Declaration of Intent by Freeman K. Appiah

Yet again, the time has come for us to select capable men and women of poise to lead our beloved union. Fasten your seat belts for the annual ride of political gymnastics. First, get ready for what I call the battle of the photoshoots.  We are going to be overflooded with posters filled with all kinds of edits. Appearances might be deceptive but as someone once told me, the executives must be aesthetically pleasing. For whatever that is worth. Then there will be the wave of documents, some even longer than our Uncle Paa Joy’s notes. These documents will be filled with promises and policies so elegantly set out. A lot of things that are nice on paper. 

Then when the elections get closer, lobbying for the votes will start.  You might get some messages on your phone. Don’t worry, it isn’t agents trying to sell insurance policies to you. It’s just people you’ve never spoken to despite being in the same class or those who have waved at you 3 times in 4 semesters trying to get you to vote for their candidates. In the middle of this soap opera are the electorates.  These fine people are divided into two groups. There are the few who are supporting particular candidates either because they are friends or because they are friends of friends. They will support their candidates to the ends of the earth. After all, that’s what is expected of good friends. Then, there are those who have no interest at all in the elections. They will not take part in any form of campaign and will just be observers.  On Election Day a few of them may vote if it’s not too much of an inconvenience. If you intend to make them join queues or anything that might stress them out, rest assured that they will not vote. The million-dollar question is why are so many students disinterested in the elections?  While seemingly running the risk of sounding presumptuous, I think most people find the elections quite pointless. You only need to look at the promises of the previous administrations and I don’t just mean the current executives (who were dealt a difficult hand from the onset by this novel virus). You may go as far back as the record books will allow and assess how many of these promises were actually fulfilled. I’m sure it will be difficult to point out definitive things that have been done.

Also, how much accountability do we actually get from our executives? They speak to us and we vote for them but after that what next? There isn’t any formal way of holding them accountable for all their promises.  Then again, I ask myself –what actual power and influence do they wield? How far can they actually fight for us? Maybe I’m being too harsh on past executives but they are products of the elections and if the product is not good enough then we should examine the production process. 

 For the elections to actually mean something, we need to first understand how much power the executives have. They should be honest about their policies. Let electorates understand exactly what you can do. It shouldn’t just be about brilliant ideas without any way to bring them to fruition. After all, a living dog is worth more than a dead lion. I also think we should find a way to hold the executives accountable while they are in office. There should be town hall-like engagements so we get to engage with them and share our frustrations about things going on. I think only then will the elections stop feeling like the annual visit to the dentist. So by all means declare your intent because as they say in showbiz, “The show must go on.”