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While I was in abokyiri years ago, the police and local council authorities in London kept up a fruitless hunt for a fellow who was only known by the initials, AGM. The initials stood for Angle­ Grinder Man. An angle grinder as you are probably aware, is a powered, hand machine that effectively and quickly cuts through metal. 

With his angle-grinder, this man went through streets in many parts of cosmopolitan Lon­don "liberating" parked vehicles which had been clamped by council authori­ties.

People would suddenly see sparks flying as the mys­terious man in a Spider­man's gear put his grinder to work, slicing through a wheel clamp and "liberating” a motor vehicle. On the average, it took him about 45 seconds to cut up a clamp without a scratch to the vehicle, and quickly vanish. He had a phone hot­line and an email address motorists used to call for his help to 'liberate" their cars. 

For many, the man was a hero. To council officials and the police, he was a vandal who needed to be appre­hended. The only person who appeared to have ever met and spoken to the mys­tery man without him wear­ing a disguise, was a jour­nalist called Robert Hardman, who interviewed AGM in a wine bar in West London.

Hardman asked him why he was doing what he was doing. Why, to make the point that clamping the wheels of motor vehicles which had not obstructed traffic in order to make council revenue was unac­ceptable, he said.

Come to our great republic and see how the wheels of cars which are more safely parked, are often clamped, while parked and broken ­down trucks sit on our roads for other vehicles to run smack into! 

I checked the heart of the capital midway through the week to feel the pulse of the season and this much I can report: If you are allergic to human and motor traffic congestion, noise and atmospheric pollution, avoid Makola like the plague and give the Central Business District a wide berth.

I recalled AGM when I saw a bloke in a fat neck tie standing by a parked car and sweating like a tilapia straight out of the ocean depths: Someone had clamped his car and vanished.

If I were running for political office, I would convince my party to include in its manifesto, a pledge to ban the clamping of motor vehicles “by heart” and under circumstances which   suggest that the car-towing companies are in cahoots with car park management and city officials to swindle hapless motorists.

On second thought, do you reckon manifestos really amount to much in our developing world circumstances? Do you think if they did there would be terms like “bloc voting” and “floating voters” in our electoral vocabulary?

We of the electoral realism movement {a concept, not an organization}have determined that in a developing country like ours, most voters are not enthused with political party manifestos.

There are always large traditional blocks of voters who remain loyal and committed to particular political parties from one election to the next. It is virtually impossible to ever make them vote for other parties. Ashanti and Volta lead the NDC-NPP bloc-voting pack, yes sir.

Some people I have talked to say they neither attach too much importance to party manifestos nor ever get an opportunity to see, read and digest a copy anyway. For many voters, party manifestos are a waste of money, time and printing paper. 

One independent presidential candidate said in a media interview that he shared this view about party manifestos.

The majority of voters are more concerned with the practical realities of their everyday needs and aspirations. I have heard one fellow ask someone last week: “Na manifesto we go chop?”

Yet Political party manifestos are important, in as much as they are intended to communicate to the electorate, the ideals, political philosophies, planned policies and programmes of the various parties to enable voters make informed choices of candidates during national elections.

Unfortunately, even when any serious public discussions of party manifestos are undertaken in Ghana, they tend to involve not public debates, but media discussions of the manifestos. The discourse is typically dominated by political party activists and media sympathetic to particular parties.

Mayhap, it would serve a good purpose to ensure that party manifestos are launched early every the election year and explained on radio to all voters in the local languages.