Akua Donkor is one of the flag bearers in Ghana’s upcoming elections. She represents a little known political party which goes by a more ambitious name, Ghana Freedom Party. In a political climate clouded by a ginormous elephant and an encompassing colorful umbrella, smaller parties are befuddled with the task of seeking relevance.
The ruling National Democratic Congress and the largest opposition New Patriotic Party have for the past two decades crowded out other options in Ghana’s multiparty democracy which in reality is a two party system. Cognizant of this, Akua Donkor branded herself into what every system purporting to be a serious one lacks. With no rainbow makeup, pulled up socks, orange wig and a hideous makeup, she deftly clowns everyone in a facile manner.
Akua Donkor’s voice is highly sought after on important national issues. Not because she adds depth to the conversation or provides robust analysis on economic issues. No, that is not why Peace FM calls her after an LSE trained economist speaks on inflation. Akua Donkor provides the comic relief you need after 5 minutes of endless Economic Calculus translated into verbosity.
She will promise “free bills, free farming hoes, non-employment” and top it off with something ridiculous along the lines of a paragraph you would read in a satirical piece. She is the character you know is bereft of seriousness so you entertain everything she says in the name of free speech and free to air comedy.
We can entertain Akua Donkor for who she is. Her educational background or lack thereof excuses her from any serious censure. In fact, she deserves some level of applause for her ability to get a seat at top policy deliberation circles and the appearance of her name on governmental itineraries to international conferences. Her con job is both amusing and impressive. What you cannot entertain, is the similitude of an Akua Donkor dressed in an unbuttoned suit and an orange wig with a degree from an ivy league.
Across the Atlantic in the self-professed bastion of democracy, an election campaign has been reduced to insults, name calling and vacuous policies which spreads hate and fear. Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee for the 2016 US general elections has given Ghanaians a thousand and one reasons to be a tad proud of our political climate.
Ivy League trained and leader of one of the greatest parties in the world, “The Donald” can best be described as a Caucasian male Akua Donkor with a billion dollars in his bank account. His empty campaign promises cannot stand even in a system where “One this One that” seems to be the mantra.
No candidate, regardless of his popularity or incumbency could have told his teeming supporters in Elubo that he was going to make Ivory Coast pay for the cost of a wall to prevent refugees fleeing that country’s previous conflicts into Ghana. Neither is it tenable to tell journalists you are going to “Make Ghana Great Again” but when pressed for specifics all you say is “ I have a plan. It is a great plan….. I have a huge chance of winning and I will make Ghana great again”. When Nana Akuffo Addo was perceived as doing something vaguely similar to that on BBC’s Hardtalk, he was roast material for his opponents for a long time.
Donald Trump’s rise is proof that bad leaders occur anywhere. Despots and demagogues are not unique to Africa. They are the products of systems running on the fuel of a peeved majority. From Hitler’s Germany to Mussolini’s Italy, we have seen people like Trump come and go. The west has been saved of such characters for the past few decades, giving major news houses the green light to tag Africa as the cooking pot of such spoiled broths. But the fire which has been heating up angry White Americans has finally produced the orange faced Trump.
He is the twitter fingers who might be having access codes to nuclear weapons come January 20th, 2017. He calls everyone who disagrees with him a “fraud” or “crooked” and he does so with no shame or reservation. His plan to fight terrorism is to literally ban every person who identifies as a Muslim from coming to the USA forgetting how easy it is to change your name from Abdullah Muhammad to Kevin Thompson and shaving off your beard.
It is a bit worrying that Africa needs a Trump to show that we are not as messed up as the world thinks us to be. When you look at the caliber of leaders and personalities some African countries have produced over the years, you will realize how needless this argument even is. But when the success of the tools of global propaganda thrives on the bastardization of everything African, you appreciate the normalization effect Trump brings to this discussion.