Former President Jerry John Rawlings (aka Papa Jerry) and New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) maverick Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen (aka Alan Cash) have certain traits in common; these two gentlemen have charm and charisma.
In addition, their physical features , being tall and huge and with piercing and bulging eyes, in addition to their infectious smiles have endeared them to a large section of the Ghanaian electorate.
Moreover, they speak the language that the ordinary people will want to hear and for that matter appeal to their emotions and sentiments. In their interactions, they discuss issues which bother on their well-being on a daily basis and avoid the usage of verbose language.
Wherever they appear, whether at public gatherings or conducting their private businesses, these gentlemen attract huge gathering who spontaneously surge towards them whenever news about their presence break out in a locality.
Their roles in the quest of their respective parties to win political power have been substantial.
During campaigns to canvass for votes in general elections, manifestos are not an end in themselves. In other words , disseminating the contents of a party’s manifesto will not bring in the desired votes that a political party requires to win parliamentary and presidential election.
Although, the general economic conditions in a country at the time of a general election affect the outcome of the poll as it had happened in the past, the presence of flamboyant politicians have gone a long way to make the difference.
The country’s political history is replete with examples where political leaders with charm and candour took the mantle to lead political parties into elections which received massive votes to emerge as presidents of the country.
One such personality whose charm and charisma dominated the country’s political scene, trouncing his political opponents at every election before his overthrow on February 24, 1966 is the Founder of the nation, the late Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Apart from his organisational acumen and his success over words, Nkrumah’s charm and charisma won over to the CPP, the mass of the country’s population. Nkrumah was a magnetic figure who attracted people who did not wholeheartedly share his convictions to himself.
One interesting development in Ghana’s politics is that the electorate, especially the womenfolk, are often swayed by the charm of male politicians.
This section of the population would probably overlook other considerations such as the general economic malaise and vote according to the good looks of a particular candidate.
Papa Jerry is the soul of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the utterances he makes about his involvement in the 2012 election should not be taken lightly.
One recalls, the amount of energy exerted by the former President Rawlings for then candidate John Atta Mills in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 elections. Yes, for three consecutive times, he had toured the length and breadth of the country campaigning for the NDC presidential candidate.
The people of Ghana recollects the speed at which Papa Jerry travelled to the Tain constituency in the run-off to the 2008 presidential election when the Electoral Commission (EC) ordered elections to be held in the constituency to determine the winner of the presidential election.
So, in effect, his contributions to the development of the NDC cannot be swept under the carpet since he played a critical role which ensured that the NDC recaptured political power from the NPP in the 2008 general and parliamentary elections.
Papa Jerry has more than once stated that he would not be campaigning for President John Evans Atta Mills if his management of the economy, according to him, did not improve. He reiterated this point at the recent June 4, celebration in Kumasi .
The reaction and posture of the NDC to the pronouncement of Papa Jerry seemed indifferent. In other words, the NDC perhaps is of the view that it can retain political power in the 2012 poll without the active involvement of ex-President Rawlings.
Take or leave it, former President Rawlings is a crowd puller so if he decides to withdraw from the frontline activities of the NDC, such as taking the lead role in the party’s campaign for the 2012 election, the party will suffer considerably.
The votes that the presence of Papa Jerry on the campaign trail brings to the NDC cannot be quantified and for that matter, the leadership of the party should not toy with his threat.
If Paa Jerry and his wife, Nana Konadu are true to their words and avoid campaigning for the NDC, then the party will be heading for disaster in the 2012 elections.
In similar vein, Alan Cash has remained silent after the conduct of the party’s presidential primary and this state of affairs has fuelled lots of speculation.
He has not come out publicly to say whether or not he will be on the campaign trail with Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
In addition, Nana Akufo-Addo to date has not cut out any role for Alan Cash and this perhaps is being construed to mean that the flamboyant NPP politician has been sidelined.
Indeed , if the NPP flag bearer assigns a role to Alan Cash will he and his supporters who allegedly feel embittered, campaign whole-heartedly for Nana Akufo-Addo?
Moreover, will supporters of Alan Cash vote for Nana Akufo-Addo in the 2012 presidential election?
Another question is, will it be in the interest of the supporters of Alan Cash that Nana Addo wins the next elections?
Will this event, if it happens, compel Alan Cash to abandon his ambitions to become the flag bearer of the party for perhaps the next eight years?
Nana Akufo-Addo is anxious of becoming the next president of Ghana since his failure to do so might affect his chances to once again stake a claim for the party’s flag bearer position for the 2016 presidential election.
Indeed these are critical periods for both the NDC and the NPP!
Source Graphic Ghana