An Observation Of Ghana’s 4th Republic Political Colours: Electoral Victory Chances And The Way Forward

Feature Article An Observation Of Ghanas 4th Republic Political Colours: Electoral Victory Chances And The Way Forward
AUG 29, 2022 LISTEN

The PNDC did not automatically have the power to put the nation back under constitutional government. The Catholic Bishop Conference was among the groups that applied significant pressure for the 1992 promulgation and implementation of the new constitution. The PNDC stood tall with electoral fortunes and was the front-runner among the candidates after having provisionally ruled the nation for almost nine years. Because of the fantastic aura and happiness that surrounded one man, J. J., it was like there was no contest in the election. Due to its lack of dynamics, the NDC easily won the 1992 elections. Indeed, the level of credibility demonstrated by Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) was low.

NDC's first term wasn't simple. Despite the hostile political climate, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) gave them a run for their money and exhibited little cowardice. The infamous "Kum Preko" demonstration rocked the NDC government and changed the game for the opposition. The NPP then changed their flagbearer, and the circumstances leading up to the 1996 elections indicated that the NDC had serious flaws that made them susceptible to losing elections. But after starting to implement pro-poor policies such as rural electrification, NDC had some useful accomplishments. The 31st December Women's Movement was a significant component in improving the NDC's image and luring common people to join the party. The NPP was perceived as an aristocratic party and did not particularly appeal to the average Ghanaian. Despite being a straightforward individual, J. J. Rawlings' appearance alone gives the impression that he is the Ghanaian "Messiah." Sadly for the NPP and other smaller opposition parties, the NDC easily won the 1996 elections despite claims of ballot manipulation and brutality, especially in the NDC's strongholds.

People began to question whether J. J. Rawlings of the NDC could easily cede power in 2000 because the constitution only allowed him to serve two terms. The opposition NPP had been quite harsh in their criticism of the NDC, and Ghanaians are gradually transitioning from hero worship to having a government that is focused on policies. The 2000 elections were significant historically because they were the first true test of the 1992 constitution. The first and second rounds of the elections were too much for NDC to handle. The NPP maintained a parliamentary majority. The NPP ran a highly successful campaign, and all signs indicated that they would prevail in the elections. Fortunately, the NPP had the reins of power, and Ghana will soon have two political parties representing different colours in authority. One subtext was the 2004 elections.

NDC successfully hilariously prosecuted the 2008 elections. Prof. Mills had been dubbed the "Peace King," and NPP had been painted as a thoroughly corrupt organization. NPP made a hard and ostentatious transition in 2007 to pick a new flagbearer. The improper message is conveyed to Ghanaians by the fact that seventeen party members stood for flagbearer. The NDC had a propaganda secretary position for the first time to carry out significant propaganda against the in-power NPP. Unfortunately, the NPP lost the election on the second count because it was unable to defeat the NDC propaganda machine. Between the two-party colours, there was almost bloodshed during the elections, which were tough and damaged. Every NDC man and woman was prepared to sacrifice their lives to gain power; it was a "do or die" situation.

Unfortunately, the NDC lost a President who was in office, and their Vice automatically assumed the role. Fortunately, the passing of NDC's president also gave them some political success in the 2012 elections. Before the 2012 elections, NPP provided strong and amazing opposition to NDC, and many believed that NDC was in trouble. Like in 2008, no specific policy ideas were the basis for the elections in 2012. Additionally, it was founded on vilification and personality-based campaigns. Ghanaians wouldn't have time for flagbearers who were driven by policies, even though NPP ran on policies more than NDC did. It all came down to which personality would be most suited to hold Ghana's highest office. With a vote margin of nearly 300,000, NPP was defeated in 2012. The NDC campaign's personality run-down was a complete success. They made Nana Addo, the NPP candidate, appear whitewashed and essentially unattractive to Ghanaians.

After the 2012 elections, a lot of things changed, particularly the media environment. As social media gradually took over the communication system, information spread quickly. The two new platforms were Whatsapp and Facebook. The number of TV and FM stations increased. Biometric verification systems had previously been implemented by EC, and Interparty Committee had grown stronger. Election reforms were implemented, and opportunities for electoral fraud were closing in on each other. The NPP was more astute and saw the evolving trend's potential political capital. The NDC rarely noticed these trends and believed Ghanaians were still the same as they were in 2008. After Mills' death, the NDC lost ground, and their party's fluidity was deteriorating day by day. The NPP persisted in using its opposition tricks and succeeded in persuading Ghanaians with several policy-focused campaign messages. Akuffo Addo was given a new image, one that appealed to Ghanaians. Ghanaians were becoming annoyed by the NDC's campaign of character assassination since it was getting to every home. Three factors contributed to NDC's historic loss in the 2016 elections. One was the defeat of a President who had only been in office for four years. Two, the NDC lost by about a million votes, which hadn't happened even under "darling" Rawlings. Last but not least, NPP held 69 more seats in parliament than the NDC, something that had not occurred since the 4th Republic except for the boycott of the 1992 parliamentary elections.

It seemed obvious from the signs that NPP will win the 2020 elections again. The Corona Virus interfered with the event's smooth flow and almost made the elections look ugly. After taking note of their mistakes, NDC ran one of the best campaigns. Following the prominence of free SHS in the 2016 elections, they engaged in a policy campaign against the NPP. The accomplishments of Mahama became comparable. Despite all odds, NDC managed to tie the 137-seat in the parliamentary. A triumph that demonstrates how powerful NDC has grown before the 2020 elections. Every NPP MP adopted the free SHS campaign as their standard campaign message, which caused many of them to become slothful and frivolous. NDC challenged NPP in a way that demonstrated its value in Ghana's election system. Without Nana Addo's first term and the degree of confidence Ghanaians had in him following the execution of the "Free SHS," Mahama may have easily launched a return in 2020.

Each political party is aiming for electoral success as the 2024 elections approach. The NPP wants to end the eight-year cycle of government that this Fourth Republic had experienced. The NDC wants to put an end to the NPP's current activities. Political observers will soon assess the two parties' chances of winning, as the dynamism is obvious. Mahama, who has only one term left to serve the people of Ghana, will most definitely run alongside NDC. To win beyond the eight-year term, NPP is looking to recruit a new flagbearer. Who wins the upcoming elections may depend significantly on the logical conclusions that can be drawn from the significant changes in our body politics and the EC's overall reforms, as well as the influence and power of the mainstream and social media.

If the NDC does not organize their party well in 2028, Mahama, in the rare event that he wins the 2024 elections, might complicate issues for the party. The chances of the NDC may be harmed if Ghanaians accept the idea that Mahama only has one term and that his success may be hindered. A fresh candidate, chosen by NDC and successfully marketed to Ghanaians before 2024, might perform even better. The NDC will probably win the elections in 2024, but not without some difficulty. They must exert control over the media using campaigns or messages that are based on policy, making sure that Ghanaians are made to identify with those policies. Additionally, the likelihood of NDC winning will increase if the current economic turbulence lasts until 2024. On the other side, NPP had to come up with strategies for carrying out a successful communication campaign. They also need to dominate the media and persuade Ghanaians without a shadow of a doubt that their additional nods will improve our fortunes. To outperform Mahama or whoever the NDC nominates, they must choose the most qualified candidate possible, paying particular attention to the pairings of their candidacies.

These two parties may soon have the toughest electoral success possibilities due to Ghanaians' growing social consciousness. Ghanaians desire to progress and a higher quality of life, and if these two political parties continue to mock them by promoting underdevelopment, societal unrest or acts of violence may eventually lead to the demise of the NDC and the NPP.

Isaac Ofori

(Demographer/Human Rights Activists/Unionist)