”. So that even after the provocations yielded no reaction from the man, sections of the media could not help but to still publish those premeditated headlines.

Ideally, propaganda is a good political tool but when a person becomes negatively affected by such propaganda, he even sees the positive issues (development projects) as face covering. In fact you may even read unnecessary meanings into such positive propaganda. No wonder, despite the NHIS, Capitation Grants, etc, more than half of Ghanaians voted for change.

Finally, consider the 28th December polls. I followed media reports right from 7am till 5pm. Until about 3pm, all the reports were about electoral malpractices in the Ashanti Region. Then, after 3pm a few skirmishes were reported in the Volta Region. This was corroborated by the CODEO Report. Further corroboration was given by the results that poured in. While Volta Region recorded an average voter turnout of about 73%, the Ashanti Region had 84% with some constituencies recording 99% and 97%. Despite all that, we are being told that there were so many irregularities in the Volta Region and that could be responsible for their defeat.

It is like a movie: a dying man holds on tight to his beloved, his unknown murderer.

Please tell them this when you see them. I know a friend who knows a friend who voted six times in one polling station in the Volta Region. He was however disappointed to realize that his Ashanti friend voted not less than ten times each in seven polling stations in three constituencies in the Ashanti Region. It’s a game and winner takes all.

Credit: Benjamin Jangma, USA

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