Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Pay Me To Vote
The long awaited December 7th Presidential and Parliamentary elections are over. As I write this particular blog, the 28th Presidential re-run is ungoing.Fortunately or unfortunately for others there is no church today in most places. So therefore I feel no guilt whatsoever for missing church today.
One question that I keep on asking myself about this election in Ghana is “Why on earth would Ghanaians with warm homes start queuing from as early as 3 am in the morning?”What exactly motivates these electorates to forsake hours of sleep just to exercise their franchise? Since primary school days, we have been given the civic education that admonishes all registered voters to exercise their franchise when the time is due. The question is “are we just supposed to vote because Mr. Karikari taught us to do so in SSS (or SHS for the new computer babies generation) or is there supposed to be an intrinsic motivation that should fire us up to vote for the candidates we respect and trust?
As I sit here, I personally and truthfully feel nothing within me that will spear me on to take part in the selection of the next executive leader of Ghana for the next four oil-finding years. Had the candidates lived up to expectation during their terms of office, I would not have needed any other reason to walk up to my polling station to cast my ballot. Here I am listening to the same promises that were made by opposing candidates either campaigning for Change or for extension of mandate. Are Ghanaians not sick and tired of such empty messages?
For some, a few cedis, a free bus trip or a bag of rice should be enough a motivator to spark the civic spirit in them. It is on record that more people registered than voted. Most people I believe registered because of the benefit the national ID presents and nothing else. For others like me however, it would take honesty and accountability in the previous term of service by a government. For me this is a mere formality to select the next Ghanaian leader who would claim has the panacea to all our problems and yet did nothing or little to nip such dilemma in the bud when his party was in government. After such candidates have been voted into power, they hold press conferences just to tell the very electorates that put them in power, that most of the promises they made during their campaigns are unachievable within the four years designated him! And this has been the cycle or should I say trend.
For me I believe there was a very good reason for millions of people in the United States to have come out of their homes in their numbers to select a president who would steer the affairs of the most powerful economy in the world. What kind of motivation is there for Ghanaian? Is it just because there are hundreds of thousands of ballot sheets waiting to be thumb-printed? Is it just because it’s our civic responsibility? Is it because we have been given a free bus-ride to our constituency? Or should it be because we belong to one tribe or another?