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20.03.2009 Feature Article

The NPP has a Better than 50% Chance to Win in 2012

The NPP has a Better than 50% Chance to Win in 2012

In Ghana, parties in power typically lose votes and seats in the next election. Equally important, no party in power has been able to win in the second round of an election in Ghana. These are the reasons why the NPP has to re-unite, re-organise and pick the right leadership because they have a very good chance to win again in 2012.

In the first elections of the 4th Republic, Mr. Rawlings won the Presidency with 58%. Let's put the controversies and protests from the NPP aside. In 1996, Mr. Rawlings again won with 57%. In 2000, Mr. Kufuor won the Presidency with 57% albeit in the second round, having won the 1st round but coming up short of the 50% mark required for a one-touch win, as required by the constitution. In 2004, he won again but this time with about 53%, in the first round. In 2008, Mr. Mills won with about 50.2% in the 2nd round, although he came in 2nd in the 1st round. The parliamentary seat wins/losses follow similar patterns - the party in power almost always loses parliamentary seats in the next election. The reverse is also true - the party out of power almost always picks up more votes and parliamentary seats while out of power.

The simple fact is that Mr. Mills came to power with the slimmest margin of support of any of our recent Presidents. He simply has little room to bleed support. Coupled with the evidence that most parties in power bleed votes and seats in the next election, the money should be on the likelihood that the NDC will lose in 2012.

The reasons why parties tend to bleed votes and seats while in power in Ghana are not hard to come by. Ghana is a poor country. We import more than we export. In simple economic terms, we sell raw materials while many other countries add value to those materials, add their margins and then sell us those finished products. Our trade deficit situation is fundamental and will always put downward pressure on our currency, relative standard of living while putting pressure on our debt situation and ability to improve the relative standard of living in the world.

Perhaps we may be lucky that our raw material production will significantly increase in value say through the production of oil. And, if we keep increasing significant foreign exchange transfers from our emigrants and investors while diversifying and adding more value to our raw materials before exporting them, we may be able to fix the fundamental trade deficit situation in the future. Loans and foreign aids are not sustainable and long-term solutions.

So, while in power, it does not take too much to disappoint so many people, even one's own supporters. The sight of government officials and MPs riding in nice cars and befriending beautiful girls alone while so many see their lots not moving in any positive direction is often enough to bleed significant votes and seats over 4 years. Former supporters either sit on the fence and not vote or may even join the Change chorus and vote for opposition parties.

Therefore, if I was advising Mr. Mills politically (and, I am sure the power has already gotten into his head and he is not contemplating any vulnerability right now), I will tell him he has to do what has not been done before to win in 2012. He has to actually increase or hold the votes he got in 2009. However, already, I see he is busy seizing cars, harassing and demeaning the guy who helped him the most win because of he joined the infighting in the NPP family - President Kufuor and threatening to put NPP people in jail, instead of working real hard to improve the lot of the legion of poor people in Ghana.

These are some of the reasons why I believe that President Mills and the NDC are likely to lose in 2012. Such a scenario is also why I think that Nana Akufo-Addo may be retained by the NPP congress as a well-known candidate, despite some serious errors made by his campaign. I hear people say Nana cannot win. I think such statements are not based on any evidence. Of the last two Presidents we have had, each of them lost a general election before winning the Presidency. Nana is therefore not alone in losing a general election and still having a chance to win the Presidency. In fact, unfortunately, losing a general election seems to be a pre-requisite to winning the Presidency in Ghana.

All the NPP needs is that the PFP/Kufuor/Alan K bloc (please do not deny the fact of blocs – every party in the world has them) has to understand that they have revenged Victor Owusu's 1979 loss that many of them blame on the Akyems/UNC/Akufo-Addo bloc. They significantly contributed to Nana's loss in 2009. It is now time to unite behind whoever wins, except that Alan K has to pay his dues to party and show he is committed to the party by helping another person in an election before he may have his chance to lead the party again. His nomination in 2012 is one of the only few sure reasons why the NPP will lose in 2012. He alone simply cannot unite the NPP until he has atoned for his actions in 2008. And, please don't dump Nana with Alan K. Nana paid his dues and dutifully supported President Kufuor, when the latter won the nomination in 1996 & 2000.

The NPP cannot run away from fairness and kowtow to any of its wings and so elect a so elect a so-called compromise candidate because Alan K/Kufuor's wing will sabotage Nana's side, if Nana wins. Many like my good friend and great writer Prince Ankami buy into this. However, I think such an action will be kowtowing to the whims of one bloc in the party and that cannot be allowed to happen. Let's promote candidates on their merits and not out of fear. I can assure you that if the PFP/Kufuor/Alan K's wing do such a thing again, the NPP may be damaged forever. The score in terms of each wing costing the other an election is 1 - 1. Let both sides quit and unite or we will end up in a vicious cycle. I hope the council of elders will sit the leaders of both sides down and talk some sense into them because neither side can ever win by itself.

So, as I have already been writing and advising the NPP to be really prudent in choosing the right candidate for 2012, I have further shown that the NPP may have a great chance to win in 2012 because President Mills is busy on things that will not help many of the voters much and history suggest he will bleed some votes and seats in 2012. The only thing that will surely save the NDC in 2012 is if the NPP ends up in an intractable intra-party warfare, worse than what happened in 2007/2008. That scenario, I doubt, though, will happen in the NPP. I am sure the NPP will choose the right candidate, albeit after a spirited contest, knowing full well that they have a great chance to win back power in 2012. Also, President Mills and the NDC's oppression and divisiveness alone will probably unite the NPP more than anything else.

Prince Ofosu Sefah
Prince Ofosu Sefah, © 2009

This author has authored 27 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: PrinceOfosuSefah

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