The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is determined to retain power in the next general elections as it splurges on a number of voters to influence the polls.
The party (and government) has allegedly resorted to various means of winning votes. It has started giving out money and cars to woo potential voters aside the massive outdoor and media advertisement.
Prior to yesterday’s presentation of 12 brand new Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to the presidents of the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs by President John Mahama, tongues have been wagging about the several brand new cars including 4×4 cross country and pick-up vans being given to other chiefs.
Doling out of the freebies has caught the attention of influential members of the public including former president John Kufuor. “They are giving chiefs four-wheel drives and giving motorbikes to young men in return for their votes,” he told a gathering of Muslim chiefs last Friday in Kumasi.
Most of the beneficial chiefs are in the northern part of the country where the president has been campaigning for votes.
The vehicles for chiefs are estimated to cost not less than $80,000 (GH¢160, 000, the equivalent of ¢1.6 billion) each.
Leading members of the party and their agents, including some journalists, have been going round the country giving free cars and cash to opinion leaders to enable them to influence their followers to vote for the party.
Some top pastors of the Christian faith and Muslim clerics have also benefitted from the NDC vote-buying largesse.
Leading Imams were recently given brand new Toyota Land Cruisers to their amazement, with one of them refusing to use the car because he considered it as a form of bribery.
Pastors Fly To Jerusalem
Some high-profile pastors were sent on an all expenses-paid pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with as much as $10,000 paid to them as pocket money to pray for the NDC’s victory.
It started when some of these pastors, whose names are being withheld for now, were given brand new Toyota Land Cruisers as birthday gifts under the late President Atta Mills.
In the recent Muslim Hajj to Mecca, over half of the 6000 pilgrims were paid for by the state under the guise of ‘protocol’ allocation.
Not too long ago, the party rolled out a new vote-buying strategy with an invasion of the campuses of tertiary institutions, especially universities and polytechnics, baiting students with what is termed ‘Atta Camboo,’ brand new Hyundai i10 saloon cars. with some branded in NDC colours, with the University of Ghana, Legon becoming the school with the largest group of beneficiaries.
Adjoining hostels to the university are also donning the Atta Camboo cars from which some journalists have also benefitted.
A similar activity is going at the Dansoman campus of the Methodist University where executives of the students’ wing of the NDC, Tertiary Education Institutions Network (TEIN), have allegedly received some of these brand new cars.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that all universities across the country have been invaded with the Atta Camboo cars.
Another intensive campaign has also started in various senior high schools with the sharing of GH¢50.00 concealed in neatly designed white envelopes, with a brochure of President John Mahama included.
The brochure, which bears the portrait of John in a red Lacoste shirt with the inscription ‘working for you’, is added to the GH¢50 and a message “dear student, compliments from President John Mahama. Thanks for making your parents and the nation proud. President Mahama asks for your vote. Vote Mahama 2012”, with a monogrammed pen included.
The party is also giving out vehicles and cash including 4×4 and Toyata Hilux pick-ups to a selected number of chiefs, mostly in the Northern regions.
This nearly resulted in confusion not too long ago when some of the chiefs protested against the kind of cars they were given in view of the fact that whilst some of the chiefs were seen driving brand new vehicles, others received used confiscated vehicles.
They therefore felt looked-down upon and raised issues with it.
Some have also been given houses at prime areas including East Legon and within other gated communities.
Opinion leaders therefore raised eyebrows about the source of funding for these profligate and opulent cars and money-sharing enterprise among potential voters, coupled with the mounting of gigantic billboards of President John Mahama across the length and breadth of the country, one of which is estimated to cost not less than GH¢10,000.
Members of the ruling party are said to be going to villages with brochures of President Mahama, with the claim that President Mahama was the one promising free education when voted for, despite the party’s open opposition to the free SHS policy.