It will be very unwise for one to, in any game, adopt a strategy of relying on the mistakes of your opponent to win. What if your opponent does not make those mistakes? Politics is one such game.
In elections worldwide, the incumbent government and the opposition parties rely on the political mistakes of each group to gain votes. However, the onus of ensuring that you have your own strategies as a first line of winning lies on the opposition parties.
This is the situation Ghana's main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) currently finds itself.
If the NDC casts its mind back to the months leading up to the 2000 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, it would realise that the then opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), had its own strategy of winning the elections.
It then capitalised on the mistakes the NDC government made.
While the NDC may have its internal strategies towards winning the 2008 elections, it has woefully failed to capitalise on the mistakes of the NPP government, that by analysing and exposing to Ghanaians certain policies the NPP had promised to implement but failed to do so.
What the NDC needs to bear in mind is that their prime targets should be the floating voters, not the core supporters of the NDC or the NPP. Capitalising on the mistakes of the NPP does not necessarily mean having weekly press conferences. When the press conferences are held frequently, the media and the floating voters may have press conference fatigue.
We must explain our emphasis on the need to aim one's message at the floating voters. No matter what the NDC will say, their core supporters will always believe, to be the full truth and vote for them. The core supporters of the NPP will not believe in any merit of whatever the NDC would say and would never vote for them. These are some of the reasons why the floating voters are crucial if a political party wants to win the elections.
The NPP are likely to commit some political mistakes in the run-up to the 2008 elections than it in the months leading up to the 2004 elections. The internal struggle within the NPP as President Kufuor completes his second and final four-term of office has the potential to weaken the party.
An aspect of the struggle will be how the nearly 20 presidential aspirants verbally attack each other, to the extent that whoever is elected as the NPP's 2008 flagbearer would be a weakened target for the NDC campaign machinery.
Another aspect will be how the various high profile supporters of the leading aspirants will engage each other.
Credible reports have it that there is such hatred among some of these groups that they would prefer the NDC's candidate, Prof. J.E.A. Mills to win than some of the aspirants.
The NPP, being a human institution will make political mistakes. However the NDC should regard these as bonuses than part of the main strategy.
Culled from The Daily Dispatch.