The Assin North Experience in 2024

Feature Article The Assin North Experience in 2024

The by-election in the Assin North constituency is not a good gauge for measuring the rejection of the ruling party. It is not unusual for a political party to retain its seat in a by-election. Political parties in the past retained their seats that were recontested. The Assin North by-election was extraordinary because it is a seat both parties had won in the past, so it could have been lost to the ruling party. It is not a "controlled seat" for any of the two major parties.

The New Patriotic Party elected a new candidate to contest the by-election. The new candidate failed to maintain the votes obtained in the parliamentary elections by the party in the 2020 general elections. This made the situation appear as if the NDC was overwhelmingly endorsed in the constituency, a sign that the people have lost confidence in the NPP. The outcome of the by-election in the Assin North Constituency corroborates the typical experience of most by-elections in the country.

The New Patriotic Party performed poorly in the by-election compared to the contest in the 2020 parliamentary elections. In the 2020 elections, the NPP candidate garnered 14,193 votes, but the party’s votes dropped drastically to 12,630. Analysts have attributed such a phenomenon to apathy in the camp of the NPP. And that is clearly highlighted in the results or votes obtained by the party—a loss of 1,563 votes in the by-election. Does that constitute a precursor to victory in 2024?

No! The National Democratic Congress’ candidate in the by-election marginally lost some votes that were insignificant enough to cause a loss of the election. The candidate could not obtain extra votes compared to the votes the same candidate obtained in the 2020 parliamentary elections. In 2020, Hon. James Gyakye Quayson obtained 17,498 votes but had 17,245 votes in the by-election, losing 253 votes in the by-election.

The New Patriotic Party will present a new presidential candidate for the 2024 presidential elections. This is similar to the Assin North situation because the new candidate will contest with a former President who contested the 2020 presidential elections. The New Patriotic Party’s candidate will be new to the voters: his ideas and personality will be new to them.

The New Patriotic Party’s candidate, who will be chosen later this year, must maintain the votes obtained by the party’s presidential candidate in the 2020 general elections or beat the over 6 million votes garnered by the current President. The circumstances surrounding the two elections may not be the same, as the NDC’s parliamentary candidate received sympathy from the public, including people from the opposition.

The New Patriotic Party will have to lose votes from its members because they are less motivated to participate in the voting process to create an opportunity for the NDC to win the 2024 elections. The issues that caused the NPP members in the Assin North Constituency to lose interest in the by-election may not be felt in 2024. So, the NDC must not be complacent in strategizing for the 2024 elections.

The Assin North experience is relevant to both parties in developing a strategy for the 2024 elections. The New Patriotic Party must be prompted to alter the strategy it used in the by-election. The NPP’s presidential candidate must not perform badly like the candidate who represented the party in the just ended by-election. The NDC cannot win the 2024 elections on a silver platter, as it did in the Assin North by-election, by relying on the frustrations and apathy of the voting public. It will be dangerous to underrate the new presidential candidate of the NPP.

The Assin North by-election is not a significant sample, or circumstance to predict the choice of the people of Ghana in the 2024 elections. Parliamentary elections, especially by-elections, have more predictable characteristics than most presidential elections in Ghana.

Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Economics Tutor, Advocate and Religion Enthusiast.

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024