I just learned that Obama has secured a second term as US President. I don’t expect anyone else in Nadowli, nor for many miles radius from here is aware of this. I could say, they won’t even know who he is. However, following a visit to Ghana in 2009, Obama mania hit Ghana and the T shirts, school exercise books and, bizarrely, children’s underpants bearing his image, are still widely worn!
Ghana has its own elections next month. VSO have given us instructions that we should stay indoors throughout December 7th in case of “trouble”. It’s hard to imagine “trouble” in sleepy Nadowli, but I shall probably follow orders anyway. I am assured the NDC, National Democratic Congress, will be triumphant come the day. The other parties are still campaigning hard here. They have party offices, some of which have painted images of candidates on the walls.
Large SUVs emblazoned with poster images and blasting loud music from speakers on the roofs are a common sight up and down the local routes. A few weeks ago the local MP held a rally on the local park. We went to see what was happening 2 hours after it was due to start and found nobody about. He must have arrived at some point as his promotional T shirts were in evidence stretched across a range of chests for days afterwards. Groups of voters, including headteachers are invited to meet candidates with a very soft carrot of a bottle of sugary mineral. These fool nobody but the politicians continue to hope that their constituents will be swayed by this weak generosity. Soon it will become impossible to purchase a Coke or Fanta as they have all been bought by the MP to butter up the locals!
The President, himself, paid a visit to the Upper West last week. I heard sirens but didn’t realise it was his cavalcade sweeping through the town towards Jirapa. When I visited Wa on Tuesday, his plane was sitting on the airstrip close by. I have a feeling, the last time anyone landed on this airstrip it was the same man as Vice President when he launched a development project here about a year ago.
I was talking to officers at work today and discovered the fragility of their jobs due to political influence. Evidently, Public Services are prone to changes in personnel following elections. If there is a change in government, they fear for their jobs. The District Assembly, local councillors, will change completely and can bring in all their loyal supporters to fill roles in the Education Service and Police, to name but two. I had not realised the precarious nature of their positions. As well as holding positions as education officers, some are Assembly Men and Women.
The process of registering everyone to vote was a huge operation earlier this year. Voting is clearly seen as an important responsibility of the greater majority of Ghanaians and I hope their Election Day, a public holiday here, passes without incident and safely for all.