Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

Political Rallies

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We thought it was timely to post a blog on politics.  For we Australians will be going to the polls in a few weeks time!   Due to the process of voting when you are out of the country (and our remote location vs. the Australian High Commission in Accra), it does not seem that we will be able to lodge postal votes in time for the election on 21 August.  Nonetheless, we thought we might draw some parallels between Australian political life and the equivalent here in Ghana….

women dancers and musicians arrive to generate some energy while waiting for their candidate to drive by

One of the interesting observations here is how intensely “political” everyone is!  People have strong feelings about which party should be in power; whether that is the current government (the National Democratic Congress) or the previous government (the New Patriotic Party).   The support for one party or the other borders on the fanatical;  radio talk back shows are very big here, and the level of excitement generated by discussing politics is at times almost overwhelming.

A few weeks ago, it became apparent that some sort of big political rally was going to be held.   Literally dozens of buses started arriving near our house; horns were honking, drums were beating, booties were shaking, a festival atmosphere was in place!  We wandered out to the main road to see what was happening, and you can imagine our surprise when these sort of images greeted us!

What was happening was one of the most likely presidential candidates (not even THE endorsed candidate, but only a wannabe, at this stage) for the opposition NPP party was coming to Tamale.  Literally kilometers of the road were lined with men, women and children all decked out in t-shirts displaying the candidate’s smiling face and the red white and blue colors of the NPP.  Considering the election is not until 2012, we felt that this was pre-planning at its finest – not something you regularly hear about in Ghana!!!

Tamale has been known to erupt into some political violence in the past, so once we determined what was going on (ie: essentially a massive political rally of the opposition party), we decided to hotfoot it back to the safety of our house, and watch proceedings from there!   We did not hear reports of any problems – this could be due, to some extent, to the fact that the anticipated candidate never arrived!

Nonetheless, it does make us laugh, as we compare the kind of welcome Tony Abbott would be getting in Australia, as leader of the opposition.   Somehow we don’t think they’d be lining the streets of Perth for kilometers to greet him!

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Written by Mar(k)

July 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm

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