Lessons from America’s Presidential Race | Why the main OPPOSITION (NPP) may lose in the upcoming Elections.

I started writing this piece a few weeks ago but I wasn’t sure if it was worth sharing.

Before I proceed, however,it’s important I make this disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER : A lot of you are not going to like me after this post, and for those who already don’t you’re probably going to dispise me more. I may lose some friends after this, but I won’t lose much sleep if I do because my real friends respect that we don’t have to always agree.

The attention and backlash I receive each time I share my opinion is enough to make anyone afraid of speaking out on issues in this country.

I guess because of the misconception that only a “chosen” few are qualified to speak on politics and national issues, people are quick to tag me a controversial attention seeker.(if only this title was something worth fighting for)

I’m a Ghanaian citizen of sound mind and a registered voter; meaning I have EVERY RIGHT to speak on issues in this country, and so should anyone who feels inclined to do so, we shouldn’t to be bullied into silence because it’s our constitutional RIGHT.

When Ben Ephson the Editor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper and pollster made predictions on the elections, the brouhaha surrounding it, has encouraged me to share this piece I wrote a while back.

Now I’m no pollster, analyst or expert, and I won’t pretend to have any facts, proper research or idea of how election predictions are made.

My predictions are made on intuition and my ability to completely looked beyond my sentiments and personal conviction to see what it is instead of what it should be. They’re also based on conversations I’ve had with people, things I’ve witnessed and experiences I’ve had.

If you follow my blog then you will remember how I predicted Donald Trump could be the next president of America last year in July, exactly a year later and he won the Republican ticket to be the presidential candidate and went on to also win the general elections.

I received a lot of heat for this at the time, with many friends assuming I was a Trump supporter; which wasn’t the case. I didn’t and still don’t like the man, but I understood the campaign he was running, because he had one aim only, to appeal to a target group of people so he could ultimately win the election.

And we can argue that Trump didn’t win the popular vote, but it doesn’t change the fact that MILLIONS of Americans voted for him, much to the surprise of many people especially the democrats.

And this is what the opposition should have learnt from this outcome; that a man so hated, having some of the most powerful politicians, networks,media houses etc unite against him like never in the history of America’s presidential race; still went on to win is nothing short of a miracle.

Against all pollsters, opinions polls and predictions, Donald Trump defied all odds and shocked Americans and the world at large.

If this doesn’t tell you the electorate isn’t as predictable and neither are the elections, then I don’t know what will.

Which is what many members of the opposition seem to be missing and why they may also be in for a shock.

They’re banking on the general perception that people are frustrated with the ruling party, and because of this want change, hence their campaign message.

But this assumption and the insistence that ALL Ghanaians should feel this way coupled with the campaign they’re running, is why I believe they may probably not win the elections.

They’re looking at the country through the eyes of the opposition, and this is one of the points I spoke against in my piece on understanding the Ghanaian electorate (read here) Your Ghana isn’t everyone else’s Ghana,meaning how you see the country isn’t the way everyone else does.

But because of this perception, they’re mistakenly campaigning AGAINST members of the ruling party and anyone else who doesn’t support this claim, instead of campaigning TO them.

This single mindset is why many of their following are quick to fight and attempt to silence anyone who doesn’t share in this feeling of frustration.

Forgetting that the whole purpose of a campaign is to appeal to voters and not bully them into voting for you.

Their confidence in this perception is also why the outcome may not only surprise them, but create unnecessary tension if they don’t win.

Because they’ve proped themselves and their following up for a guaranteed win, and planted the seed of doubt and a possible electoral fraud if they don’t, also very dangerous.

Notice tbat nearly ALL political parties accuse Electoral Commisioners of fraud if they don’t win, but are suspiciously silent if the same system declares them winners.

This is a trick employed by alot of politicians; for instance, Trump insisted on a possible rigging, and when he won suddenly didn’t find the system to corrupt anymore.

What he didn’t anticipate was the doubt he casted on the system which created room for people to also question the legitimacy of his win.

Now it would be unfair on my part to blame all members of the opposition and it’s following for this behavior, I have very good friends in the opposition who are nothing like this, but they too agree that something’s definitely wrong if the majority of their following behaves like this.

By alienating a section of the people because their views don’t align with yours, will only make it that much easier for them to vote against your party.

I’ve had atleast 3 people tell me they want a certain party to lose, only because they find someone on social media annoying.

Some Trump voters will tell you they didn’t like him, but voted for him anyway because they were willing to look past his inappropriate behavior, because of their disdain for Hillary.

And you may think it’s ridiculous for anyone to vote against a party just because of their disdain for someone, but if people voted for all the right reasons we wouldn’t have politicians sharing rice, ice and sewing machines for votes.

Elections are about nothing else but winning for the politicians, even if it means employing some of the most outrageous tactics like Trump did, by stylishly campaigning to the usually neglected people, understanding that the KKK also had votes.

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EVERY VOTE counts, even that of the girl who’s voting because of someone she finds annoying; so the way your party faithfuls behave everywhere, including how they verbally attack people even on social media, will contribute to how people vote.

And this behavior isn’t unique to just the opposition, nearly all parties are guilty of this politics of insults, I’ve been called everything from a prositute to a brothel by members of the NDC, however the opposition seems to be leading the pack.

A simple comparison of their reaction to even celebrity endorsements, is very telling.

Celebrities and public figures who’ve endorsed the ruling party have been ridiculed, insulted, called money thirsty and all kinds of names.

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Yet others who’ve endorsed the opposition haven’t received that much negative attention.

Why is that?

A few weeks ago I also witnessed an interaction on social media, where a supporter of the ruling NDC claimed that most of its members weren’t as bold to declare their position because they feared insults; a supporter of the opposition quickly responded by saying perhaps it’s because his party was a sh** one.

Imagine that?

A smart person would have ceased the moment to engage this person and if for nothing at all make him see her party beyond the aggressive tone it’s been associated with.

I’ve also had my own personal encounters with supporters of the opposition who’ve hailed me for speaking out against the ruling party, but immediately turned to attack me vehemently because I wrote in support of a decision the president had taken.

If you don’t see the state of the nation through their eyes, then there’s something wrong with you; which they have no problem expressing with choice words.

When Hillary called half of Trumps voters deplorable, she only gave people who were probably on the fence about voting for Trump another reason NOT to vote for her.

Which is exactly what a lot of people in the opposition are doing.

I still don’t understand how anyone was able to look past Trumps bigotry, inappropriate behavior and racist tendencies to vote for him.

But maybe if people,including me, hadn’t been so dismissive of them; we could have engaged and perhaps attempted to understand their position.

The silent majority does exists, and when a group of people feel silenced because of their position, they will band together to prove a point.

Now I’m not in anyway likening the ruling party to Trump supporters, just drawing from their experience.

I maybe wrong with my prediction, and we’ll know in a couple of days, however the backlash I may probably receive from members of the opposition because of this post will only reinforce what I’ve said.

Ghana Elections | There can be no PEACE without TOLERANCE.

Before I proceed, it’s important to note that that I’m not in anyway dismissing the importance of the peace campaigns people are running all over the country.

I’m glad to that people are dedicated to ensuring that we have a peaceful election.

Considering what some of our neighboring countries have suffered, we can never be too careful.

But I do wonder though, If we’re so scared of ending up like other war torn countries, why do we wait around until elections to try and preserve our peace?

When in between the four years we take it for granted by allowing and encouraging certain actions that can easily threaten the stability of this country.

People sit on radio and television all year screaming insults much to the delight of presenters and networks who care more about ratings than they do about doing what’s right.

And these high ratings also to proves the audiences thirst for careless and unnecessary banter, which only eggs the stations on include this.

But it doesn’t stop there; it spills over into the daily aspects of ourlives, from social media medi, to the market, universities, work spaces etc.

We argue, throw insults, make insensitive tribalistic remarks and things that can easily spark conflict, all in the name of politics.

Our politicans encourage and participate in a politics of insults, smear campaigns and ruthlessness, and aren’t unchecked for it.

But when elections are around the corner, we run like scared little puppies with our tails between our legs begging for peace.

Why?

Because a part of us knows we’re guilty of crossing several boundaries, and know with the tensions we’ve created, it will only take a little push to send us over the edge.

It’s like playing with Fire and expecting not to get burnt, one day you won’t be so lucky; and that’s what we’ve been doing for years.

And this is because of our lack of TOLERANCE, which is the only thing threatening our PEACE.

And our lack of tolerance has a lot to do with how polarized our country and politics is, as I stated in my piece on the subject here.

When people are unwilling to accept or accommodate opposing views from others, anyone who doesn’t agree with them instantly becomes the enemy and they’re ready to pounce on them.

And this divide unfortunately isn’t only in our politics, but trickles down to other aspects of our lives.

Let’s say you find out my political affiliation, lifestyle etc is something you don’t approve of because of your religious or moral standing; will we still be friends?

Chances are you will begin to look at me differently, and all but try to coerce me into seeing things your way, and when I don’t you’ll more than likely treat me like there’s something wrong with me.

All the respect, love and affection you have for me will go out the window, simply because I don’t share in your beliefs.

And this is what a lack of TOLERANCE means, when you all but demonize someone for being and thinking differently.

But tolerating someone doesn’t mean that you have to agree with their choices, share in their beliefs or even understand it, it just means you RESPECT that it’s their right to do so. Even if it’s something you don’t like or understand.

Once people are able to understand this, it leaves very little room for conflict, and creates a healthy environment where people can even begin to try and understand and learn from each other.

And this is what I believe we should be working towards.

If every four years we’re out there trying to convince people not to start a fight because of the elections, then clearly something is wrong; because people should already know this.

So as you run your peace concerts,campaigns, t-shirts, ice water and all the things you do and sell to promote peace, remember to include tolerance and this starts with YOU.

Update: Hillary Clinton, Charlotte Osei and what it takes to be a woman in Power

Update: Hillary Clinton, Charlotte Osei and what it takes to be a woman in Power
Let me start by saying unlike many women I hardly get excited when a woman attains what seemed to be an unatainable position.

It’s not that I don’t want women to win, I really do, but I also know the with high expectations comes the pressure of having to live up to the title.

And when you don’t the lasting feeling of disappointment can never be easy to handle.

I posted a piece about how women in powerful position are treated.

Using Charlotte Osei and Hillary Clinton on how the world mostly views and treats women in power.

It was met with a lot of criticism not surprisingly by women who made this more about Charlotte Osei, than the real issue of the partiality in how women occupying the same positions as men are treated.

Lets be clear you’re more than permitted to have an issue with how she’s handled issues, if that’s what you believe.

And I said as much in my earlier write up.

I don’t seek to exonerate these two women from all they’ve been accused of, by all means they deserve to be held accountable for their actions and inactions, but there’s an obvious and inbuilt bias with how they’re treated.

This is more about the pressures women in her position face and the prejudice we pretend to be blinded to.

But we seem to be so fired up all the time waiting to pounce on people because we’re unable to separate how we feel about people from what’s right and wrong.

Its also because a lot of these women who’ve expressed anger at this write up are burdened with guilt knowing that they’ve been a part of this prejudice without knowing or assumed it wasn’t.

And for the men who had something to say they’re only argument was on the “victim mentality” they feel women like to carry.

First of you always have to remember that you should NEVER tell anyone how to feel about a situation you’ve never experienced.

I doubt any woman wants to walk around feeling down all day, think about it, what’s exciting in that?

But pretending a problem doesn’t exists just to give people the illusion that all is well, doesn’t change that it isn’t.

Some of these men also don’t understand that their views on how women are and should be treated in society don’t always reflect the majority.

So no, we’re not playing the victim,neither do we want to be the victim, we just want to live in a world where we don’t have to have these conversations anymore.

There’s a problem we need to fix and until we accept that there is , will continue to be talking about this for years to come.

I usually never come back to explain things I’ve written, but with the overwhelming response I got to this post I just have to.

Hillary Clinton , Charlotte Osei and what it takes to be a WOMAN in POWER.

Hillary Clinton , Charlotte Osei and what it takes to be a WOMAN in POWER.
It’s exhausting as a woman to be in the public eye, trust me I know.

But I can imagine it’s even more draining for women who run for public office or hold executive positions.

Because they’re held to a standard many men aren’t with almost every aspect of their life put up for scrutiny and used to measure their qualifications, decision making and even how successful they will be.

This year seems to be the year of the woman, or so many gender activists think, and as good as it is to see women finally going after high positions often reserved for men, it’s been heartbreaking watching how they’ve been treated and ripped into shreds by public.

I won’t lie, somedays I wonder if it’s worth all the ammunition constantly shot at them.

Much like any oppressed group, when their oppressors decide to set them “free” , it’s hardly out of WANT or sudden realization that, “we’ve been doing all this wrong”. It’s usually because they’ve been pressurized and have released control reluctantly; and so the laws in place don’t change the reality on ground and how people feel.

And because of this reluctance to relinquish power they will adapt other methods to stay in control, which is what I believe we’re witnessing with how women in powerful positions are treated. Its almost like they’re being dared to prove that they can handle it.

It’s twice as hard for a woman to get the recognition she needs to be considered for any kind of position and in most cases the only way is by proving that she’s smarter, works harder than the average and is willing to go above and beyond.

It’s like calling for the ball in the middle of a football field with screaming fans, your “voice” has got to be really loud to be heard.

And when she finally gets the job not only does she have to worry about her qualification being challenged, her looks are also brought into play; is she attractive enough, does she dress well and appropriately, does she smile enough and is she approachable.

So instead of focusing just on their already difficult jobs, have to worry about every little thing that can be used to judge their competence.

How tiring.

Take for instance the most powerful women I consider in the United States and in Ghana; Hillary Clinton as a Presidential Candidate in the United States and Charlotte Osei the newly appointed Chairperson of Electoral Commision of Ghana.

These two, although continents and democracies apart, face the same challenges as women in a very male dominated position.

And this goes to show that the progression we believe we’ve made when it comes to gender equality, is still very small.

For both women they’ve been held to certain standards their male counterparts were NEVER and will probably never have to worry about being held to.

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Clinton has been accused of not showing enough much emotion,being to stiff , shouting when she talks, making poor decisions, being too tired, not having enough stamina, being too ambitious, having poor judgment, killing people and even staying with a cheating husband.

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Charlotte on the other hand has been accused of being too arrogant, bossy, not smiling enough, having an affair with the president, making poor decisions, being biased and lacking the qualification to head the EC.

Notice the similarities in their accusations?

Because as a woman you in such a high profile positions, being outspoken means you’re too loud, being emotional means you lack control to take tough decisions, making tough decisions easily means you lack the natural nurturing tendencies of a woman. And it doesn’t end there, as a womn your only two options to making it to the top is by either sleeping your way there, as Charlotte Osei has been accused of or being lead there by a man; your qualification is usually the last thing regarded as a factor.

And then when you do “make it” every move you make is watched through a microscope and like a gun to your head at an examination have ensure they dot each I, cross each T and be overly cautious of the rules so they’re not failed.

Because where a man will get a pass for forgetting to put a full stop at the end of a sentence, a woman will be querried for it; because women are held to a much stricter standard than men when it comes to accountability.

Goerge Bush went to war based on an unfounded claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, leaving thousands of American shoulders dead; many were easy to forgive the loss of thousands of innocent lives as casualties of war. Hillary, accused of causing the death of 4 Americans at Benghazi, has been labeled a KILLER.

Let’s face it, women don’t get away with even half the things we give men a pass on.

Imagine if Clinton had been married 3 times with different “baby daddies”? If she’d been accused of grabbing a bunch of men’s private parts or if she’d been up at 3:00 am writing mean tweets? Think about it…

Now be honest you felt completely different about hearing all that about a woman than a man, the words slut, irresponsible, mean spirited, and a woman with no morals and probably menopausal went through your mind.

And like that all her qualifications went out the window.

But then you think of Trump doing alll of this and “he’s a man, it’s no big deal,its locker room talk, his personal life is different from how he runs his business, separate the man from the action, he takes care of his children, so what if he likes women,who doesn’t “.

If you don’t see the double standard here then you’re part of the problem.

How about Charlotte Osei, who’s biggest accusation is that she’s arrogant, bias and rude.

Why? Because any woman in a position of power automatically and self centered “bi**” and thinks she’s better than the rest.

Which is how she’s been portrayed from the minute to took office. She doesn’t even smile enough because she feels too big”, some have said, yet in the many years I saw Dr. Afari Gyan, former EC , in charge I can count how many times I saw him smile when it came down to serious business.

In fact he was revered for his blank stare and how very little he flinched at the noise politicians made especially around the election, which was what I think many found appealing about him.

Dr. Afari Gyan Dr. Afari Gyan
It’s with this same demeanor he read the 2008 election results, and as frustrated as many politicians felt about him, still maintained some level of respect for him.

Now imagine Charlotte Osei, walking into a room of men, with the same blank stare, reading the results and walking off when she was done with her security detail. ARROGANT BITCH, is what many would be thinking but not bold to say to her face, but they’d cowardly go online and radio to vent.

I don’t seek to exonerate these two women from all they’ve been accused of, by all means they deserve to be held accountable for their actions and inactions, but there’s an obvious and inbuilt bias with how they’re treated.

The only way women can succeed or effectively do their jobs is when people start seeing a PERSON and not a GENDER in that position.

Equality doesn’t just mean giving women the opportunities to take up leadership, it includes giving them with the same level of respect,support, and when necessary fair critique as their male counterparts.

GHANA ELECTIONS| REASONS WHY THE RESULTS WILL SHOCK YOU

GHANA ELECTIONS| REASONS WHY THE RESULTS WILL SHOCK YOU
Who else is ready for the elections to be over?

I’m tired of all the noise and accusations, the fear and backlash that comes with being affiliated to party A or B and because of it the hidden political bias of so many people who parade themselves as non- partisan but use their influence to push political agendas; but more than anything I’m tired of the insults that seems to be the signature of our politics.

Our elections, much like the U.S ( I never thought I’d be saying this) is standing on two things, the opposition’s insistence that the ruling party has run the country down, and the ruling party’s claim to have bettered the country. Who’s right comes down to your perception.

And this perception is a determining factor in the results, ah yes, the ALMIGHTY results.

Which is the essence of this post.

In my short time as a registered voter, I’ve watched parties praise Electoral Commissioners for efficiency when they’ve won and turned around to accuse them when they didn’t; which seems to be a recurring cycle.

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Now whether this is true or not, we can’t negate the other important factors that determine election results, factors many people tend to over look.

The role of the media , for instance. It’s no news that the media all over the world is biased to a certain degree, and if you’re smart enough you can spot the propaganda carefully woven around the “truth”.

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And in Ghana, the media seem to be on a “we run the world high” and because of this act as an authority over everyone.In my piece on who really RUNS Ghana, I spoke about the role of the media in controlling who we like,dont like and public perception.

They’ve become aggressively careless with the truth taking advantage of the illiteracy and lack of comprehension of a majority of Ghanaians who can’t read between the bias; which is extremely dangerous for a young democracy like ours and I shudder to think how far they will go if left unchecked.

On several occasions even I’ve been at the receiving end of their half truths and blatant lies, most recently, in a piece I wrote on being proud of my age after losing a friend in the same day, someone decided to change the caption to ” I’m single and proud”, and just like that it spread like wild fire, and no retraction or attempt at explaining my piece could change the information already out there.— But today it isn’t about me. So with this heavy influence the media is able to mislead the electorate, create paranoia and influence how people vote.

Below are other equally important factors that determine election results:

Your Ghana isn’t My Ghana,meaning your perception of how you see the country won’t always be the same for others. For instance you may believe the government of the day is terrible,but that’s only your perception,others may not share your sentiments even if they’re not vocal about it. So just because you believe in something doesn’t always make it everyone’s reality.

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Accra is not Ghana,and I’m using Accra because it’s where I live, but it could be any major city where there’s a lot of political activity. Thanks to my job I’ve traveled to many places in Ghana, and realized just how extremely ignorant I’ve been about some of these places. You see a lot of us in big cities tend to measure the country only by where we live and never consider the other parts that may be very different from us. Yes Accra is the capital,and yes it’s the hub of nearly all the big industries and political activity, however it doesn’t mean whatever happens in Accra is the gospel of Ghana.

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Social media votes don’t count : Just because someone ran a poll and your candidate won doesn’t mean he will win the election, opinion polls are just that OPINIONS. And some of these people who have an opinion don’t necessarily have a VOTE. It doesn’t take away the power social media has as a tool in winning an election, but it doesn’t guarantee a win either. The only thing social media has done successfully is give people a platform to express themselves in the way they otherwise wouldn’t through the power of anonymity. So the noise on social media doesn’t always match the actions in real life. A million followers doesn’t mean a million votes, it just means a million people follow the things you say, and not all because they like you.

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Unfortunately too many people rely on social media to determine how they think the elections will turn out. Which is why there’s been instances where people have been extremely disappointed in the out come of an election because they placed too much confidence in social media and the internet as a whole. We sometimes forget that a majority of Ghanaians know very little about the internet and how it works, so the heavy social media presence you’re confident in represents just a small minority of Ghanaians.

The elite don’t vote. Yes the supposedly intelligent people, the ones who have something to say about nearly every policy because they are all knowing,DONT VOTE. Truth is many people are set in their ways when it comes to their political affiliation, and this gives both major candidates a 50/50 chance of winning. It’s the + 1 that is the deciding factor, and they are the floating voters, who I believe are the “elite”, the WE vote POLICY and not PARTY, they hold the key to one parties victory by a small margin.
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But they usually don’t take advantage of this power, and as most elitist act, they feel too big to wait in line or stand in the scorching sun all day to do something as “insignificant” as placing their thumb on a piece of paper.They’ve managed to convince themselves that this “stress” is reserved only for the lower level people, who don’t have anything better to do with their time. So the real question is, who should do the “dirty” work for you? The people in line vote for themselves and not you, so if your candidate doesn’t win and you decide to place blame, don’t forget to look in the MIRROR.

People vote according to their POCKET. : This is what very few people will tell you or like to admit,but a lot of people vote according to how beneficial their candidate will be to them when they’re in power. In a perfect world people would vote for the well being of the majority, but in truth we’re all a little selfish. And because of this some people will NEVER vote for a party that’s seemly the right choice. This again comes down to perception and why you can’t trust public outcry or praise of any candidate.

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When people get into the ballots, it seizes to be about anyone but themselves, all the noise of the world is completely shut off.

Voters are smarter than you think: Each time people get upset over politicians sharing cash, cars , rice other freebies votes I laugh. Truth is it’s nothing new, and any party that accuses the other has done it before, it just boils down to who has the most money at that time. But what I find amusing is how STUPID they think these voters are. See unless you’re holding a gun to their heads at the polling station , that rice doesn’t mean an automatic vote. It’s just a thank you, and maybe I’ll vote hoping I’ll get more when you come into power. Politicians like to feed on people’s lack of education, forgetting that education doesn’t automatically equate intelligence. If it did we wouldn’t have so many ignorant people parading themselves as politicians.

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So that farmer you think doesn’t know the difference between inflation and interest rates, may know more than you think. He may not know the right term for it but you can rest assured that he knows how whether or not his/her life has changed over the years and probably why.

With that being said, may the best, smartest candidate win.

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Photo Credit : EMMANUEL BOBBIE