Free SHS “wins” presidential election

Wonders, they say, shall never end. With just two days to the national elections, free-SHS is now the talk of many communities across the country. Interestingly, many of the rural communities seem to be salivating the flavour “oozing” from the national kitchen of free-SHS.

So free-SHS, free-SHS, free-SHS is now on the lips of many parents and beneficiaries of President Akufo-Addo’s poverty alleviating and human resource-incubation national policy. Indeed, for some parents, free-SHS is now the tooth brush with which they seem to be brushing their teeth each morning to remind themselves and their beneficiary children of voting age, the urgency to vote for free-SHS, come Monday, December 7, 2020.

A clear example of the wonder-name, free-SHS? Yes. Just last Monday, 30 November, a “trotro” driver in Elmina in the Central Region asked a passenger to quickly get off from his vehicle just because in a political conversation in the vehicle, the passenger said: “Akufo-Addo has done nothing for Ghana.” Readers, the response in the “trotro” was very quick and surprising!!!

The “trotro” driver parked his vehicle, which was moving from Edina Essaman to the Elmina Fish Market, stood up while holding the steering wheel and asked the passenger: “Have you paid school fees before? Do you know how difficult it is to look for money to pay school fees? Do you even have a child in any SHS? Do you know the value of Akufo-Addo’s free-SHS to some of us who could not continue our education because of poverty in our homes?”

The “trotro” driver says, he has three of his children enjoying the fruits of free-SHS and for him, if President Akufo-Addo is even using all the nation’s money to fund free-SHS, he will vote for him to remain in power. Indeed, the “trotro” driver was not alone in shouting at the passenger.

An elderly woman of about 65-years, who claimed to be an NDC sympathizer, urged the “trotro” driver to exercise patience, contending that some of her own grandchildren are also enjoying free-SHS and that she will also vote for President Akufo-Addo to continue the policy. She, however, said in respect of the parliamentary election, she will vote her NDC parliamentary candidate, stressing that “the free-SHS policy has removed the fee-paying burden on the shoulders of many parents in the country.”

The elderly woman then appealed to the “trotro” driver to tolerate the young man, assuring that free-SHS will win the presidential election for Akufo-Addo. According to the woman, she knows some party supporters of the NDC, PPP, CPP and GUM who have confided in her that because of free-SHS, they will surely vote for Akufo Addo to retain him in power.

“This is because their children, nephews, nieces, sisters and brothers are enjoying Akufo-Addo’s free-SHS, thus, removing the fee-paying burden on them,” the elderly woman said, adding that even though President Mahama has promised to continue the policy, “it is better to be enjoying what we have now under Akufo-Addo.”

The driver then resumed his seat. As he powered off to the Elmina Fish Market, the young man kept mute in the vehicle while some of the fish mongers chatted above their voices, claiming that they now know the value of education because some of their children who are beneficiaries of free-SHS are exhibiting “polished tendencies” to their surprise when they returned home from school.

In the 2012 campaign season, however, many fish mongers along the coastal belt of Elmina gained notoriety for claiming that they preferred ‘hweaseambo’ to free-SHS. ‘Hweaseambo’ is a pan or container usually used by fish mongers to carry fish from canoes to sell in the fish market.

During the 2012 campaign season, while the NPP was preaching it’s free-SHS policy along the coastal belt, the NDC was allegedly distributing thousands and thousands of ‘hweaseambo’ freely to the fish mongers to influence them to vote for the party.

In the process, some of the fisher folks composed a song titled: “Yepe hweaseambo, yennpe free education,” meaning “we prefer hweaseambo to free education.” And this became a common song among many of the fish mongers.

Surprisingly, the tables are turning and the chickens seem to be coming home to roost. The contention is that the ‘hweaseambo’ will be arriving very soon for free distribution but they will be there effectively be competing with the free-SHS policy which now firmly rooted in the minds and souls of many parents and beneficiaries.

Now, in each of the 16 regions of the republic of Ghana, we have what they call, Association of Free-SHS Students. They have their national leaders and regional coordinators. And interestingly, members of the association are canvassing for votes across the country so that free-SHS wins, particularly, the presidential election, come Monday, December 7.

Many parents of beneficiaries of free-SHS are also said to be vigorously campaigning for the retention of President Akufo-Addo in power, so that they will continue to harvest the hanging fruits of the policy.

What some election watchers also say, however, is that for the presidential election, free-SHS will win the race for Akufo-Addo, contending what will be left to be decided is the parliamentary election.

Readers, we have barely two days to go to the polls, so let’s cross our fingers and wait to see whether or not, the free-SHS policy will particularly win the presidential race for President Akufo-Addo.

Meanwhile, readers are encouraged by this column to go out and exercise their constitutional mandate in peace, come Monday, December 7.

By G. Frank Asmah

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