By Abdul Razak Bawa
In politics, like any other trade, branding is very important; it is what separates one organization and its product from another.
Branding, has been used to gain superior advantage, in today’s world. In Marketing, branding is everything. The amount of money organizations spend can only come next to research and development.
A practical and living example to drive home my point is Shatta Wale. When he first launched onto the music scene, he was known as Bandana.
After some years and not finding his niche, decided to take a step back and rebrand himself, when he emerged as Shatta Wale, he became an instant hit and he is now arguably the biggest star in Ghana, with a large and fanatic following.
In Ghana today, most people who step out to buy bottled water, do not buy the content, but rather the brand.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP), understands branding and has deployed it over the years, especially since 1992 when we ushered in the fourth republican dispensation to further their political end.
They are not only good at branding policies, as we have witnessed since the tenure of John Agyekum Kufuor, but they are equally good at branding their political opponents to look like the devil in the eyes of Ghanaians.
Every policy they lay claim to and brand, is initiated by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), but unlike the NDC, which believe that the end justifies the means and that, what is really important is the impact the policy is having on Ghanaians, the NPP on the other hand believes in sloganeering.
The NPP, does not disappoint, they want sound bites, their leaders crave for immortality, and so they are no limits to which they can’t go to ensure it is achieved.
Former president, John Agyekum Kufuor, did not start the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), it was initiated and piloted by president Jerry John Rawlings. When Kufuor assumed office, the scheme was rebranded, given a name and voila, it was their programme.
The Metro Mass Transit policy was not birthed by president Kufuor, it was an initiative of ex-president Rawlings, but Kufuor, upon assumption of office, like many programmes, decided that, you cannot sell anything without given it a name, even a child is identified by his or her name, so he christened it Metro Mass Transit.
Today, the NPP, could look Ghanaians and their opponent the NDC in the eyes and ask them to name on social intervention policy that they (NDC) introduced.
Ironically, everything they lay claim to was conceived and sometimes birthed by the NDC, but as usual, they either forget to brand it or sell it to Ghanaians.
Until, ex-president Jerry John Rawlings left power, we were made to see him in an image of the devil. The NPP succeeded and got many Ghanaians, to believe that, all our problems were caused by Jerry Rawlings.
He was called names, including being called ‘sasabunsam’. For 19 years that, he was in office and especially the eight years of democratic rule, the man never knew peace.
When his time was over and he exited, they immediately moved on the late president John Evans Atta Mills. He also had his fair share of branding. He was labeled as a Poodle, an impotent man, someone, who is sick and so cannot even campaign, when he succeeded, they say, he will die, he was called Mr Do Little.
The man was never given the benefit of the doubt, even though his three years tenure as president, was one of the best times in the history of this country, with every economic indicator showing positive.
President John Dramani Mahama, was also not spared either. They were so desperate for power, they did not care the extent to which they could go to malign and destroy the man.
After writing the stolen verdict in 1992, in 2013, they actually proceeded to court to challenge the 2012 election.
An election that was declared by international observers to be free and fair, was challenged by the NPP in the famous election petition.
President Mahama, was not given even a day to settle in to work. From day one, his legitimacy was challenged and for more than eight months, he had to go to bed, thinking whether he will wake up the next day, still the president.
When the verdict was finally out, with the Supreme Court affirming his 2012 victory, they switched to the next gear.
They started the name calling and tagging. President Mahama, was referred to as incompetent. The tag which begun slowly, with time became his name. The name was acronym (TIO) The Incompetent One.
The meekly Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who used President Mahama, as his launch pad, led the assault on his brother.
Since the day president Mahama, was nicknamed the Incompetent One, till the day he left office, the name caught on like wildfire.
The NPP, has perfected the art of propaganda. The party can brand anyone and the people will see you just how they want you to be seen.
Candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was branded and sold to us like the messiah, we have been praying for. Akufo-Addo, was elected president in the minds of Ghanaians, even before the first ballot was cast in December 2016.
To the people, he had the magic wand to turn our fortunes around. He was branded as incorruptible, he has never been corrupt and will never be corrupt, we believed it, but what do we have today. We were over promised and they are under delivering.