The elephant is not a domestic animal and so chasing it into the bush after a sojourn ‘abroad’ is not a big deal.
The big deal, really, is how to lure the elephant back from the bush and, thereafter, tame it into a domestic animal. Surely, it will take something extremely compelling to attract the elephant back from its comfortable zone in the bush, and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, cannot be oblivious of that enormous task on December 7.
Beyond the publication of Dr Arthur Kennedy’s ‘Chasing the elephant into the bush,’ a critique of the performance of the NPP in the 2008 general election, there have been many other elaborate assessments of the party’s performance in that polls.
Indeed, the NPP itself has done a thorough self-examination, culminating in the adoption of the three-prong strategy of ‘Reflect, Rebuild and Recapture’ as the party seeks to reflect on what went wrong in 2008, rebuild its broken structures and attempt to recapture political power in the December polls.
Having observed the 2008 election campaign of the NPP at close range, as a journalist covering the party’s flag bearer, there are some personal observations that Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP must consider critically if they really want to lure back and domesticate the elephant.
One observation was how the NPP campaign was heavily laden with complacency, spearheaded by the ‘Agbenaa’ (it’s finished) slogan. Meanwhile, the campaign was bleeding profusely at the grassroots level where much of the action was required. On one of Nana Addo’s visits to Kumasi, I interacted with some of the party’s ‘foot soldiers’ who had travelled from various places to Kumasi to seek financial and logistical support for campaigning in rural communities.
Some of them needed just GH¢20 for transportation to execute that task but their desire was not met and their faces were dimmed with frustration.
Certainly, money could not have been a major problem of the NPP, given the pomp campaign it ran in 2008. Some of the resources could have been channelled into more intensive work at the grassroots, but complacency misguided that priority. Following the demise of the late President J. E. A. Mills, many NPP supporters think the battle has been won long before December 7, forgetting that the battle is not over until it’s all over.
The National Chairman of the NPP, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, was spot on at the launch of the party’s manifesto in Accra recently when he cautioned members to eschew complacency in the run-up to this year’s election; otherwise, efforts to bring back the elephant home would be in vain. Another observation was how all the ‘big’ people in the party were so eager to follow the flag bearer around to the neglect of effective campaigning at the grassroots.
They seemed to enjoy driving in long convoys, flaunting themselves on rally platforms and receiving cheers from the crowd. When some of them were asked to speak on platforms, they chose to use the opportunity to attack political