Ghana Votes

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ghana Elections 2012 : The C-Section of Mama Ghana and the ECs PR department

Just look at her! She is so gorgeous, Mama Ghana, that is! When she lays down to rest, she looks like a cat, asleep in foetal position. She doesn't look like a Mama that can hurt a fly! But in standing position, Mama Ghana looks stocky and robust as if she is about to squat. I urge you to spend some time to look closely at the map of Ghana. She looks really fascinating.
Ghana is shaped like someone who is spotting a little pot-belly from eating a combination of lots of fufu, garri, akple, banku. Or, she may just be pregnant with deep thoughts and unfulfilled dreams. Someday, Ghana will rise, stretching out its thickset body. Even now, she is the Black Star that shines! Wait till the day when she truly rises and stretches out her stout body mass.
But since last week Friday when voting began, we have heard the throbbingheartbeats of Mama Ghana. She is huffing and puffing. Clearly, this must be labour pains. Oh, she is having a caesarean section! Her doctor just cut through her protruding belly! See, a baby has been yanked out of her but the doctor has not done a good job with cleaning up after delivery. Hmm, it seems like she was all along pregnant with twins but the doctor, although has several years of experience, didn't feel the twins! So when the first baby arrived, the doctor gave him the usual bottom spanking; the baby shrieked, and viola, he was welcomed into the world.
Now, unfortunately, Mama Ghana seems to be experiencing some internal bleeding.The second yet unborn baby is breached! The doctor is trying to walk away from this sticky situation because the second baby is not coming out the normal way with head first, followed by the remainder of the body. Instead, it has one leg sticking out, struggling to pop out. The delivery has become more complicated than we can fathom. This is not good. It is unnatural to leave a baby unborn; it is deadly for mother and child! So the second baby cannot be left to die a pre-mature death inside Mama Ghana. So what is the doctor going to do about it? We have to wait and see. But why on earth didn't the doctor foresee a second baby despite the gargantuan pregnancy?
On a personal side, I can relate with Mama Ghana's experiences over labour complications, breech, C-Sections and the accompanying gargantuan unprecedented drama. Complicationsduring childbirth are not like a walk in the park. If such complications are not handled well, a death or deaths occur!
Of course baby number one is President John Mahama. Baby number two is Nana Akuffo-Addo. The doctor of course is Dr Afari-Gyan. Mahama has been delivered smoothly and the doctor thinks his work is done. But, not so fast! Ghana must resolve the Nana question. Whatever legal cases the NPP seeks to pursue should be done quickly so this heavy election cloud will be lifted off to enable ordinary Ghanaians to move on to the real issues: water, food, toilet, roads, housing and the likes.
The National Peace Council has been playing the role of the awkward mid-wife who hovers around the doctor trying to assist in ensuring a safe delivery. The Council has so far acted as a sage in the pre-election drama. But it must now watch the way it handles itself to avoid a
situation in which it loses credibility to remain the sage who can save Ghana out of this brewing post-election funk.
Where are all the elders of this town to take care of Mama Ghana with real tender loving care?
Love must ooze out of the elders. They must all put their heads together. Nothing must be left to chance. We must save Mama Ghana, the two babies and all their loved ones.
Unfortunately, there was a certain crude and unacceptable Third-Worldishness about this year's elections. It was as if the EC had never seen technology before so handled things as if it was strolling casually to a cocoyam farm. Even cocoyams would have been treated better than the EC treated Ghana. The lateness of the EC officials to several polling stations was not just
unacceptable but was disrespectful of the thousands of Ghanaians some of whom had congregated as early as dawn to cast their votes – old and young and even the very pregnant.
And, those annoying little machines had the audacity to reject anyone it felt like rejecting, without the decency to provide an explanation of some sort. The little monsters of verification
machines discriminated between families – it chose a husband but rudely rejected a wife while it verified a suckling minor who shouldn't have been registered as a voter in the first place. So a one day smooth election turned into a two-day voting torture. With that, the seed was sown for confusion laced with deception that disregards transparency.
Overhaul EC's PR Department:
Enters the Public Relations (PR) Department of the EC! In the 2008 elections, the PR Department was a big disappointment and performed below average. Strangely, the department
handles its work during elections in a business-as-usual manner although it is by now clear to us all that our elections fall within the realm of business-unusual. Our elections should be
exercises in crisis management. We must therefore operate from a posture of Murphy's Law – All that can go wrong, will – and not leave anything to chance.
It does not appear that rumour management is part of the ECs communication plan. In both 2008 and 2012, when rumours spilled over, the PR folks let them be, forgetting that factual
information is both a balm and a slayer of rumours. Last Saturday, when news broke of suspicions that STL might be doing something untoward at Dzorwulu that was casting doubts
over the credibility of the elections, the ECs PR people stayed mute much of the day, instead of responding promptly with explanations. They ignored Ghana just as they did in 2008.
It is troubling that part of the reason our country got on the brink of a melt-down in 2008 was due to poor communication planning and implementation. No communication in itself
communicates a great deal. The absence of communication can confuse, confirm suspicions and reinforce fears.
Long before Election 2016, the Electoral Commission must overhaul its PR outfit. Ghana should not continue to risk its life and survival to the inactivity of a lousy department whose
responsibility it is to communicate to the citizenry at critical moments during elections. To put it softly and gently, the PR Department of the EC is constipated.
A few enduring questions: Is the EC'sPR department technically and professionally well-equipped, as well as mentally well-suited and prepared to offer healthy communication to Ghana during general elections? No! The evidence does not suggest that.Why in the world has the head of the PR department worked in an acting capacity for such a long time? What is his level of expertise in the PR/Communication discipline? Would the EC place a non-IT person to head its IT department? There are more questions than answers.
Doris Dartey 

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