These Presidential declarations…
It is becoming fashionable for people to declare their intentions to stand for the highest office of the land virtually ill-prepared to go through the long haul. Invariably, they are unable to make any meaningful impression on the electorate. Quite a number of them end up withdrawing from the race, after courting so much publicity. Those who manage to appear on the ballot paper as independent candidates, tend to perform so poorly that it is not worth the exercise.
It is not only in Ghana where independent candidates do not make much impression in presidential elections. Even in the almighty United States, bastion of global democracy, independent candidates always perform poorly.
The reason is simple. The exercise is so expensive, and involves so much travel and personal contacts that it is almost impossible for one person to shoulder the burden. Even in the case of political parties, it is the few well-established ones that are able to break through.
It is not by accident that in most of the established democracies, two political parties tend to dominate. It is so in Britain, the United States and Ghana, our own backyard. In this country, for instance, it would be difficult for any group of people to put the ruling National Democratic Congress and the opposition New Patriotic Party in the shade.
That is why The Chronicle holds that it is a complete waste of time and resources for individuals to contest presidential elections as independent candidates. In our opinion, these so-called candidates enter the race either to court cheap publicity, or that they have motives other than occupying Government House.
The other day, Madam Akua Donkor announced from Kumasi that she would contest the presidential poll, promising to ensure that no Ghanaian paid electricity and water rates. She might have her own reason for choosing to make water and electricity available to the people at no cost. But is that the priority of the state?
Water is life and electricity powers the essentials of life. That is a fact universally acknowledged. But, is it possible, anywhere on earth, for these essentials to be served free of charge to users, when health and education, for instance, have not been properly catered for? To compound the problem, Auntie Donkor cannot even read and write.
The Chronicle is of the view that Madam Akua Donkor is not properly versed in the art of governance, and should not waste anybody’s time.
On Tuesday, another independent contestant to the Presidency addressed a press conference. Mr. Raymond John Atta-Kesson is said to be a journalist. He is 41. At his meeting with colleague newsmen and women in Accra, Mr. Atta-Kesson said he was motivated by the desire to “promote and secure our common national interest against partisan and personal interests in politics.”
It is very difficult to put this to any serious scrutiny. The bottom line is that, like many independent candidates before him, Mr. Atta-Kesson is not destined to make any meaningful impression on the electorate.
At best, he is a mere distraction to the serious business of electing the next leaders of society. It would take some doing for Mr. Atta-Kesson to attract one percent of the popular vote.
That is why the media, for instance, are on notice to be wary of people who are in the business for the publicity aspect of it. The Chronicle believes air space and column inches in the newspapers could be employed better to educate the ordinary Ghanaian about his right to put potential leaders to scrutiny, than devoting them to people who merely want to court publicity.
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