Carnival mood at NPP manifesto rally(October 11)
Sporadic fireworks lit up the sky to crown the mammoth rally that ended the New Patriotic Party (NPP) manifesto launch at the Trade Fair Centre in Accra.With the party’s numerous stalwarts, including its presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, working up the crowd, jubilant party faithful left the rally grounds with a kaleidoscope of colours brightening the sky.
It was a day the heavens opened right from dawn, flooding the streets of Accra with torrential rain, a sign many party supporters described as “showers of blessings.”
The party faithful defied the rains and marched on the streets warming up for the big rally. While their leaders were indoors rolling out their ambition for the country, the supporters were on the sidelines of the rally ground in a carnival mood.
Before Evangelist Diana Asamoah moved some to tears with her performance, jama and borborbor ruled. Right in the middle of the forecourt of the Trade Fair, the crowd twisted and wriggled to the melodies of the borborbor.
As the borborbor ebbed and flowed, so did some of the faithful break into agbadza dance.
Agya Koo, Kwabena Kwabena Lucky Mensah, Praye and other artistes were up stage but the spotlight was on Agya Koo, whose appeal for the support for the NPP was met with deafening cheers.
It was also a day the NPP appealed to the divine, as it stepped back to the 2000 elections where Cindy Thompson’s award-winning song, Awurade Kasa, evoked tears at rallies.
Towering over the sea of heads that had come to listen to the parties’ message of hope and change was a larger-than-life billboard. It stood between four canopies. Two on each side, perhaps representing the two terms it served from 2001-2009 and another two terms it's searching to serve from next year.
It was a day the female speakers, including Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West; the Women Organiser of the NPP, Ms Otiko Djaba; the wife of the NPP presidential candidate, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and Mrs Samira Bawumia, the wife of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the running mate to Nana Akufo-Addo, that dazzled the crowd.
Perhaps, the crowd’s favourite was Samira Bawumia who electrified the crowd with a powerful speech in which she invoked the future of young people as she made a personal and political case for Nana Akufo-Addo’s election.
She deftly drew a sharp contrast between their presidential team and President Mahama, making clear her belief that the President was deeply out of touch with ordinary people.
Claiming she had just returned from the northern part of the country, she pinched President Mahama, saying the President was erecting huge billboards, while the people of his hometown lacked drinking water.
Turning her lenses on the NPP flag bearer, she heaped praises on him: “We need a leader who is sensitive to the needs of his people. We need a leader who is going to move Ghana forward. I’m inspired by our leader, I’m inspired by his integrity, and I’m inspired by his honesty. I’m inspired by his incorruptibility, I’m inspired by his courage, I’m inspired by his tenacity. Let’s rise for change.”
The crowd cheered, the vuvuzelas buzzed like bees and the sun, which had been battling the clouds in the sky, had disappeared.
In the midst of the sea of red, white and blue flags, the speeches were sometimes sentimental, particularly when Mrs Akufo-Addo said she knew her husband would do exactly what he promised.
“I know my husband and he would do all he said or promised,” the better half of the NPP presidential candidate said in Ga.
Polyglots at work
It was also the day the NPP let its polyglots loose on the NDC and President Mahama. Dr Bawumia, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, Ms Djaba and the man on whose shoulders the hope of the party is anchored, Nana Akufo-Addo, charmed the crowd with all the languages they had mastered—Hausa, Ga, Twi, Dagbani, Mampruli, Wala and English.
To drum home their message of change, many in the thick crowd carried bells which they rang with the mantra, “The time is up” a slogan picked from a Tigo advert in the heat of the country’s energy crisis. The NPP turned it into a slogan ostensibly to tell President John Dramani Mahama that his time was up.
Sapped energy, strong voices
President J.A. Kufuor set out the ideological differences between the NPP and the NDC, insisting that the former had better qualified people to revive the fortunes of Ghana.
By the time Nana Akufo-Addo took the microphone, energies had been sapped but even those who laid their flags on the floor and sat on them did not lose their voice.
The energy in their voice was probably lubricated by Cindy Thompson’s, Awurade Kasa, the song that the party rode on in 2000.
Clad in an all-white kaftan, Nana Akufo Addo earlier reached the stage with his convoy that took more than 15 minutes to pass through the thick crowd that stretched beyond the Trade Fair grounds.
He repeated the “try me too” message which has earned him taunts from his opponents and insisted that President Mahama was also tried but had failed and deserved to be booted out.
Throughout the day, security was tight at all points. Energetic young men in black T-shirts with security boldly inscribed on the back pitched their camp on the walls, sometimes making an attempt at crowd control. By 1.30 p.m., a pickpocket had been picked up.