2016 will bring another major election in possibly making national history in my two nations, USA and Ghana. I don’t feel the same vigor in excitement as in 2008, but I do feel the anxiousness and desire for change and hope in the idea that this election, even after many past disappointments, just may be the change that many have been waiting for to redirect the future to its greater self in being the local and global example that many say they want to see. For Ghana, 2008 under John Agyekum Kufuor‘s NPP incumbency saw the economy growing, often with a consistent 1:1 exchange rate of the cedi against the dollar, an influx of foreign investment all positioning themselves to reap great profits, as international media outlets sold the narrative of “Africa Rising” with a newly found African renaissance, particularly in sub-saharan nations like Ghana experiencing a rising middle class , rise in gold prices and new discoveries of oil; however when elections came the majority of voters had shown themselves to be disenchanted and not hopeful in this new “African Rise” trickling down to them from what they saw as the elites and a small burgeoning middle class reaping all the benefits, so they went for change in electing the NDC opposition candidate.
“She was only 5 years old when she woke up one morning at the sound of gunshots coming from the garden. It was hard to overcome the fear but she and her brothers did, eventually. It was February 24, 1966, the military coup that changed the history of Ghana for ever. On that day her mother told her to pray and immediately after insisted that “if they fire at you, nothing will happen to you”.Samia is now back in her country and at the end of last year was elected to Parliament, in Ghana’s 5th multi-party elections since 1992. “It took many years and much experience of living and working in Ghana, Egypt, the United Kingdom and lastly in Italy, to come full circle and realize that the Pan-African project as articulated by my father, Kwame Nkrumah, offers the best response to our ongoing challenges”, says Samia with a deep smile. Nkrumah’s vision, as outlined in his books, are guidelines for Ghana and Africa and they remain as relevant today as they were in the 50s and 60s. “Achieving political and economic liberation, social justice and national and continental unity including the African Diaspora are yet to be realized” continues Samia. “It is our task today to continue from where Nkrumah left, while remaining flexible as we adapt to changing circumstances”.Till the moment she moved back to Ghana in early 2008, Samia lead a “normal” life. She lived in Italy for the last 10 years with her Italian husband and their 12 years old son Kwame, and she did not think about going back to her country of birth till the moment she met her father’s literary executrix (her name is June Milne; she is now 90 years old and living in England). This meeting opened up her heart. “This woman told me the most unbelievable stories about my father and she especially made me understand what an incredible spirit he had. He lived all his life for his cause and his people and while she was telling me these stories I felt that sooner or later, I would have to revisit his lifework”. READ MORE
“It is no longer very interesting to say Ghana is a shinning star in Africa. Ghana led the way in sub Saharan Africa towards independence. The first president of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was very instrumental in the independence struggle of a number of African countries and was recently honored by the BBC as the African of the Millennium. He is noted for his dream to create the UNITED STATES OF AFRICA….Its icons like Yaa Asantewa, a grandmother in her 70s in the 19th century, lead the war against the British in one of the fiercest battles the British encountered in their colonization of Africa. Formally known as the Gold Coast, this country is very well endowed naturally as well, with one of its cities’ TEMA, said to be sitting in the exact center of the world. With so many things going for it, it was therefore very alarming when countries we started off with, Malaysia and Singapore, whipped past Ghana in development so fast, it was a wonder the country didn’t spin!…As the world watches, and as Ghana once again makes history, let it be written that once again, this bright star in Africa is in flight… and may we land safely. May God, Jah, Jehovah, Allah and the Universe itself bless Ghana!” – READ MORE
“Miss Gombilla said through Dr. Nkrumah’s initiative, Prof. Emeritus J. H. Kwabena Nketia fashioned out a “cultural Policy Document for the country soon after attaining nationhood in 1957. This modern policy was adopted by UNESCO and since then successive governments have used it as a reference point. Nkrumah’s vision is relevant today”, she said. Miss Gombilla said Nkrumah inaugurated the Institute of African Studies in 1963, which he regarded as an intellectual wing of the pan-Africanist revolution. Dr. Nkrumah, she said, also had a personal interest and enthusiastically supported the arts and cultural institutions, including the Ghana Museums, Arts Council of Ghana, Research Library on African Affairs and the Ghana Film Corporation.
She explained that Dr Nkrumah’s intention was to bring activities in areas such as literature, cinema, theatre, music, visual arts, as well as symposia and conferences of specific topics with “African significance”. Miss Gombilla said Dr. Nkrumah helped popularize the Northern smock and Northern architecture, noting the Tamale and Yendi Senior High Schools, Bagabaga Teacher Training College and Tamale Polytechnic still had “round huts” as dormitories for students.
She said Dr Nkrumah promoted mass education and encouraged the use of the Ghanaian languages, including Dagbani in the Ghana Broadcasting Corporations newscast and other programmes.
Miss Gombilla noted the importance of arts and culture in development and said these were the areas in which the disparities between the developing and developed countries were greatest, adding: “We therefore need to take culture and the arts into account in our development discourse”. READ MORE
“With the 2016 presidential race heating up, tech-savvy political candidates are stepping up, and executing on, their social media strategies….As campaigning for the 2016 election increases, political strategies targeting newer social media sites will surely play a significant role. However, it remains to be seen how exactly how these efforts will influence voters and affect who becomes the next president of the United States….. Democrat Hillary Clinton is one of the most prominent examples of a political candidate with a wide array of social media initiatives. Clinton has a strong presence on the most popular social media outlets, with more than one million “Likes” on Facebook and upwards of four million Twitter followers. The Clinton camp also launched accounts on more niche social networks, including Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, and even created a Spotify playlist from Clinton that voters can listen to. The mix of social networks the candidate embraces allows for more types of content messaging targeted at voters, including some well-designed, carefully manufactured posts, as well as spontaneous and on-the-fly content — or at least content that appears that way.
Whatever kind of post it is, it’s probably carefully planned out with a strategy in mind, even if it seems to be off-the-cuff, says Bill Jasso, professor of practice, with a specialty in public relations, at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communication. “The Clinton campaign has been very targeted and focused on specific issues and specific topics. It has not been a run-of-the-mill, drive-by tweeting type of situation. It looks as though it’s the execution of a strategy rather than just random [posts].” READ MORE
Both Clinton and Nkrumah have the hurdle of leaping past the idea that they come from privilege and are disconnected from the lives and needs of the everyday citizen, who may not look like them nor come from the same privilege as them.The staff, press corps and inner circle that both women come with to represent their campaign will have a lot of weight in overcoming this perception in its unspoken visual branding. If a voter can not see themselves amongst all whom you are surrounded by, then how can they expect that their issues will be represented at the table? An image of Hillary Clinton’s majority women press corps went viral and created a debate on how she can have a platform touting commitment to diversity in the workplace when her own selected press corps represents part of the status quo in representing a women’s movement steeped in “white feminism”, which has often come in direct crossfire and cross-roads with the Black community and communities of Color who have found themselves in apposition to adress the ills of past and present women’s movements that often exclude their voices and specific issues. It wasn’t lost on women of color that the majority women press corps that was being celebrated as achievement had a limited amount of women of color. These women have decided to use social media to let candidates know that they are no longer willing to take a back seat in pushing forward an overall Women’s Movement that excludes their input in creating the narrative, even if it denies history from being made in having America’s first woman president. We can not talk about lack of diversity, racism, discrimination and income inequality in the workforce, while candidates asking for the votes of the adversely impacted minority communities lack diversity amongst their own staff and inner circles, and while said candidates have to be pushed and prodded in accepting and recognizing movements like “Black Lives Matter” in its necessity to address the ills of the nation toward significant and sustainable change.
WHAT GHANAIANS WANT TO KNOW
In the words of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah: “Countrymen, the task ahead is great indeed, and heavy is the responsibility; and yet it is a noble and glorious challenge – a challenge which calls for the courage to dream, the courage to believe, the courage to dare, the courage to do, the courage to envision, the courage to fight, the courage to work, the courage to achieve – to achieve the highest excellencies and the fullest greatness of man. Dare we ask for more in life? Something in the nature of an economic revolution is required. Our development has been held back for too long by the colonial-type economy. We need to reorganize entirely, so that each country can specialize in producing the goods and crops for which it is best suited.We have the blessing of the wealth of our vast resources, the power of our talents and the potentialities of our people. Let us grasp now the opportunities before us and meet the challenge to our survival…We shall measure our progress by the improvement in the health of our people; by the number of children in school, and by the quality of their education; by the availability of water and electricity in our towns and villages, and by the happiness which our people take in being able to manage their own affairs. The welfare of our people is our chief pride, and it is by this that my Government will ask to be judged…It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world. Although most Africans are poor, our continent is potentially extremely rich. Our mineral resources, which are being exploited with foreign capital only to enrich foreign investors, range from gold and diamonds to uranium and petroleum. Our forests contain some of the finest woods to be grown anywhere. Our cash crops include cocoa, coffee, rubber, tobacco and cotton. As for power, which is an important factor in any economic development, Africa contains over 40% of the potential water power of the world, as compared with about 10% in Europe and 13% in North America. Yet so far, less than 1% has been developed. This is one of the reasons why we have in Africa the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty, and scarcity in the midst of abundance. Never before have a people had within their grasp so great an opportunity for developing a continent endowed with so much wealth. Individually, the independent states of Africa, some of them potentially rich, others poor, can do little for their people. Together, by mutual help, they can achieve much. But the economic development of the continent must be planned and pursued as a whole. A loose confederation designed only for economic co-operation would not provide the necessary unity of purpose. Only a strong political union can bring about full and effective development of our natural resources for the benefit of our people..”
American Elections 2016