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The Balmy Up Of Ghana's Elections 2008

Sat, 17 Mar 2007 Source: GNA

(A GNA feature by Francis Ameyibor)

Accra, March 17, GNA - Ghana's fifth consecutive general elections under the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution is about 22 months away but the various political parties, especially the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have set their electoral machinery at the temperate stage for the December 2008 general elections.

The parties intend to seek the mandate of Ghanaians for yet another phase of our democratic milestone.

But before the airwaves choked with political jingles and the street corners start fluttering with party posters, flags and other campaign materials and platforms are mounted, the Electoral Commission (EC) is laying the first blocks to ensure a peaceful, transparent and free election.

The EC is the constitutional body charged with registering voters, conducting and supervising elections and has the overall responsibility for a successful electoral process.


Political pundits predict Elections 2008 to be crucial, especially in all respects as it would serve as Verdict Day for both NDC and NPP to face the Political Judge (Electorate) to pronounce judgement on their eight years political governance of the country - 1993 to 2000 and 2001 to 2008 respectively.

The various Political Parties would be offered the platform to defend their actions and inactions, show evidence how they could not fulfil their previous electoral promises and put forward fresh facts in their manifestoes to persuade the Judge to sentence their clients (Presidential Candidates) to another four-year jail term at the Osu Medium Prisons (Castle).

They will also attempt to provide evidence to persuade the Judge to incarcerate their opponents perpetually in Hell (Opposition) for four years with hard labour to learn the rudiment of good governance, tenents of democracy and adherence to constitutional order.

In other words Elections 2008 will serve as electoral barometer for determination of the fortunes of the NPP's quest to retain power at the Castle for another four-year term or the NDC's bid to dislocate the ruling NPP and democratically take-over the reins of governance of the country once again.

The third option that Elections 2008 offers Ghanaians would be to test the potency of the smaller parties - Convention People's Party (CPP); People's National Convention (PNC); and Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP).


Political Watchers are keenly monitoring the pastime activities of some leading members of "ghost political parties," - Mr Goosie Tanoh's, National Reform Party (NRP); Mr Danny Ofori Attah's, EAGLE Party; Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby's, United Ghana Movement (UGM).

Most Political Experts, whom Ghana News Agency spoke to, dismissed the potency of new political parties in the political arena; it would be a miracle for any of the new parties to win even a parliamentary seat. At best they will serve as Political Pressure groups to shape the fortunes of the two leading parties as well as reduce the electoral temperature with some comic respite.


There are undercurrents in every election and these tend to inform voters, decision on voting day. While some may be compelled to vote explicitly on the basis of region or tribe, others may be more nationalistic and be informed by the general conditions prevailing in the country and whether the party in power or the contending parties have the guts to deal with nagging national problems.

Conscious of these undercurrents, Captain Nkrabea Effah-Dartey (RTD)), NPP Member of Parliament for Berekum in the Brong Ahafo region, has said a strong local government, maintenance of law and order as well as human resource development should be the party's priority to ensure the country's rapid development.

Capt Effah-Dartey who is vying for the NPP's Presidential slot for Elections 2008 said, "no country could progress without a sound and quality education, discipline and effective participation in decision making at the local level."

To the NDC's leading member, Mr Eddie Annan, the party had a bright chance to win the elections because the ruling NPP had failed to continue the legacy bequeathed to them in 2001.

He said the NDC during its tenure of office (1993 to 2000) established the needed infrastructure, including schools, roads, hospitals, water and rehabilitated the ports and what was left was the creation of jobs to bring economic freedom to the people. But unfortunately according to Mr Annan, the NPP is throwing many people out of job thereby impoverishing many Ghanaians, stressing: "NPP is killing the already existing jobs and putting Ghanaians on the streets."

The astute businessman said: "NDC was seeking the leadership of the country because the party has the ability to create jobs for the people."

"We have done it before and when given the mandate we can create more jobs to bring smiles back on the faces of Ghanaians."

On his part, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, a leading member of NDC considers comments by media houses affiliated to the party, especially, as crucial for the maintenance of unity within the party.

He postulated that those media houses should be held responsible when their comments created tensions and marred the cordial and peaceful relationships that had existed within the party.

Dr Spio-Garbrah noted that the media in the country had no problem with the NDC, but had problems with some members of the party and gave the assurance that the party would enjoy a new media-NDC relationship in the coming years

"NDC would be ready to apologise to any media house or person if the party is notified that it had not conducted itself well in its relationship with the journalist or media house," he stressed. Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy, an NPP Presidential Aspirant says, if elected as the party's flag-bearer and voted into power, his administration would fight corruption within the political parties. "The public perception that a few anonymous people with money, irrespective of how it is acquired, can buy nomination is undermining public confidence in our political process.

"The observation that the primary processes of our political parties might be corrupt could produce leaders, who lack the legitimacy, respect or moral authority to lead our nation.

"We must therefore stop making it almost impossible for people to succeed in politics without soiling their hands", Dr Kennedy said. He assured Ghanaians that his administration would work with Parliament to enact a "Political Parties Reform and Financing Bill" to increase transparency and public participation in all aspects of political party activities.

Dr Kennedy, who is a Medical Doctor based in the United States of America (USA) said, when voted into power, he would empower investigative agencies such as CHRAJ and SFO, by providing them with adequate resources and prosecutorial powers, while insulating them from political pressures.

"This will enable them to investigate public officials living above their means by ascertaining their sources of extra incomes..." he said.

Dr Kennedy said he would streamline the delivery of justice by speeding up the processes and procedures in the justice system. He said his administration would enact and enforce the Freedom of Information and Whistle Blower's Bills to encourage the public to play a watchdog role on state resources.

"This will enable the people to challenge all sectors of society to demand integrity from the leaders, insist on accountability and to put an end to tolerating ill-gotten wealth", he said.

Dr Kennedy explained: "In fighting corruption, my administration does not intend to fight the wealthy. Indeed, our nation's economic vibrancy depends on the honest creation of wealth and well-paying jobs. We cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich".

The NPP Presidential aspirant urged the media to help the public to understand the candidates by reporting their activities fairly and without bias so that the electorate could make informed choices. Since the return to democracy in January 1993 the country has been testing certain democratic institutions while the electorate have been assessing how the two governments have performed in the various aspects of the nation's life.

All these may tend to influence the perspective of some of the voters on the government in power or the potential of the parties in opposition to govern the country.

The sanity of the electoral process, post-electoral peace, political accommodation and effective education of the electorates depends, among others on the nature of political parties that enter into the electoral contest.

Other factors likely to affect the elections includes provision of a level playing field, absences of violence and the use of money to influence voters, issues oriented political activities and effective party organisation and mobilization, especially by the new field Marshalls of the NPP and NDC as well as possible recruits of the other field soldiers.

Without doubt the two leading parties - NPP and NDC have a semblance of effective political machinery yet to be set in motion from the national to the polling station levels. The prowess of both executives of the NPP and NDC would also be tested as the Esseku/Botwe led electives who marshalled the military armaments to win elections 2000 and 2004 and seven other by-elections are no more.

The NDC on the other hand have also changed the men who led it to those defeats with "General Mosquito," so far master-minding three successes and a loss in by-elections.

The question is which of these new administrations would marshal an effective modern strategy to win elections 2008. The roles of former president Jerry John Rawlings of the NDC and out-going president John Agyekum Kufuor of the NPP would be quite an interesting phenomenon. Political and ethnic tension emanating from the less than cordial relationship between former president and out-going president, especially their roles in the campaign strategies of their respective parties would be interesting.


The 2008 election poses a great challenge to all institutions that have significant and vital roles to play for the attainment of a free and fair poll.

The contributions of bodies like the executive, parliament, judiciary, political parties, the media and the general public are very crucial for the survival of our young democracy.

Sadly enough, some of these bodies either do not know their responsibilities or they underrate their contributions to the processes leading to elections only to wake up afterwards to accuse the EC of avoidable lapses.

Mr David Adeenze-Kangah, EC's Deputy Chairman in charge of Finance and Administration, told the GNA: "No electoral management body can carry out its functions effectively and creditably without the support of other bodies".

"In fact, none of the many bodies in the country that have roles to play in the electoral process, including the EC, can alone ensure credible elections. "But any one of them can easily mar the success of the election," he said in Accra recently. 17 March 07

Columnist: GNA