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18.04.2007 Feature Article

THE DECEMBER 2008 ELECTIONS AND DEMOCRATIC CONSOLIDATION IN GHANA

The 2008 general elections in Ghana will perhaps be the most critical in our history in the sense that the entire world will be watching to see whether or not we have the capacity for “political party alternation” and “democratic consolidation”. The extent to which we as a country have achieved these “democratic” credentials will be tested as never before and analyzed by democracy experts worldwide.

“Political party alternation” simply refers to the change from one party to the other in elections. It is generally accepted that Ghana passed the “political party alternation” test by virtue of the electoral victory of Mr. J.A. Kuffour and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2000 elections in tandem with the unprecedented peaceful transfer of political power from then president, J.J Rawlings and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). This catapulted Ghana to the top of democratic nations in Africa and attracted an unparalleled amount of international goodwill.

It should be noted that “political party alternation” or political power change had been advocated by the United Nations, with former Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, tooting its virtues in treatises and numerous speeches to political leaders.
Mr. Annan, the UN, and development partners saw “political party alternation” as a viable panacea to our culture of political instability. Students of democracy argue that democracy without prospects of “political party alternation” leads to lack of accountability, venal-maladministration and economic decline. These are all problems confronting Ghana today!

The reasons for the attribution of exceptional virtues to political party alternation are not difficult to find. The advantages of incumbency in Ghana, just like in other developing countries, are so overwhelming that unless the populace consciously seeks the alternation of political parties, they stand the risk of having a quasi one-party state with the same party succeeding itself and ruling for long periods of time. The only hope for the alternation of power in such a situation is through popular revolts when misrule reaches a crisis stage. The good people of Ghana must not lose sight of this as we approach the 2008 elections.

It should therefore go without saying that the logical progression of Ghana's success in “political party alternation” in 2000 should be “democratic consolidation” in 2008. Hence the NPP's victories in the 2000 and 2004 electoral contests must be followed by a victory by any other party but the NPP in 2008 in order to consolidate our democracy. As experts have posited, democracy is consolidated when a polity passes a “two-turn-over test that is, a government losses an election, the opposition wins it and then, next time, loses power”.

Ghanaians have a unique opportunity to pass the last democracy test by voting Prof. John Evans Atta Mills and the NDC (as the only other viable political party in Ghana today) into power. This is the only way we can ensure that the all-important mechanism to change government peacefully has been accepted by the leading political players.

In this context, the NPP's determination to do everything in its power to retain the presidency of Ghana in 2008 must be seen as leading Ghana down a very dangerous path. By a very convenient calculation the NPP argues that the NDC held power for about 20 years, therefore the NPP "deserves" to hold on to power for "at least" 20 years also. First, this is factually incorrect: the NDC held power for only eight years (1992 – 2000). More importantly, the NPP would appear to be proposing a series of de-facto "sequential one party states", where any party that wins the presidency uses the power of incumbency to perpetuate its rule irrespective of its performance.

The electorate must know that the incumbent NPP government will act in the impending electoral campaign only in furtherance of its own immediate interests without taking into consideration the Ghanaian polity as a whole.

SOURCE: THE NORTH AMERICA COMMITTEE TO ELECT PROF. JOHN EVANS ATTA MILLS PRESIDENT OF GHANA IN 2008

Prof. Kwaku Danso-Boafo, ([email protected]) Coordinator. Mba Atinga, Administrator; William Antwi, Esq. Legal Counsel, Sarah Mills Okaikoi, Treasurer.

USA REPS:
Adeline Effiah Otsen, Akpalu Sevor, Appiah Twumasi Ankrah, Assan Mensah, Ato Kwamina Essel, Atto Commey, Augustine Arthur, Christabel Agbozo, Christina Appiah Ankrah, Daniel Dankwa, Daniel Wiafe, Dora Essel-Mensah, Douglas Amagyei, Douglas Nyarko, Emmanuel Mills, Eric Appiah Ankrah, Eric Fosu, Felix Acquah, George Doe,
George Fifi Hall, George Ofori Attram, Gideon Gawu, Gifty D. Armah, Gilbert Kubayanda, Johnson R. Quartey, Jonathan Baffour, Justice Awuku, Karlien Adoku, Kenneth Prosper, Kingsley Addie, Kingsley Ofosu Ampofo, Kojo Aggor, Kwaku Anna, Kwaku Ayitey, Kwasi Kplivi, Lawrence Tsimesi, Lawyer Yakah, Dr. Manboah Rockson,
Mary Brantley, Matilda Ablorh, Michael Odonkor, Mohamed Abdallah, Dr. Mohamed Iddrisu, Mr Colecraft, Musah Abdallah, Nick Mante, Nii Ashi-Boi, Percy Eshun, Ramatu Abdulai, Richard Appiah, Sabina Aggor, Saka Coleman, Samuel Boison, Samuel Dagadu, Selom Aggor, Simon Ocloo, Tony Xatse, Vivian Ayorkor Coleman, Yaa Fosua Asare, Yaw Frimpong, Zack Agyekum.

CANADA REPS:
Hon. Akuamoa Ofosu Boateng, Eugene Agben, Yusif Moro.

ASIA REPS:
Attisogbui Elikpim

EU REPS:
Edmund Ackah

The North America Committee
The North America Committee, © 2007

This author has authored 2 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: Thenorthamericacommittee

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