Written By Kwame Asiedu - “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath, It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings; It is an attribute to God himself, and earthly power doth then show likest God’s, when mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, though justice be thy plea, consider this: That in the course of justice none of us should see salvation. We do pray for mercy, and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy “- The Merchant of Venice
In the end the delegates showed little mercy to those who failed to render the deeds of mercy. The swords were drawn early and by mid-morning an arrest had been made, it was a major arrest and probably signs of things to come. Polls closed in most places by 15:00 GMT and the signs were clear, the smell of blood was in the air. The hyenas had demanded their pound of flesh as Shylock the Jew did in The Merchant of Venice, sadly they were oblivious of the fact that blood would be let in the process.
A few hours later there were drops of blood on the floor but it was still dry enough and there was hope. I decided to tune in to Peace FM whilst lazing in bed. The floor was getting wetter and the comedy had just begun. The commentary was hilarious with chants of “OUT” following every major fall. The chorus was becoming a cacophony of laughter, people’s pain and defeat were means of poking fun. Indeed defeat knows no shame. Those who had lost however were in severe pain and would be for a long time to come. For it is said “It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” They had taken the delegates for granted and paid the price at the ballot box.
The casualties were major, in some areas it was a blood bath. The NPP parliamentary cohort had lost some major names. Even before the 2016 general election, it is clear that Ghana’s parliament will have a fresh new look with a sizable new intake on January 7th 2017. Yet in the face of all the blood, licking of wounds and gnashing of teeth, others were celebrating not bothered about the pain. The champagne was being popped, beer bars and blue kiosk all full to the brim, the sounds of brass bands could be heard in the air. This is the cruelty of the contact sport we call partisan politics. In short one man’s pain is another man’s pleasure.
A look at the reasons given for the catastrophic loss makes our politics even funnier. An incumbent MP was booted out because; from a benevolent point he was hard handed. It was claimed all through his time in parliament he had only managed to buy two coffins for the burial of constituency party faithfuls. Another was said to have put electric reinforcements on his external wall and a notice on his main gate saying, “beware of wild dogs,” a notice that many constituents took exception to. Another was accused of seeking the Flag Bearer slot of the party when his backyard was up in flames. Surprisingly he made the short list nationally but locally he was not good enough. Many had forgotten that, “In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.” Some had been greedy in a disorganized way and neglected the very party democratic structures that had elected them and had paid the price of a disorganized democracy.
I have over the night been wondering whether elected officials lose sight of the constituents from whom they draw their votes. It is clear from the major names who fell that there was a disconnect between many incumbents and their constituents. Obviously the delegates see it necessary that an MP would be benevolent in all ways necessary. From paying school fees, attending outdooring’s, chairing church harvests and wedding receptions etc. This is the biggest challenge facing the new aspirants, some of whom have won with the belief that they would live up to this rather misplaced expectation of the constituents.
Like Abraham Lincoln once said “Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” Surely the delegates have spoken and with very loud voices. They have decided to do away with experience and experiment with youth. They have done away with what they perceive as arrogance and intransigence and gone for a new breed they think would do their bidding.
For the new entrants I would want to share a story from Nana Awere Damoah’s Book, I SPEAK OF GHANA. Kwame Emerepabeba was a political activist in the Bra-ha-be-bome constituency. He was always on the case of the serving Member of Parliament (MP), questioned his actions and highlighted what he should really be doing for the constituents. He was the voice for the voiceless. The people impressed on him to stand against the MP. He told them he wasn’t interested in parliament, only in their welfare, to ensure they got their due. The delegation of the chiefs and opinion leaders finally made him relent and reluctantly accept their nomination. He won in a landslide and entered parliament. Months passed and Kwame wasn’t seen in the constituency. When he finally visited, he spent a couple of days, explaining that he had to rush back to attend to some urgent issues of national importance.
The opinion leaders sent a delegation to Accra and managed to corner him for a quick meeting. They minced no words in expressing their surprise that he wasn’t making time to engage with them and hadn’t also heard him advocating their cause. His response was succinct too: good table manners, he explained; when you are chopping, you don’t talk.
Surely the winners have benefited from the failings of the sitting MP’s, however they need to make sure their table manners does not change once they get to Accra. They should remember that the issues that led to their success will never change, neither would the people. Rightly or wrongly they would be judged by the same yardstick and dare not fail. If they were regular visitors to funerals and regularly bought coffins, long may it continue. They must be minded that the constituents care less about the importance of their jobs in Accra. All they care about is that you don’t change and remain the same, bearing in mind you have four years to make or break your relationship with your community but ultimately the saying, “fear delegates” attributed to sir John will never change.
On the positive for us, as a people and especially to the current ruling party, yesterday’s results made one thing clear; Political impotence is finished. Yesterday was the beginning of the political and electoral orgasm. All Ghanaian people, I promise you, will feel the orgasm of next year's presidential and parliamentary elections. If a twenty three year old student can unseat a sitting MP then surely in today’s political landscape a camel can go through the eye of a needle. The writings are on the wall and those with eyes can surely see.