Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ghana Election 2008: 10 days and counting

Election time is here again in Ghana! The importance of this election simply cannot be ignored. Politics is one thing that generates heated discussions in the fair republic of Ghana and I had written a very opininated blog posting about my take on election 2008. It was basically a lexicon of colourful characters and buzz-words associated with this election and politics in Ghana for the un-initiated.. *Alas* I have decided against the original posting since it was overtly political and likely to malign. So anyway, here are just a few buzz-words associated with Ghana election editing:
  • Ghana [definition] : A small Republic in West Africa that heralds itself as being the first black African country to be independent and thus its citizenry believe that they invented African politics. This country is made up of 20 million political commentators who sometimes double as 20 million football coaches. If you don't believe our coaching skills, ask the former Ghana national football coach of yore Ratomir Dujković. Heated political discussions can take place anywhere, in buses, bank queues, hair salons or even in public toilets. I heard on the Beeb that political discussions have been banned on Ghanaian buses because they distract drivers...mmm..
  • Too close to call [definition] : how the BBC and every political pundit on this planet is describing the 2008 Ghanaian election. The real race for the 50% + 1 electoral votes is between the two front-running parties the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP). The real question this time around is how much damage a 3rd party force the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) will do to these two leading parties.
  • Floating voter [definition]: people who apparently have not decided who to vote for (say whaa????). These individuals may swing election 2008 and so are being hotly pursued by all parties.
  • Run-off [definition]: If no party is able to secure 50% + 1 votes, than the elections will have to be re-run at the end of December with the 2 leading parties from the first round. Such was the case in Election 2000. Some parties are dreading this while others are depending on it. One man's meat....
  • Campaign T-Shirt [definition]: superior cotton t-shirt handed out to the masses at rallies solely during election time. NOTE: the number of t-shirts you see do not always reflect support for a particular party; it is all about the afore-mentionned SUPERIOR cotton!
  • Ghanaian Radio [definition]: a plethora of stations where there is more talking than music. Some radio DJs/hosts let invited guests and callers spew half-truths, make allegations without proof and basically lie on air. *Alas* Ghanaian radio stations have mass appeal and can be heard in mini-bus taxis, offices, shops etc. The best action is usually between opposition gurus in one corner pitted against incumbent dons. This morning I heard wild wrangling on one station all about the price of public toilets in 2008 compared to 2000. If by any chance you are not interested in Ghanaian political discussions between 6am and 10am than I recommend you either leave the country or tune into the BBC, VOA or 4 or so other stations committed to music. If you are interested in political banter and bickering, there is an array of 20 other spicy stations to choose from.
  • Ghana Television [definition]: Best political entertainment available.Lately, television has been the medium of choice for amusing mud-slinging between the two front-running parties. In the year 2000, I was struck by the glossy ads on TV launched by the then-opposition NPP depicting the plight of the common man on the street suffering under the evil NDC regime. 8 years down the line, I am struck by the glossy TV ads launched by the now-in-opposition NDC depicting the plight of the common man on the street suffering under the evil NPP regime. The more things change, the more things remain the same. I'm also told that the most entertaining TV to tune into is breakfast television. Two weeks ago, a member of the opposition had an on-screen show-down with a former member of the same party who is now a member of incumbent party. These two individuals traded saucy insults that would have made Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross blush. I would have skipped work, sat down with some popcorn and enjoyed the show!
  • Ghanaian Newspapers [definition]: A collection of publications for daily reading that are not always fit for public consumption. When I first moved to Ghana, I used to buy about 6 different newspapers daily to get a wide range of views covering the vast political landscape. After a while this became a 'costive' [this word is actually IN USE in Ghana] and completely futile endeavour. I soon realised that many newspapers do not always take a factual approach to that thing called news and were basically a reflection of the political views of editors/owners. Some amusing cartoons in some though.
Election Billboards ...unlike MTN, these are everywhere you go

Wishing all Ghanaians a peaceful election. Be sure to use your voting power and use it wisely. Remember that it takes 50% + 1 vote. That 1 vote could be yours.

One of my favorite songs. The Rocky Dawuni classic from 1998 "In Ghana".

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