In just some few hours 2012 will be no more; the world welcomes a new year 2013 and everybody is hugely expectant. But one can only take stock of the events of 2012 and chart a new course for development in 2013.
In Ghana, 2012 will remain indelible in the minds of many Ghanaians for good and for bad reasons.
It recorded for the first time the untimely death of a sitting President in John Mills and the whole country was shocked to the marrow. It also saw another high profile death in the immediate past vice president of Ghana, Aliu Mahama and the whole nation went into tears once again.
These deaths took place at a time the nation was feverishly gearing up for its election in December.
Political watchers say the deaths were heart wrenching but were just the needed dousers to an incurably jaundiced political atmosphere pregnant with vitriolic attacks, divisive and tribalistic comments from the political playmakers.
And on Christmas Day when the world was rejoicing and reminiscing the birth of Christ, came another blow. The Volta Region Minister Henry Ford Kamel also passed away. He collapsed a few hours and was pronounced dead at the hospital. He will be hugely remembered for his impregnable role he played in restoring peace to the clashes in the Gbi Traditional area which saw three people dead in June. Fire outbreaks
2012 will also be remembered for the innumerable fire outbreaks that engulfed the country.
The biggest slum in Accra, popularly called the Sodom and Gomorrah recorded perhaps the highest number of outbreaks in Accra. For a slum choking under intractably dehumanizing insanitary condition, the fire outbreaks are just the painful death warrants they sign routinely. The Kumasi Central Market was also notorious for the fire outbreaks. On December 30, just a day before 2012 will come to an end; the market was again in flames. It had been, several times in the year.
The reasons and cause of the fires are known and yet very little is done to prevent the recurrence of such tragic events.
The cries of the market women were loud but an even louder cry was to come. 18 people were crashed in a Melcom disaster which shocked the nation. The 18 were part of workers, shoppers who had gone to the Achimota branch of the shopping mall to work and or to shop. Some of the workers were having their devotion and incidentally it was their last prayer to their maker as the four storey building collapsed on them. It was sad. There was also another sad incident in which passengers on their way home were crashed by a plane which overshot its runway at the Kotoka International Airport
Ghana’s political terrain was incredibly hot and it would have been surprising if it was not, given that 2012 was an election year.
The battle lines for the 2012 elections were drawn. The NPP latched onto these scandals as it prepared for the 2012 elections; the NDC defended with their lives. The PPP under Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom had broken away from the CPP and were making waves, dreaming the people of Ghana will cut ties with the two leading political parties. The PNC had also severed ties with their long standing flag-bearing, Dr Edward Mahama and found favour with their German speaking, funny political whizz-kid Hassan Ayariga. He promised to reinvigorate the dwindling fortunes of the party and win the 2012 elections ONE TOUCH! After a heavy defeat in the NDC primaries and vigorously denying rumours she was going to contest in the 2012 elections, the former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings finally was bold in accepting to be the flagbearer of the breakaway National Democratic Party. But her dream of being a flagbearer in the 2012 elections was shattered. She was disqualified after she failed to complete her forms.
After the biometric registration exercise and the violence that came with it, the 2012 December elections inched closer. The NDC had made a u-turn and was ready to take part in the IEA debate. The debates were held and for all its positives, Ayariga’s cough in the second debate appeared very interesting.
The opposition party’s Free SHS mantra had to be fought and resisted by the ruling party and they used several strategies including words and messages from the acclaimed leader of the ICGC Pastor Mensah Otabil.
The ICGC leader was angry and in a press conference, he registered his anger in no ambiguous terms. He was chastised by members of the NDC for registering his displeasure over the use of the words.
The Election Day finally came. Long queues emerged at polling stations around 11:00 pm, eight clear hours before the elections were to start. At 7:00 am, voting started at various polling stations. At 11:00 am reports were rife about the malfunctioning of the verification machines. Voting went on and had to be extended for another day.
It was a battle of press conference on Sunday dawn; the NDC started with a call on all to remain calm in spite of the difficulties with the elections. The NPP held its own with the General Secretary of the party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie projecting the NPP had won the elections.
On Sunday morning, Joy FM projected the elections for the incumbent president John Mahama.
Dr Nduom’s dream of becoming a president with the PPP became an illusion. The CPP’s hope of rekindling the fortunes of the party that won independence for Ghana fizzled out. Their performance was even more abysmal. The GCPP with no structures had performed better. The PNC was no better. They were worse off under their ‘Ayarigated’ leader
The New Patriotic Party claimed the elections were rigged and therefore petitioned the Supreme Court. After filing the petition, the party organized a press conference in which it claimed over 1 million votes had been wrongly counted.
The year was not only about politics. It was also about football. The Black Stars failed in their bid to win their first Nations Cup in 30 years and the result led to the axing of their Serbian Coach.
The Stars however beat Lesotho in a World Cup qualifier by 7-0 in a game that was blighted by the sudden malfunctioning of the flood lights and the subsequent “heads will roll” threat from the Director of Communications at the presidency Koku Anyidoho.
In 2012, there was also the cocaine turned soda saga, reminiscent of the cocaine turned kokonte saga in 2006.
Indeed the year 2012 has been memorable. What do you remember in the year?