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Ghanaians are going to the polls on November 7. What will they be voting for? What do they hope to achieve? There are thoughtful lessons from a former president whose legacy remains controversial, though.

We are voting to create a new society with a leadership that is competent and cannot be corrupted. We are voting for a leadership that will not steal. We are voting for a leadership that will not lie and cover-up. We are voting for a leadership that is not tribalistic and free of the evils of nepotism and greed. We are voting to free our dear country from the corrupt and corrupting hands and minds of those who President Rawlings angrily describes as “greedy bastards”, whose antics and deeds dwarf all the ills of previous governments. The anger of President Rawlings is that the current ruling elite has the benefit of hindsight to apply lessons learned, in order to move this nation forward and not backward.

When the fish comes from the depths of the river to announce that it is crocodile-eat-crocodile and all other fish down there, you are a fool to throw caution to the wind. The current ruling elite were given their access to state power and wealth by President Rawlings, and we must listen to him carefully when he has cause to admonish them for their compassionless corruption and lack of integrity. It is a serious indictment of fellow travellers because their persistent use of state resources for personal gain poses the greatest threat to national security. Every day the public gets wise to the fact that the cover is removed to reveal elephantine corruption and judgement debt. It was our founding president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who used to warn the British that Ghanaians are slow to anger but when they get fed up and rise up their fury is like a raging hurricane that cannot be contained. President Rawlings, with the benefit of hindsight of the June 4th 1979 era, is sounding the early warning alert as a responsible statesman.

Why are we voting then? We are voting not to perform a quadrennial rite but to show where power really lies. Are we voting to surrender our power to a corrupt and visionless ruling elite whose rule only serves to enrich themselves and their cronies at the expense of the rest of society? It is their greed and misrule that breed mass unemployment, poverty and tribalism. We are voting and yes, we are voting to get off our backs this narrow-minded and ethnocentric ruling elite, which endangers peace and security by acting against the national interest. It is their corrupt and corrupting hands and minds that continue to set the nation back. We are voting because we did not empower the ruling elite to dispossess us of power in return for underdevelopment and humiliating poverty. They have set us back despite our nation being blessed with so much human talent and natural resources.

It is because of the corrupt and corrupting hands and minds of the ruling elite that our sister countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and India have left us so far behind. Ghana was better off than and had a head-start over these Asian tigers at the time of independence but with envisioned, competent and incorruptible leadership our sister countries have surpassed Ghana. What the success of these Asian tigers tells us, is that it is competent and incorruptible leadership that is the engine of growth and development – a leadership whose vision and abiding sense of mission is “NATION FIRST”.

We are voting for equal opportunity and for equal access to state power and resources. We are voting for an open and fair society where every child, youth and citizen will not be denied their rights and just needs. We are voting for honesty and thrift in governance so that all of society will have a fitting chance to work and live in dignity. No one should be denied chances as a result of the greed of others. We are voting for change. It is only an enlightened use of our votes that will bring about the desired change of opportunity for all.

We are tired and fed up of the humiliating torments of poverty and illiteracy. We are tired and fed up with our filthy, dusty and stinking living environment. What have we done for our ruling elite to punish us with such neglect and abandon? We work hard and pay taxes, only to be left to our fate while our over-populated neighbourhoods in urban centres rot from a lack of basic services. Why do our ruling elite choose to punish us with bad roads, poor drainage and sanitation, plus all the attendant preventable diseases that plague us day and night? We are fed up with expired food products like chicken, fish and meat, that are allowed into our markets to kill us softly. We are tired of the fake drugs, drinks and condiments that bring us no health benefits but pains of death. We are fed up with witnessing our people dying so young from stress, hypertension, stroke, cancer, diabetes, malaria and obesity.

We are voting to teach these narrow-minded and tribalistic ruling elite a lesson – that we will not let them cheat us any longer. We are tired of their lies, cover-ups and looting of the national treasury. We are voting this time to send the ruling elite a strong message that they can no longer take us for fools. We are wide awake and will not be fooled any more. We will use our votes to tell the ruling elite – we will punish you when you lie; we will use our votes to punish you when you steal and when you cover-up. We will use our votes to punish the ruling elite and their cronies who engineer judgment debts, for elections day is their judgment day. We will use our votes to tell them how their greed is hurting us all. By their deeds they shall be judged by the votes of the people. The votes of the people, like the voice of the people, are the vote of God.

The use of office by the ruling elite for personal gain and also for the wanton gain of their local and foreign cronies is a crime against Ghana. The use of state power to breed corruption, poverty and mediocrity is a crime, and we can only use our votes to rid our nation of these evils perpetrated by this Mafioso cabal – who are so blinded by greed that they do not see their cost to the nation. As an asset, they are a ruinous disaster. They have become a liability and it is by our votes that they can be exposed and deposed. They have become a marauding menace to society as they not only lie and steal; they covet and corrupt our young girls and boys, and cheat on their wives and husbands. They run multiple safe houses where they visit their licentious and pornographic minds on young girls and rent boys. They are a menace and we have a duty to vote them out this time. Our narrow-minded ruling elite have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they have not the moral compass to lead our country. They have no understanding of the social purposes of politics.

It is only corrupt and corrupting hands and minds that can seduce young girls and boys and go home and say “darling” to their wives, daughters and sons. If they do this everyday what conscience do they have to run a nation? Knowing their ways, why do we allow them to run and ruin our nation and our own lives too? We must vote them out for they are wicked and selfish. These are the people who will throw counterfeit coins and notes to a blind beggar. They have no conscience. They have no sense of loyalty to the nation. They have no business running a country as the only business they know is that of cheating and stealing and spending their loot on a pornographic lifestyle of debauchery. Be they of the left, centre, or right; be they socialists, communists, Marxists, Maoists, Nkrumaists and social democrats; be they capitalists, property owning democrats, or Danquah-Busiats: “their value is the same” – Dukadaya!! This time, we will use our votes to tell them emphatically that: “We no go sit down for them to cheat on, lie to and steal from any longer”.

It is judgment time and we will use our votes wisely. We will not let politicians corrupt our votes. We will not be bought. We will not be intimidated. We will cast our votes to protect and defend the concept of “Ghana First”. We are casting our votes to demand and set new standards in transparency, accountability and honesty in governance. We are voting to stop state-sponsored corruption, tribalism and poverty. We are voting for an open society of freedom and justice, as our selfless founding leaders envisioned. This is why we are voting. We are voting for a new generation of leaders that will not steal from us, lie to us and corrupt every aspect of national life.

We are voting out corrupt and selfish leaders so that theft and waste can be eliminated, for gargantuan savings to be made to create jobs, training, research and development opportunities for our army of unemployed, unemployable youth and graduates. A nation is on the verge of collapse when a vast majority of its youth wake up in the morning with nothing to look forward to. This time, we must use our votes to bring about change that will make life meaningful for our younger generation. I dare say that my generation, those ruling Ghana now, has betrayed those after us as ours is a legacy of state-sponsored corruption, tribalism and poverty. My generation, who enjoyed the best of everything that a new nation showered on its youth, have betrayed Ghana and deserve to be voted out and give way to a new generation of competent and incorruptible leaders, who govern by the example of self-sacrifice and loyalty to Mother Ghana. There is an alternative and it is our vote that will engender this new flowering of hope and trust in government.

Yes, we can and must make a difference this time with our votes.

Corruption, tribalism and the attendant poverty and mediocrity are an affront to the abiding beneficence and majesty of Nyame, Allah and God.

* Akyaaba Addai-Sebo is an independent consultant on national interest.

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