NANA AKOMEA MISSES THE CENTRAL IMPORT OF RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY
At a recent news conference Nana Akomea, New Patriotic Party’s Director of Communications, proclaimed to the world that his party will win the 2016 general elections “with or without credible voters’ register.”
Yet, as he would put it ambiguously again, he and the NPP still want “a credible register for the conduct of this year’s elections—explaining that the continuous demand for a register that is reliable and credible does not reside in the party’s fortunes, ‘it’s just a matter of principle’”…
What a load of convenient contradictions!
Question: What is the point of agitating and crying for a “reliable and credible register,” almost the same register the NPP and all the other political parties used for their most recent elections, if the NPP can formidably and convincingly win the upcoming general elections with or without it?
Apparently in the absence of an outfit of effective campaign strategies the NPP has simply resorted to cheap politics, that of finding faults in the body politic where there appears to be none, in fact. The NPP and its ineffective, inept leadership are chasing after “dead” ghosts from their recent past, for nothing.
Then also in this ideological space of emptiness, the NPP has found a reason, if an insidious and bogus one, to use the voters’ register, peradventure, as the only campaign commodity in its entire electioneering inventory. It is our submission that the continued pitching of this platitudinous catechism of electioneering snake oil will neither improve the party’s political fortunes in the lead-up to the 2016 general elections nor enhance the political capital of Akufo-Addo.
We even believe it will not endear the party to the citizenry except, maybe, extraneous ethnocentric and partisan constituencies of the party. We should, however, have to ignore the fact that the same party would allege winning the 2012 general elections using the same voters’ register it is complaining so bitterly about today. All these do not necessarily mean it is all well and with the register.
Quite not. Apparently.
In fact no voters’ register in the world is. Not even America’s. On this basis there should be a generally acceptable means, a standard scientific one of course, to sanitize it somewhat, but not through any self-serving partisan pressure and martial if vigilante intimidation tactics, especially those deployed by the NPP-affiliated ragtag and subversive organization, Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA).
Actually the last time the LMVCA tried visiting its partisan martial vigilante victimization upon the Electoral Commission (EC), one Justice Adzakuma, a sacrificial lamb and a useful idiot within the ethnocentric NPP, lost one of his eyes. But that, unfortunately, is the nature of politics.
Perhaps, if Nana Akomea had pointedly told Adzakuma the party were going to win the 2016 general elections “with or without credible voters’ register,” that useful idiot would have probably stayed home with an intact eye, rather than join the LMVCA and lose that precious eye to a foolish cause that is being fed on a staple of political ethnocentrism and ideological parochialism. Sadly, this is an unfortunate experience for anyone to encounter in his prime.
The human genome, regrettably, lacks that regenerative capacity for producing new organs like the eye, unlike salamanders and newts. Adzakuma’s biology teacher may not have told him this. Maybe, just maybe, Adzakuma may have thought the “unlimited” potential of stem-cell and cloning research benefits meant that he could lose an eye and have it replaced almost immediately. But more disturbingly also, Ghanaian politics does not countenance or care about science.
Mac Manu, Nana Akomea, Akufo-Addo, Sammy Awuku, pimp-looking Gabby Otchere…all have their eyes intact. The last three wear glasses to protect all three pairs of eyes. Therefore, losing an eye to a foolish cause must be a painful experience indeed. But that lost eye may as well represent a premonition of imminent crushing electoral defeat for the NPP, which is not directly to say our party of choice is the National Democratic Party (NDC).
Our preference has always been a centrist one, a push for a non-establishment third political party to break the entrenched monopoly of the country’s duopoly.
OTHER PERTINENT QUESTIONS ON OUR MINDS
It is however understandable for the NPP to lose strategic intellectual, philosophical traction and emotional balance as the “ghosts” from its recent past, the epochal years 2008 and 2012, haunt it unabated. Thus, the NPP’s idea to set up a straw man in the person of Madam Charlotte Osei, the EC’s newest Chair, for a vicious campaign of personal attacks, slander and aspersions is bound to be an enormous strategic miscalculation.
And which may end up in a flame of disappointing failure. Equally.
In other words where there is no palpable scarecrow in existence, the NPP quickly sets up a straw man. The more intellectually and diplomatically resolved Madam Charlotte Osei, however, is aware of this partisan trap and therefore tailors her assertive rhetoric of institutional independence to a tactical avoidance of NPP’s politically charged psychotropic singsong.
The NPP and its belatedly expired leadership do not even recognize the fundamental fact that elections are actually won at the polls, not in the Strong Room of the EC or in an insidiously staged court of public opinion, no less. And neither via the partisan avenue of incessant public agitations. The amount of political pollution the NPP is generating in the body politic in the lead-up to the 2016 general elections could and will be its undoing—eventually—if this trend is not quickly reversed.
Seemingly, this exorbitant amount of political pollution has more than overtaxed the strategic reservoir of what is finally left of the ethnocentric party and its leadership, on the question of its failure to formulate effective electioneering choices for the electorate. In fact, Nana Akomea and the leadership of the NPP have consistently missed this central feature of rational choice theory. And of its corollaries for an effectuation of electoral success. More so Adzakuma, himself, would miss it too, hence the tragic loss of his eye. The two-time crushing electoral defeats of Akufo-Addo at the polls primarily stem from a basic lack of appreciation of this theory in the game of politics.
The rational choice theory is as important a concept in economics, to wit, behavioral economics, as it is in politics. It is also tied to game theory, political science, and sociology as well. All these theories, overall, are tied to the complexity of human psychology. That is, all these connections are necessarily somehow tied to the psychology and political arithmetic of power dynamics. Yet Bawumia, a holder of a doctorate in economics with a background in statistics, has failed to see these important connections and their likely implications for some electoral success at the polls.
We could forgive Akufo-Addo because law and jurisprudence do not necessarily hold the same predictive power as these other theories in political thought as it relates to the election process.
In these connections then, the following articles by Prof. Lungu—“By What Measure Did Ghana Grow 500% Under NPP, Dr. Bawumia?”, “IEA Hugs Bawumia’s ‘Bloated’ Case As Ghana Loses $6 Billion in Oil Money!” and “Dr. Bawumia’s Case For New Voters’ Register in Ghana Is Bloated With More Gas Than Evidence”—effectively demolish the intellectual edifice of Bawumia, among other things convincingly exposing Bawumia’s paucity of reasoned scientific and analytic, critical and creative calculations and perspectives in the general profile of the latter’s submissions on Ghana’s antagonistic duopoly, political economy and the election process.
It was a judgment call, for instance, when Bawumia repeatedly invoked his comical trademark refrain, “Pink Sheet” and “You and I Were Not There,” at the 2012 Supreme Court hearing of electoral malpractice allegations brought before it for adjudication. More generally, the quantum leaps in the trademark political neurology of Akufo-Addo, Bawumia, Nana Akomea and the general leadership of the NPP, as in the chain reactions of political lies which they churn out almost daily, look down upon the political arithmetic of electoral success in the special case of the NPP.
On the other hand, churning out chain reactions of political lies is not necessarily a bad thing per se in the exercise of political freedoms and in the election process. It can however shift the scale of public opinion in the direction of comparative advantage, in the special case of opposition tangency’s bold attempt to usurp the entrenchment of incumbency advantage, and the special case of incumbency’s equalizing attempt to maintain its purchase of that comparative advantage in the political process, at all cost. This is what Niccolò Machiavelli called “political realism.”
The fact is that politics itself is fundamentally an industry of lies. It is an essential facet of public diplomacy and science diplomacy. Even so churning out political lies can have deleterious implications for serious questions of the nature of social-political solidarity, if it does not gain on the national interest, or if it directly impinges on national security priorities in the wrong way. Of course, again, some political lies can have positive outcomes and implications for a country’s comparative advantage and national security, if in fact they are not made the preserve of parochial or partisan politics.
“Rising Sun,” the late Michael Crichton’s international bestselling novel, takes a broad look at important aspects of these questions.
All these is to say that the NPP and its leadership should re-channel their resourceful energies into a more productive, effective political campaign that will endear them to the electorate, rather than their still-born campaign to make the Chair of the EC and the EC itself unpopular. The likelihood of diminishing returns setting in in the NPP’s insidious strategy of making the EC and its Chair unpopular and producing a boomerang effect is relatively high. We are already seeing some of these boomerang effects in both overt and covert forms. The NPP knows this for a fact!
In other words, creating public disaffection for the EC and its Chair has a limited chance of political success. There is no reason for the NPP to go this path. It is therefore better and strategically prudent for the NPP and its leadership to rethink its still-born intimidating tactics, for we are all aware that those still-born intimidating tactics are actually meant to project NPP’s internal structural deficiencies, leadership ineptitude, and frustration unto the EC and its Chair.
In other words, making the EC a spitting image of the NPP and Madam Charlotte Osei a spitting image of Akufo-Addo. This is merely a disingenuous political parallax. Simply, the NPP is preparing the ground to reject the results of the 2016 general elections it they do not go its way. This is a politics of emotions. It is not based on the theoretical purity of science or the predictive power of mathematics.
This is exactly where public intellectuals like Bawumia should step in and say enough is enough! But no! Bawumia has become part and parcel of that intellectual rot that has taken over public institutions and the political space. Political scientist Prof. Amoako Baah epitomizes this rot!
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS
Nana Akomea comes across as an unsophisticated reactionary communications propagandist at the head of a sheepish choir known for its singing identification with the political alliteracy of the NPP.
His deceptive calm demeanor is probably premised on, if not a direct product of, an interior partisan intimidation executed through the Chomskyan model of manufactured consent, in consequence of which his attention-seeking rhetoric of public diplomacy is, as a matter of fact, not so much bringing a quest for political truths and critical, analytic and scientific analysis of national issues in political discourse, as in promoting agitprop intellectualism and political ethnocentrism in behalf of the parochial interests of the NPP and its anachronistic leadership.
Again, all this is not to say we are rooting for the NDC. The corollary here is sort of contradistinctive, in that the NPP would be simulating everything the NDC is presently being accused of if it were in power, a point Koku Anyidoho, the current Deputy General Secretary of NDC, reinforced recently on the so-called “Accounting Tour.” Here is what he said in part:
“When they prevented people like Kwesi Pratt from appearing on GTV programmes, stop NDC from appearing on Radio Ghana programmes, state media like Graphic and Times will not cover pro-NDC events that is what we call abuse of incumbency…
“Then in 2008 when Peter Mac Manu was the NPP National Chairman, we all saw what happened in this country. The heavy military escort, the sirens, the motorcades, the heavy police escort…He was using state resources to fly to Benin, Cote D’Iviore and to Burkina Faso to go and meet the Presidents of those Republic and creates the impression that he is already the President of Ghana. That is what we call abuse of incumbency…”
This is what the winner-takes-all politics of duopolistic equalization is all about. There is no quantum genius in the post-Nkrumah politics of the Fourth Republic. This fact is so obvious!
But once again, some political lies can seriously undermine the strategic and tactical optimality of even effective electioneering projections and power dynamics, as in the ideological battle for political supremacy on the emotional landscape of Ghana’s duopolistic culture, an ideological battle with enormous implications for national security, political stability, and the political economy of development economics and sociology. Here, look at Nana Akomea bald-faced lies:
“A change that will make way for a competent, honest, hardworking and well-qualified team to take over the affairs of this country and steer it in the direction prosperity for all, instead of prosperity for the friends and family of the people in power.”
The line “instead of prosperity for the friends and family of the people in power” is so familiar. Well, we remember it possible provenance now. It characterizes the Kufuor presidency, and anyone suffering from a modicum of selective amnesia should read Clement Apaak’s article “Massive Corruption Made Ex-President Kufuor Unfit For Mo Ibrahim Award” (Ghanaweb, Oct. 27, 2009).
As well as the recently released Panama Papers.
Having said all that, here we have all these supposedly “competent, honest, hardworking and well-qualified team” in the NPP, perhaps a party whose major and lasting achievement has been the utter destruction of a once-formidable and ostensibly united party John Kufuor bequeathed to Akufo-Addo, along the ideological fault lines of political ethnocentrism.
That once-formidable and united party has been turned into a self-made dilemma of an opposition-in-perpetual-waiting institution through a disappointingly inept leadership which Akufo-Addo represents. We are not even factoring in moral rot, mutual antagonism, personality and ego clashes, sycophantic idiocy, intolerance and the insidious persecution of the so-called Kufuor-Asante faction, bribery, etc., that characterize the NPP under Akufo-Addo’s leadership.
This is a party whose leadership is promising to do for Ghana what it has patently failed to do for itself. This is the kind of political lies that will not certainly gain on the comparative advantage for Ghana. The electorate may have to listen to Arthur Kennedy and “chase the elephant into the bush,” for it the voters’ register was “credible” when Kufuor won two general elections with it, then it certainly should have some of this credibility left in the registry in the wake of Kufuor’s departure from the political scene.
We can say on authority that Kufuor did not take this credibility away with him when he left the presidency behind after his second term of office. He stole it and then gave it to Akufo-Addo when everyone was looking on. Dr. Afari Gyan and the EC could take it back as Akufo-Addo squandered it on his unconvincing singular “free education” political campaign. Let us therefore forget about Nana Akomea because his rhetoric of partisan diplomacy is a politics of emotions.
The NPP should better go and learn more from pollster Ben Ephson if it wants to enhance its electoral success at the 2016 polls. We are not too sure if and whether it is the NPP’s exclusive place to define it for all in the body politic. The word “credible” is a conceptual relativity to it and in our political discourse it borders on the peculiar. As a matter of fact that the political or sociological definition of “credible” and “credibility” should be a serious question of national consensus, is not one we should resist or fight over. It is a settled matter as far as we see and understand it. We have more than “said our own,” as our Nigerian brothers and sisters would precisely say it.
“A word to the wise,” it is said, “is sufficient.”
Ghanaweb. “NPP Will Win Election With Or Without New Register—Akomea.” April 20, 2016.
Ghanaweb. “Accounting Tour: Akufo-Addo Did Worse In 2008— NDC.” April 20, 2016.
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