New Patriotic Party
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is a liberal democratic and liberal conservative party that is one of the two dominant parties in Ghana politics. The party is center-right, its leading rival being the National Democratic Congress (NDC; formerly the Provisional National Defence Council, PNDC). John Kufuor of the NPP was President of Ghana from 2001 to 2009. At the elections held on 7 December 2004, the party won 129 out of 230 seats. The NPP candidate was Kufuor, who was re-elected as President with 52.75% of the vote. The New Patriotic Party symbol is the African elephant and the New Patriotic Party colors are red, white, and blue.
In the 2008 general election, the NPP candidate Nana Akufo-Addo conceded to losing in the closely contested presidential election runoff amidst accusations of vote rigging, with Akufo-Addo receiving 49.77% of the votes, versus 50.23% for John Atta Mills, the NDC candidate. In the 2012 general election, the NPP faced a similar situation from vote results provided by the Electoral Commission of Ghana (ECG). Nana Akuffo-Addo received 47.74% of the vote, while NDC candidate John Mahama received 50.7% amidst accusations of electoral fraud.
The New Patriotic Party has contested in every National general elections in Ghana since the commencement of the fourth republic in 1992, with the exception of the parliamentary elections of 1992. The New Patriotic boycotted the 1992 parliamentary elections alleging that the 1992 presidential election held earlier was rig. The New Patriotic Party wrote a book title 'Stolen Verdict' to register its protest against the 1992 presidential election.
The New Patriotic Party is considered as an offshoot of the United Gold Coast Convention, which effectively evolved into the Northern People's Party in the late 1940s, the United Party in the early 1950s, the Progress Party in the late 1960s, the Popular Front Party in the 1970s and the All Popular Front in the early 1980s.
After more than a decade of military rule by Jerry John Rawlings, the government, along with some stakeholders, drafted a constitution for which a Referendum election was organised. After the people of Ghana approved the new constitution in an election (held on 28 April 1992), the ban on party politics in Ghana was lifted, allowing other parties including the NPP to be officially launched. The NPP's flagbearer was Professor Albert Adu Boahen, a scholar and a long-time critic of the Rawlings military government. However, the NPP lost the 1992 election overwhelmingly to the Progressive Alliance of the National Democratic Congress, Eagle Party and the National Convention Party whose candidate was Jerry John Rawlings. The NPP boycotted the parliamentary elections and hence won no seats in the new Parliament.
The NPP also lost the 1996 elections again to Jerry John Rawlings' party but this time, their flagbearer was John Kufuor. In the 2000 and 2004 elections, John Kufuor won both elections ushering in a new government for the first time in the fourth republic of Ghana. In the 2008 general election, the New Patriotic Party presidential candidate Nana Akuffo-Addo placed second in a closely contested runoff, with Akuffo-Addo receiving 49.77% of the votes, versus 50.23% for John Atta Mills, the National Democratic Congress flag bearer. The integrity of the elections was challenged, but the Electoral Commission eventually affirmed Atta-Mills as the president-elect. In 2012, the NPP candidate Nana Akuffo Addo lost again to the NDC candidate, John Dramani Mahama, and this election was contested. After the Electoral Commission of Ghana dismissed the NPP claims, Akuffo-Addo, Mahamadu Bawumia (Running mate) and Jake Obetsebi Lamptey (Party Chairman) filed a writ at the Supreme Court of Ghana challenging the results. The case was however dismissed in August 2013, after which Akuffo-Addo conceded defeat. The party had initially disputed the results of every election held in Ghana since 1992, with the exception of the 1996 election which John Kofour conceded to NDC's John Rawlings.
The New Patriotic Party lost the 1992 presidential elections to the National Democratic Congress led by Jerry John Rawlings. Despite the elections being declared as free and fair by international observers, Prof Adu Boahene, the NPP candidate, alleged that there was heavy rigging by the Interim National Electoral Commission headed by Nana Oduro Nimapau and hence the NPP, as well as the National Independence Party, People's Heritage Party and the People's National Convention, boycotted the parliamentary elections. The decision to not contest in the parliamentary elections which was held a couple of weeks after the presidential election at the time meant that the National Democratic Congress, National Convention Party and the Eagle Party which was already a coalition won almost all the parliamentary seats available. One seat was actually won by an independent candidate, Hawa Yakubu.
This protest, however, led to some reforms in the electoral system, notably the use of transparent ballot boxes at polling stations, issuing of voter ID cards and the use indelible ink (which lasted for a month) to mark people who had been registered to avoid double voting.
After the defeat in 1992, the NPP chairman at the time, Peter Ala Adjetey, stated that the party was resolved to do their homework and wrestle power from the NDC in the 1996 election. They made the decision that regardless of the results, they would contest for parliamentary seats to stop what was seen as an NDC monopoly in Parliament.
Prior to the party convention, it appeared that the overwhelming favourite to become the next presidential candidate was a well renowned economist known as Kwame Pianim. However, some members of the party led by Florence Ekwam challenged Pianim's eligibility due to a prior conviction during the PNDC era. The Supreme Court of Ghana declared Pianim as ineligible and hence he couldn't be considered for nomination. On 20 April 1996, John Kufuor was nominated as the NPP presidential candidate with 1034 out of 2000 delegates drawn from all the 200 Constituencies to run for the presidency in the general election held on 10 December 1996. This time, both presidential and parliamentary elections were held on the same day, unlike the previous election, as part of the reforms by the National Electoral Commission headed by Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.
The NPP gained an unlikely alliance from the Vice President of Ghana, Kow Nkensen Arkaah, whose party (National Convention Party) had severed their alliance with the National Democratic Congress. The NPP hence formed what was deemed as the "Great Alliance" with the NCP and Vice President Arkaah was nominated to be the running mate of Kuffuor. After campaigning for less than nine months, Kufuor polled 39.62% of the popular votes to Jerry Rawlings' 57% in the 1996 election. Despite the elections being declared as free and fair by international observers, the New Patriotic Party alleged that the election had been rigged by the National Electoral Commission and President Rawlings. The NPP, however, won a substantial number of seats in the Ghana Parliament and effectively ended the NDC monopoly.
On 23 October 1998, Kufuor was re-nominated by the New Patriotic Party to run again for the presidency. President Jerry Rawlings, facing term limits, was due to retire after the 2000 elections. Pianim, however, resigned from the NPP and Peter Ala Adjetey, the party chairman, handed over the chairmanship to Odoi-Sykes. Aliu Mahama stood as the running mate of John Kufuor. The NDC, in turn, nominated Vice President John Atta Mills as its presidential candidate.
Kufuor won the first round of the presidential election, held on 7 December 2000, with 48.4% of the popular votes. His closest challenger was Atta Mills with 44.8% of the votes. The electoral rules in Ghana mandate that the winner of elections must cross a 50% threshold. A run off election was hence organised. All the parties came together to support the NPP including the Convention People's Party, Reform Party and the United Ghana Movement against the NDC.
In the second round, held on 28 December 2000, Kufour was victorious, taking 56.9% of the vote. When Kufuor was sworn in on 7 January 2001, it marked the first time in history that an incumbent government had peacefully surrendered power to the opposition.
The New Patriotic Party's President, John Agyekum Kufuor was once again re-elected in the Ghana general election, 2004, presidential and parliamentary elections held on 7 December 2004, earning 52.45% of the popular vote in the first round and thus avoiding a run-off, while at the same time, the New Patriotic Party, was able to secure more seats in the Parliament.
Several government officials within the Kufuor administration resigned their cabinet positions to contest for the NPP flagbearership in July 2007. This included the likes of Nkrabea Effah Dartey, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, Alan John Kyerematen and 13 other contenders. Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan John Kyerematen were the two leading candidates according to the pundits. However, Akufo-Addo won 48% of the votes in the first round of the party delegates election. The NPP set aside a provision in the party's constitution which required that candidates obtain 50% + one votes of delegates to secure the party's nomination thus making Nana Akufo-Addo New Patriotic party's candidate for the 2008 presidential elections.
In the 7 December 2008 presidential elections, Akufo-Addo received more votes than John Atta Mills amassing 4,159,439 votes representing 49.13% of the total votes cast, placing him first, but not enough for the 50% needed for an outright victory. It was the best-ever performance for a first-time presidential candidate since the beginning of Ghana's 4th republic in 1992. In the run-off elections however Mills ultimately received 4,521,032 votes, representing 50.23% thus beating Akufo-Addo.
The run-off elections were marred with controversy and once again, although International observers had expressed satisfaction with the way and manner the elections were conducted, the NPP alleged voter fraud. According to the NPP leadership, figures in certain constituencies had been massaged, hence the results published by the Electoral Commission and the Ghana press (mostly Peace FM online and Ghanaweb) were not accurate. Also, NPP activists like Kwabena Agyapong and Elizabeth Ohene were allegedly intimidated in areas of the Volta Region of Ghana, a Region where NPP has never won any constituency. The complaint led to a delay in the declaration of the results, sparking angry NDC demonstrators onto the streets of the capital city Accra. Dr Tony Aidoo, an NDC activist, fired up these NDC protesters by dismissing the NPP claims as "stupid". The then-chairman of the electoral commission Dr Kwadwo Afari Djan eventually organised a press conference and claimed that the Tain Constituency had some issues and hence another run-off election had to be organised in that constitiency alone. After revising the figures, he asserted that although John Atta Mills was leading in the popular votes, the number of registered voters in the Tain constituency were enough to swing the election the other way. Therefore, the final results would be declared after the Tain constituency results had been certified and declared. An election was held in that constituency on the 2nd of January 2009 and John Atta Mills won by a very comfortable margin of 90.6% to 4%.
The NPP officially went back into opposition in January 2009 when John Kufuor handed over power to John Atta Mills.
On August 7, 2010, the New Patriotic Party re-elected Akufo-Addo as its presidential candidate for the 2012 presidential election. Akufo-Addo received the votes of 79% of the delegates. The electoral convention was the largest that any political party had ever convened in any African state. The New Patriotic Party campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, and to provide Free SHS (Secondary High School) education for the population of Ghana.
Following Akufo-Addo's defeat in the presidential election, the New Patriotic Party and Akufo-Addo contested the vote results provided by the Electoral Commission of Ghana, alleging that the 2012 general elections were rigged. They cited tampered vote counts and vote-rigging from polling stations in South Ghana. The New Patriotic Party unsuccessfully asked the Electoral Commission of Ghana and its chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan to use the "72 hours withdrawal of election results law" that is written in the constitution of Ghana to "investigate" electoral fraud. The party are yet to concede defeat until a thorough external investigation into the vote-rigging and a vote recount is completed.
The New Patriotic Party filed a writ with the Supreme Court of Ghana requesting that the results declared by the electoral commission be invalidated. Despite claiming publicly that the election was rigged by the ruling NDC government, their writ in court alleged that there were inconsistencies and irregularities at certain polling stations. Therefore, they wanted the results at those stations to be invalidated. These were in effect polling stations that the NDC won comfortably. Therefore, with figures from those stations (over 11000 of them) invalidated, it would mean that NPP would mathematically be the winners. The Supreme Court of Ghana, headed by Justice Atuguba, gave its final verdict eventually dismissing the case. Akufo-Addo conceded defeat after the disappointing verdict (29 August 2013).