2016 election: NPP’s slogans were better than the NDC’s – Spio-Garbrah admits
Presidential hopeful, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has admitted that his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost the 2016 presidential election partly because NDC’s campaign messages were not packaged skillfully to make them memorable to voters.
The NDC big shot is convinced the poorly packaged message of the NDC resonated less with electorates when compared to that of the party’s main contender in the crucial 2016 elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), thereby tilting support of the masses towards the NPP.
“The NPP I think they did a good job of sloganeering – packaging their messages in easy-to-remember rhyme; the kind of things that ten or fifteen-year-old kids can remember.
“One village one dam…these things were easy to remember and those things were also forward-looking. ‘If you vote for us these are the things we will do for you in the future’. In contrast our [NDC] communication was more or less, backward-looking – ‘these are things we have done for you, we have built roads, we’ve build hospitals, schools, we have built bridges so please vote for us again’ and the people connected more with ‘what we shall do for you if you vote for us’,” he acknowledged.
This will be the first time an NDC stalwart has admitted that NPP’s slogans were better than the NDC’s.
NDC communicators had criticised and mocked these same slogans – One-District-One-Factory, One-Village-One-Dam etc – as populist and unattainable in the run-up to the 2016 general elections.
“You could probably remember the slogan of one party perhaps a little bit easier than the other party. Our [NDC] slogans, whether ‘ehejorbodorr’ or ‘Onaapo’, did not really mean much in terms of the physical words themselves,” Dr. Spio-Grabrah avered.
He, however, states some of NPP’s catchy slogans have been misleading.
Citing the One-District-One-Factory as an example, he said the policy was presented as one that will be government-led. According to him, the current Public Private Partnership (PPP) garment that the campaign promise has been clothed with is deceptive.
He made the remark when he was featured as the sole guest on nightly current affairs TV programme, Good Evening Ghana, hosted by Paul Adom Otchere, Thursday.
But poor communication strategy was not the only reason the then incumbent NDC lost the elections in which former President John Mahama was fiercely seeking re-election.
According to the former Trade Minister, there are as many as fifteen other reasons why the NDC lost abysmally at the 2016 presidential election that brought President Nana Akufo-Addo to the Flagstaff House – there was also poor campaign structure.
Dr Spio-Grabrah, who is working to lead the NDC in the 2020 polls, also cited a failure by the 2016 NDC campaign team to adequately involve the party’s hierarchy in “holding and managing the campaign”, revealing that some unnamed individuals created “alternative or parallel rules” to the rules which the NDC top hierarchy had put in place.
“There were different groups taking money to organise the campaign,” he said, thereby robbing the 2016 NDC campaign the capacity to forge ahead as a united front.
“According to the party, this prevented the party itself from taking fuller hold and control of the campaign…” he said.
Dr. Spio-Grabrah’s diagnosis of the cause of NDC’s defeat is largely consistent with revelations in a leaked report that was commissioned to look into the same matter.
The leaked Professor Kwesi Botchwey Committee Report revealed that NDC polling agents were fed by the NPP on election day.
The 455-page report observed that NDC polling agents employed to protect the integrity of the exercise were left hungry, with no party executive readily available to address their concerns.
An NDC polling agent, Mumin Razak, also confirmed to Joy News party agents were denied food and there was nobody they could talk to.
“Everybody was an ‘oga’, everybody was an ‘ogboro’,” he said of party executives.