It's proven that in a presidential election less than one per cent of the electorate can determine the ultimate winner. For instance, the NDC won the last presidential election held on December 28, 2008 by 0.46%. Every single vote is significant in this context as well as the personality of the candidate in the forthcoming election in deciding who wins. As the political parties run the length and breadth of Ghana to convince the electorate, they do so with the aim of maximizing their overall vote count and your vote count. Whether a party can increase her vote count on the Election Day is determined by your choice. Your choice is a factor of party affiliation, social group allegiance, the candidate's personality, consideration of the issues or policy, political advertising and media coverage. Media coverage is increasingly becoming the lifeblood of politics by research as it shapes the perceptions that form the reality on which political action is based. The media is a major source of information the electorates have about political candidates. It is significant to note that how the media portrays candidates and political issues can elect or defeat leaders.
This notwithstanding, the personality of the candidate is a major factor in winning elections in recent times over political affiliation which hitherto was a dominate factor. “Personalities at work are like cars in the city: They often can keep us from our destination.” Pierce J. Howard. The media allows the candidate to communicate directly with voters via email, twitter, face book, skype, newspaper and radio. The media's reportage concentration on the personality of the candidate over other issues increasingly places the candidate at the center stage of political campaign and in effect victory. No wonder all sort of characters masquerade as media men, political analyst and pollsters spewing and churning out all manner of unscientific analysis, poll or research to sway voters to meet their parochial and paymasters' interest. Recently, the absurdity of the activity of such characters is common to the dismay of scientific analysts.
The personality of the candidate is so important that it explains why political candidates assume and fake all sort of behaviors and mantras, accolades and titles which do not necessary represent their ideals or values just for the sake of politics to lure or deceive the electorate. Do you recall accolades like asomdweehene, man of God, father-for-all and recently ahobrasiehene? It's laughable a man who recently jabbed a genuine counsel for circumspection “not to kill a fly with a sledge hammer” with “I will kill a fly with a bulldozer” response is now assuming the title ahobrasiehene. Dear voter, beware! The media allows the electorate to have a personal view about the candidates and their view on the issues. Any candidate who leaves this entirely to the media risk wrecking his campaign. This explains why Nana Addo's engagement with the electorate through his door to door campaign and increased use of the media are largely shaping the perception about him positively. It is his trump card in the forthcoming elections as it is becoming clear he has an impeccable personality having flashed out the propaganda infected NDC's attack. Nana Addo through his engagement is effectively creating personal attachment with the electorate and inspiring hope of his imminent good leadership if given their mandate.
Nana's door to door campaign has given the voter a firsthand experience of his personality, enabled him to provide information or policy direction, make arguments and raise issues relevant to his party, the electorate and the election. Even though, his door to door may not influence people with strong opinions for or against him, it can be a deciding factor among undecided voters who ultimately determine the winner in keenly contested presidential elections like the forthcoming. Given Nana's personality, the policy direction, track record of the NPP, coupling with the increased effort to carry their policy to the door step of the electorate, I believe the undecided voter and Ghanaians in general have the best option in Nana Addo and the NPP. Now the pendulum is tilted and let them stand the test. Nana has publicly declared he's not corrupt and so far not even his avowed critics have been able to dare or challenged him. The spotlight is on President Mahama, let him stand the test of integrity and morality. Contemporary political analysts are not surprised why all of a sudden the NDC is leading the campaign that the election is not about personality. Let it be told loud and clear and on all platforms to the electorate that it has always been about the personality rather not insults. If they cannot stand the personality test then they should throw in the towel.
Let no one make mistake, the stake is so high in the forthcoming election; increased suffering of the people due to a government which has poorly performed over the last four years but suddenly believes has the spark to win an election at all cost with the recruitment of fake security personal with the erroneous belief it's entitled to a second term, corrupt-ridden administration with record settlement of false claims against the state under the guise of judgment debts to party cronies and to their self-serving political interests, a national security outfit which rubbishes a secret tape that purports to recruit fake security personal with genuine national security ID's by the ruling government to terrorize or intimidate the electorate on election day, an opposition party which feels and rightly so that her supporters for far too long have been intimidated with no response from the security of the state and now declares “ all die be die” to explain their determination not to allow themselves to be intimidated further, an uncertain new and high tech electoral register which has never been tested or used in any election, an electoral commission which seems influenced and bent on increasing the number of constituencies with little preparation all in the name of gerrymandering. These amongst others are the challenges we face in the next elections. Let all NPP supporters work hard as never before and be prepared to defend the will of the people, knowing their vote counts.
Yaw Awuah Boadu Ayeboafo, [email protected] Tepa-Ashanti