Ghana's fledgling democracy will once again be put to test as two leading political parties; the CPP and NPP go to Congress this month to elect their presidential candidates for the 2008 general elections and other national officers. The CPP goes to Congress this Saturday whilst the NPP follows the ensuing week. For the CPP six candidates are seeking the endorsement of delegates to be the standard bearer whilst 17 aspirants are contesting the NPP Presidential slot.
The NDC, the largest opposition has already elected its presidential candidate in the person of Professor Atta Mills. The PNC another opposition party three weeks ago elected its three-time presidential candidate, Dr. Edward Mahama to again contest the December 2008 election.
Should the Congresses of the CPP and NPP come off successfully; the race will then be about set for the 2008 general election. It is no gain saying Ghanaians are eagerly waiting for whomever the CPP and NPP will decide on to make a definite choice or determine who their votes will go to come December 2008.
No matter who the two parties choose at their congresses, everything points to a very keen and gruelling contest as to who rules the nation after President Kufuor, who to some people has set a very high standard for the office of the President. There is indeed a lot at stake in the 2008 general elections.
With the NPP and NDC getting the mandate of Ghanaians two terms in succession to rule the country, we are yet to see whether the pendulum will swing to another party this time other than the NPP and NDC.
Whatever it is, the litmus test will be how best the various parties present themselves through their manifestoes. The excruciating in the country and the high cost of living vis-à-vis how the parties will solve them will indeed inform the decision of the electorate.
For the NPP, NDC, Ghanaians have tasted the proverbial water and drink and definitely known which is heavier.
Sweet talks and fanciful promises will not do the trick this time but their track record. For the CPP and PNC as well as the other minority parties most Ghanaians are yet to determine the stuff they are made off.
The nearest choice we can make is the CPP which was at the helm of affairs in the first Republic. Even that, its been a long time since and most of the youth who form the majority of the electorate were then not yet born.
It is up to the party to tell Ghanaians through words and deeds that it has not lost a single bit of its organisational prowess which saw them winning independence for the country from British colonial rule.
Even though it is too early in the day to start forging alliances, it is high time the smaller parties especially those who lay claim to the Nkrumaist tradition are told in the face that unless they put their forces together and come under one umbrella, they should not be disappointed should victory elude them again this time.
The must shed their individual parochial interests and merge forces to be more attractive to the electorate. As we reach the crossroad in our political dispensation, there will be no room for sickerings and parochialism.
The parties must put their acts together and determine where their strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are and strategise accordingly. The race to the castle in 2008 will definitely not be for the swift but the pragmatic, people oriented political tradition and effective strategist.
BY: JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST.