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25.12.2008 Feature Article


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The outcome of the December 7th polls didn't come as a surprise to many watchers of the Ghanaian political scene. The defeat of NPP had been on the wall for a long time. It was only arrogance , greed, corruption, insensitivity to the plight of ordinary Ghanaians who gave them the mandate to govern, that blinded them from seeing the reality and responding to the many warning signs. Way back in November 2005, I wrote an articl;e on titled "Predicting a Difficult Election for the NPP in December 2008" , sent copies to the party bosses at the Headoffice and in the Castle but perhaps nobody bordered to read let alone digest on the policy recommendations. I followed up with another article titled " Is The Party of Danquah\Busia on the Path to Self destrauction?" again nobody paid attention. In the meantime corruption in and out of government increased, and when people drew the tourist president's attention to it his response was to ask Ghanaians to go to the police with the evidence. Phew! He even insulted all Ghanains by calling us lazy ! Cocaine flourished, seized cocaine in the custody of the police either vanished or turned into konkonte powder, millions of dollars vanished unaccounted for at [email protected] secretariat, government acquired vehicles were sold to party functionaries at ridiculous prices, accountability to the suffering masses were not rendered. And the likes of Kwadwo Mpianim are still calling the shots, Wereko Brobbey walks free, and so are the Ananes, the Edumadzes, Kwamena Bartels, Moctar Bambas, Amoako Tuffours, etc, etc, etc. It speaks volumes that in the 8 years of Kuffour's administration not even a single government functionary or party member was prosecuted. The sins of this government in 8years perhaps exceeds that of all previous governments combined. Ghanainas want NPP to account for its 8 years of stewardship and the only way to get that is through a CHANGE in government, a change in the presidency come January 7th. 2009. I would like to hear the voice of the new President elect thunder on the airwaves announcing 'CHANGE HAS COME TO GHANA'.

In June this year I wrote an article in which I boldly predicted the outcome of the December 28th polls. In that article I wrote that Ghana's democracy is ready for prime time but it won't get there unless parliament is strengthened to play its watchdog role over the executive branch effectively. Our president I argued is just too powerful under the 1992 constitution and needs a strong parliament to effectively restrain him not a rubber stamped one. I argued that the only way to do that under our current circumstances is to have a split government with the presidency controlled by one party and parliament by another party. My prediction then was that NDC would win the presidency and NPP would retain control of parliament. It turned out the ther way( well maybe not quite as it isn't over yet). For me the only surprising thing about the December 7th polls results was WHY MILLS DIDN'T WIN AN OUTRIGHT MAJORITY OF VOTES CAST IN THE FIRST ROUND? With wins in 7 out of 10 regions and NDC 's parliamentary majority, Mills should have carried the day in my opinion. Maybe something went terribly wrong in the copilation and the computation of the presidential results in the EC strong room. That calls for absolute vigilance in the 2nd round to ensure a transparent polls which are free and fair. I am reproducing my earlier article written in June 2008 below for readers ;

NDC Captures The Presidency as NPP Retains Control of Parliament. (reprinted-originally posted June 2008)

This will be the likely outcome of the 2008 General Elections in GHANA if it is free and fair according to my research. While many dread such an outcome. I am all for it. Why? Because I think that will be the best thing ever happened to our democracy. It will strengthen Parliament to play its critical role in Nation building. The current Parliament is too weak to play any effective role in national development. It has abandoned its role as a check on Executive power. It is not performing its role of being the controller of the purse rather it exist to just rubber stamp Executive acts without any critical examination and debate. It fails to check abuses, it does not invite Ministers to Parliament for hearings, and has no power to act when people like Wereko Brobbey treat the house with contempt. A parliament controlled by the opposition is our su rest bet in reducing governmental corruption.

My conviction of the outcome of the 2008 general elections is based on the fact that 52% to 48% advantage enjoyed by the NPP in the last presidential elections has been eroded by failure of government to honour its promises, rise in poverty, the energy crisis, armed robbers terrorising people, large army of unemployed youths which the NPP led government has failed to create jobs for etc, etc. In addition to the above, whereas between 2000 and 2004 NPP won all bye elections (whether the seat was originally NPP's or NDC's) , the results were different between 2004 and 2008. The NPP was able to retain its own seats and lost the NDC seats they contested. Interestingly, the NDC retained all its seats in a bye election with a wider margin of votes than in the 2004 elections (In Asawase and in Odododiodoo) whereas the NPP retained all its seats with a lesser margin than it did in 2004.

My conclusion is that, whereas these gain in votes for the opposition NDC is crucial it is not enough to wrestle Parliamentary seats from the ruling NPP come 2008. However, and this is the BIGGIE assuming all those who vote for a parliamentary candidate of a party also votes for its presidential candidate, these aggregate gains in votes in various constituencies across the country where NDC candidates lost to NPP will all add up to bolster the total votes cast in favour of the NDC presidential candidate given him an edge over the NPP's candidate and thus securing the presidency for the NDC in 2008. A first round win of 51% to about 47% is possible. The maths doesn't add up, right? The remaining 2% is for CPP and the other smaller parties.

Real Patriot has this to add :
The Real Debate is about Ghana:
It's not about theories and long discussions about what the NPP will do or the NDC will. It's about LIVING EVIDENCE regarding:

1. Where the P/NDC brought Ghana from;
2. Where the NPP has taken it since January, 2001.
The relevant question, then is:
Did the P/NDC improve the lives of the average Ghanaian and at the same time made Ghana a more respectable country at the level it found it;

Has the NPP improved further on the lives of the average Ghanaian and at the same time made Ghana a more respectable country at the level it found it?

Evidence One (living conditions of the average Ghanaian) is on the ground in Ghana.

Evidence Two (Ghana's image abroad) is interpreted by the respect, or lack of, she enjoys in the rest of the world.

Fortunately, both the NDC and NPP have these records we can fall on.

Also, the presidential candidate for each party h as a record of his own with which to assess his ability.

Ben Ofosu-Appiah, Tokyo, Japan.
The author is a public policy expert, a senior social and political analyst based in Tokyo, Japan. He welcomes your comments.

Ben Ofosu-Appiah
Ben Ofosu-Appiah, © 2008

The author has 133 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: BenOfosuAppiah

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