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It is now only three months to the elections, yet most of the candidates are not telling voters in a dialect they can grasp, what they plan to do about the basic concerns of old Karl Max’s masses, if elected: Kenkey and fish, jobs, education, medical care, energy, water, security and public safety. 

Another aspect of the presidential campaign which appears to be a bit out of place, has something to do with the candidates and their relationships with the country’s traditional rulers. As you no doubt know full well, Jomo, some things just don’t mix at all: Petrol and naked flame for example, or chieftaincy and electoral politics if you like. 

Once upon a time, a politician seeking election to public office in an election year, would comb traditional areas bearing gifts of cash, merchandise and booze for chiefs. 

“This is for you and your people”, he would tell the chief. “Vote for me and there will be a lot more coming your way in terms of development.” In scene two, the chief’s tom-tom beater telegraphs a message across the village or town via drumbeat, summoning all and sundry to a meeting at the palace. 

Vote for Mr Kojo Goodman, he tells them. Mr. Goodman has brought us rice, salted fish, outboard motors for fishing, kerosene and aluminum roofing seats. If he wins, we get roads, a school, a clinic and a lot more of these. The deal is well and truly sealed. Times have changed, Jomo, and voters are becoming more protective of their franchise. 

Unfortunately however, many people are also still hungry and some chiefs flirting with candidates may be banking on using largesse from candidates to carry voters in their traditional areas along with them. 

With some presidential candidates up to the old game all over again, traversing the country and bearing gifts for traditional rulers, some chiefs are reported to be openly declaring their support for some of the candidates. I am wondering how their subjects of opposing political persuasion are taking it. 

When a traditional ruler in a politically polarized nation like ours begins to sound publicly like the campaign manager or PR consultant of a presidential candidate, what do you expect Jomo? Disaffection and subdued hostility from his subjects who belong to opposing sectarian sides in his area of traditional jurisdiction, no? I thought it was so elementary.

Yet even some among the clergy don’t seem to get it: Some pastors are all over the place singing the praises of some candidates and pledging their support for them, while castigating the rivals of the politicians they pledge to support. With every congregation unavoidably made up of NDC and NPP supporters, these political pastors do not seem to mind splitting their congregations in two.

Hungry musicians with an eye on a piece of the pie fall into the trap with their own “endorsement” of candidates and only to be hit with abuse and rejection by fans with opposing partisan affiliation.

As far as making their manifestos known to voters is concerned, many nearly all the candidates seem to think they have all the time in the world: I have been obsessed with the mystery of time all my adult life. If you have only a few minutes left to catch a flight and you are still very far away from the airport and trapped in one very solid and dense traffic jam stretching for kilometers, the hands of your watch race madly towards the take-off time. 

Yet, just wait till the day when for some reason, you skip breakfast before going into a three-hour uninterrupted meeting. It is long past noon, and your digestive tract is behaving like a grinding mill gone berserk, but the clock says break time is still one-and-a-half hours away. That is when time goes dead still, and the hands of the clock refuse to move. 

Much of the presidential campaign time is being squandered on obstreperous propaganda and spin, through media hype of matters petty, mundane and distractive, instead of the promulgation of their manifestos. 

On second thought, how much is a party manifesto really worth in electoral victory-grabbing votes in a country where a conversation about a manifesto launch runs like?:

“ I hear the NDC will launch its manifesto next week.”

“Manifesto? Who is he? Never heard of him.”