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Opinion | Nov 24, 2018

Will Ghana Have A New President After 2020 Election?

Will Ghana Have A New President After 2020 Election?

Recently, some supporters of the ruling party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) including traders (Spare parts dealers), market women, nurses etc openly chastised President Akufo Addo and his administration over the hardship they taking Ghanaians through. Their open attack and expression of disappointment is seen as a signal that a section of those who celebrated President Akufo Addo's victory in 2016 are now turning against the President. The 2016 election results made Nana seemed invincible. However few months before the 2020 battle, Nana seems unbeatable no longer- if the opposition is United and sells the right message.

In politics, even a week is enough to swing voters, either in favour or against. There is a strong belief that the NPP may lose significant votes in some of its strongholds. However, it is also a reality that a significant number of NPP-voters in NPP strongholds will prefer the parliamentary candidates over their Presidential candidate. This means the people may reject Candidate Akufo Addo in the Presidential election but will vote for the NPP parliamentary candidate(s).

Also, the political background in the country has undergone an overall change. The NPP is no longer operating within its Akan enclave- it is gradually unfurling its wings in the strongholds of the NDC under Akufo Addo's leadership.

Opposition unity is gradually emerging as a wall against the NPP, and the ruling party is well aware of it. This was evident from President Akufo Addo's recent speeches where he launched a full attack against former President John Mahama and the NDC. Opposition unity mainly remains a headache for the NPP and the President demonstrated that in his recent speeches telling his audience that the NDC will collapse before the 2020 election. The President's credibility in his strongholds is waning.

Rising fuel prices, instability of the national currency, rising unemployment, failure of government to fulfil its promises, corruption and procurement laws breaches etc remain a challenge. The Akufo Addo government has some months to redeem itself so it is too early to conclude that Ghana will have a new President. But the truth is the NPP will be facing a strong challenge in 2020 from a United opposition and doubt over the promises of good days made by the NPP during its 2016 election campaign.

What the Akufo Addo government will be hoping to achieve in 2020 election is thus unprecedented. In 2004, nobody gave any chance to the NDC, the party was, like today, at its lowest ever ebb. Yet the NDC bounced back, upstanding the NPP but the NPP massaged the results and called it from the seat of government. Can the NDC take heart from 2004 and 2008 and stage a come back in 2020?' To answer this, one needs to study the performance of the NDC in two periods: a) 1992 -2000 and b)2004 -2016. The first period was definitely the era the NDC dominated politics in the country. Even though its vote share fluctuated but the trend line was always above 50%. But the second period between 2004 and 2008 saw a drop, both in terms of votes and seat share in spite of the inroads the party made. In the 2012 election, the party made significant progress in terms of votes and seats share. In the 2016 election saw a steep decline, both in terms of vote share and seat share.

The other issue to be kept in mind while doing the assessment, it the message and promises the incumbent made and how they affected the performance of the NDC. The ruling government is going through serious governance challenges because of the promises they made in opposition. The administration has so far borrowed close to GHC 50 billion but cannot point to a single project implemented from it. The Mahama administration in its four years borrowed a little over Ghc 40billion which was described by the NPP as economic madness. The administration constructed roads, hospitals, schools etc from the amount. We should also look at the body language of organisations who supported the NPP in opposition. IMANI Africa, Spare parts dealers, GUTA, Trainee Nurses Association, Concerned Drivers, Nurses, Teachers, Galamsey operators etc who supported the NPP in opposition are currently at loggerheads with the administration because of its policies, corruption in government, procurement law breaches, arrogance of appointees and government's insensitivity. The NPP will find it extremely difficult to repeat its 2016 performance in some of its strongholds and the grains it will make in its strongholds may not be enough to bridge the deficit in the Volta, Central, Greater Accra and the three Northern Regions by the NDC.

The NDC is expected to win back some seats it lost to the NPP in the 2016 election in the Central, Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions especially. The party lost those seats due to internal factors. The recent enthusiasm seen at President Mahama's campaign indicates that the people in these regions have resolved to vote back the NDC

Much of its victory will depend of the person they elect to lead the party. The party can win if it makes some changes and gets into campaign mode on a war footing immediately. One, anoint the right candidate. The best bet right now is John Mahama.

John Mahama has several things going for him. First, he is still young. Second his own record including his projects, policies and investments policies, the way he talks, his mannerisms, his sharp razor intellect make him seem sharp and connect better to an average Ghanaian than his contenders, Third, he has strong support base in NPP strongholds. Governance has become difficult for Nana Addo because of the Governance standard set by Mahama. Ghanaians are measuring Nana by the Mahama standard and what he delivered in office. The NDC doesn't need a new face to defend these wonderful achievements when the man who made that possible is around to defend them.

The NDC should not rest its hopes and base its message on NPP's failure. Yes, it is good to focus on the issues that have hurt people. But the party's machinery must expose the lies the NPP told Ghanaians about their party and officials including Mr Mahama and prove to Ghanaians why the current President isn't incorruptible.

The party must come with its own story. It isn't enough to always criticise the incumbent. What would John Mahama do differently when he takes over the second time? Will he open the economy further? Will he complete the projects and get all the remaining communities Day Secondary schools? Will he bring relief to the traders? Something he discussed with the Abossey okai spare parts dealers before the 2016 election? Will he continue his genuine corruption fight?

In 2016, there are going to be first-time voters and new voters who are not sure who to vote for. How to make gains in this constituency should be the party's focus.

Andrews Krow
Andrews Krow, © 2018

This author has authored 97 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: AndrewsKrow

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