Ghanaian Political Guru Seeks Silver Lining in Covid-19, Maintains 2020 Elections not at Risk
Ghana’s second Deputy Speaker and longest serving sitting Member of Parliament (MP), Hon Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin, has told Timescape Magazine in an exclusive interview that the coronavirus pandemic may affect, but cannot hinder campaigns by politicians towards the December 2020 general elections. He noted that the use of information and communication technology (ICT) can help the politician meet the task.
“Political parties definitely have to conform to the realities. You have to change the way you do things. What we now rely on as a political party is the use of technology”, he said.
Without denying the fact that resorting to the use of ICT may not allow candidates to reach all segments of their target electorate, as older people in particular do not use digital communication devices, he reckons that the use of technology by political figures is equally doing the trick, and with complementary internal party strategies, various contesting candidates should be good to go with the season.
Hon. Bagbin who is in Parliament on the ticket of Ghana’s current largest opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), said the leader and flag bearer of his party, John Dramain Mahama, in particular, is an expert in ICT and is optimizing same in keeping in touch with the electorate effectively.
Hon Alban Bagbin, Ghana's Second deputy Speaker of Parliament
“The youth are more versatile with ICT, and don’t forget that the youth also form a larger percentage, more than 60% of the voting public”, he added.
On the socio-economic and general impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Legislator observed that much as the pandemic has had a negative impact on the individual, organizations and the nation, there equally are opportunities that it has brought along. The opportunities, he said, could however be missed out or amassed, depending on the foresight and ability of the country’s national leadership.
“This is not the first time. These things have happened from time to time. If you recall the Bubonic plague of 1346, which was caused by fleas from rats, and, which started again from China, it changed a lot of things. The initial things are the serious challenges but usually societies or countries that really progress are those that focus on the opportunities that are created by these unfortunate critical junctures”, he noted.
Hon Bagbin who had served both as Minority and Majority leader in Parliament as well as minister in various portfolios, charged the sitting government to look into the opportunities that were emerging from the pandemic and also focus on more important areas of national development.
“As to whether at the end of the day we will be seen to be better off or worse off, depends on the governance of the country, as to how the leadership leads all of us to take advantage of the opportunities that are created by Covid-19”, he stated.
He mentioned specific critical sectors government must invest in as health and related infrastructure and personnel, food and agriculture, energy, ICT, water and housing.
“Government will have to re-prioritize, and not just talking about the sharing of the goodies. Government will also have to look at the private sector, and let us now own our destiny. We need to produce these essentials ourselves and not depend on other countries”, he reiterated.