When a friend I had not seen for a long time invited me out for a brunch the other day, as expected, we talked a bit about the politics of the day, one of his passions.
The atmosphere in the last week had been so charged with one single by-election so I knew his favourite topic will show up. After sharing some pleasantries, my friend began the next conversation which I obviously saw coming – politics.
He asked for my views on the most topical discussion in town. I could see he was just testing the waters so when I was not forthcoming with any comments, out of the blue, he provided his own answer in the form of advice.
He said, “If you want a dip-stick of the politics to expect in December 2024, I will urge you to follow what is going on”. He was obviously referring to the by-election at Assin North which was coming off a few days later on Tuesday, June 27, 2023.
Seeing I was not too interested in the topic he had raised, he quickly switched on to something else after I promised him I will try and follow the by-election and perhaps take a cue for a future article. Our brunch meeting was well enjoyed at this stage.
I do not know what or who to blame but I have simply been a bit apprehensive of the politics of excessive noise and the uneasiness that some by-elections and even general elections in the past have caused. The politics of disrespect, abuse and bigotry over time have cost us our peace and tranquillity. Should we open our doors once again to such uneasiness? I asked myself.
For my friend’s sake and for the sake of educating myself, I decided to stay glued to my television and radio and follow the happenings of the day. I even went on social media many more times than I will ordinarily do just to see if I could pick up signs that could be characteristics of the 2024 election as my friend was leading me to.
Surprisingly, come the close of the day last Tuesday, the Assin North by-election gave me a mix of expectations for 2024. There were more positive lessons than negative ones despite the apprehensions. Was that what my friend was trying to introduce me to?
The by-election seemed to me like a nerve centre for both of the leading political parties, New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC). It caused over 200 Members of Parliament to be absent from the House, necessitating a cancellation of the business for the day.
Assin North had to move the President of the Republic to cross over to mount a campaign platform, likewise the former President and flag bearer for the NDC. Assin North saw the likes of the Majority Leader in Parliament, Ministers of State, Executive of both NPP and NDC and prominent individuals with political affiliations move over to the constituency. As one gathered, hotels and guest houses were fully booked in the area.
So what must have moved the lows and the highs to travel to Assin North between last weekend and the day of the election even though they do not vote in that constituency?
Perhaps the most convincing reason is what one political analyst alluded to in a television discussion on the day of the election. He said that while the NDC looked desperately for the plus one to add to their numbers in Parliament, NPP was on an assertive campaign to show that despite the difficulties in the economy, all was not lost and there was hope of bouncing back.
NDC has had a last laugh and certainly, Ghana is a winner as I recalled the future, gazing my eyes on 2024. It has been calm and seemingly quiet since the peaceful declaration of the results. It tells one that if there was anyone who was ready to disturb the peace and cause mayhem, they had been shamed because the Ghana Police Force led by its efficient IGP, gave no chance for any misdemeanour.
When I spoke to my friend 24 hours after the election, he pointed out to me that the calmness and peace in the area and in the country confirms what he was driving at during our brunch meeting. I have saluted him since.
Most voters invariably look for an environment of peace and calmness during an election period. The atmosphere can boil but voters would like to see a quick return to peace and tranquillity so normal life can go on.
I have taken my friend’s words and caution on board and seriously too. I have looked at Assin North. I have studied the dynamics of the by-election. I am convinced that we shall survive 2024 even though the initial dynamics may present confusion and sometimes anarchy. It is all part of the route to success.
We certainly will overcome as Assin North has taught all of us. Peace and tranquillity will prevail come December 2024.
That is my verdict.