Sydney Abugri Writing and Editing Services

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Every day, I feast on a generous diet of words. Words which piece together the kind of information that shapes people’s thinking and percep­tions of life in our great republic. If I leave any­thing out of my menu, it is usually a direct quotation of the kind of barbed and poi­sonous words feuding hunters of political power throw about. 

I listen to every word the local and foreign radio and television stations and networks have on offer. I read mature, unprejudiced, analytical columns in every newspaper I can lay hands on, including even those which really belong to you know where!

Yet in spite of all that, when it comes to electoral politics I am probably as confused or at least as uninformed as my grand aunt at the village who by now, must be busy gathering fresh bean leaves from the dry season garden for this evenings soup with dawadawa and Keta school boys. {Great Savannah cuisine that, I swear!}.

The follow­ing scenario is as non-fiction­al as the one O'clock news today will be mostly factual: On the morning of December 7, 2016, a fairly long queue of vot­ers will line up outside a school building' on the grass­less, dusty, harmattan-swept landscape of a semi-rural community in the north of the country.

In the queue will be a young woman probably in her early 20s who may or may not have a baby strapped to her back! She will most certainly turn to a relative in the queue and whisper: Hey Sheitu I do not know who to vote for, truly! Who should I vote for?

There will be hundreds of thousands of voters like that across constituencies on December 7. Many of such voters have very limited or no access at all to radio and television. Many cannot or do not read the newspapers!

While NDC and NPP leaders and sup­porters are busy reaching for each other's throats and chanting “vote for NPP” and ‘Vote for NDC” many of such voters are too busy to listen. Busy living their rather confined human existence, chopping fuelwood, fishing, hunting game, caring for babies and mopping off the daily sweat of the struggling human spirit, yes sir.

Many of such people will vote on the solicited and unsolicited counsel of friends and rela­tives, for reasons of ethnic and other affiliations or in reciprocation of a day's bread for the table and other reasons that make a sour joke of the concept of democ­racy. Is this a sci­entific way to develop democra­cy?

As I woke from bed the other morning, a thought hit me with the full force of a re-enforced steel hammer, and all but sent me crashing to the floor!

In a split second I realized that I was no different from the young woman in the queue outside the polling station. I have still not made up my mind who to vote for in the coming election! Come to think of it, I do not even know any of the parliamen­tary candidates in this year’s elections including those in my constituency. God knows I want to exercise my franchise like any civic responsibility conscious patriot but do you think it proper to cast my vote for a candidate I cannot tell apart from Lopsang Rampa? 

If I do vote in the presi­dential election, it will proba­bly be out of the philosophi­cal conviction that electoral politics is too darned serious a business to be left to politicians and their hangers-on and “yes men.”

Never mind about all that though: The elections will come on for better or worse and with or without a little help from the 13 presidential aspirants who have been pulled out of the race by Electoral Commission, and who  have vowed to stop the elections with legal suits against their disqualification.

Blind, coerced or uninformed voting are the least of our worries. A greater worry is how to convince political parties that in the constitutions of all modern states only one person can be President. How can you get developing world politicians to under­stand something as elemen­tary as that when even the Americans do not understand it? 

Where does that leave the Chair of the Electoral Commissioner, poor lady? What does Mrs. Charlotte Osei do in a situation where every party must win the election or else everyone else has been cheating?