The Concept of the Floating Voter

Tue, 1 Jul 2014 Source: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner's dictionary, a floating voter refers to a person who has not decided which way to vote in an election, or one who does not consistently vote for the same political party. In Ghana, these floating voters have to a very large extent, determined the outcome of presidential elections. It is significant to not that, the floating votes become visible mainly during Election run-offs.

In Ghana, Elections 1979, 2000, and 2008 run-off provide perfect examples of floating votes. In Election 2000 for instance, the run-off between Mills and Kufuor recorded a whopping 14.8% of floating votes to Kufuor's votes. Although both Kufuor and Mills had 48.4% and 44.8% in the first round respectively, these floating votes increased Kufuor's votes to 57.4% making him the winner in Election 2000. Similarly, less than 40,000 floating voters voted for Candidate Mills to beat Nana Akufo-Addo in Election 2008 run-off. Though, some people are still doubting the source and actual number of these floating votes, it is estimated that, the floating votes in Ghana hover between 300,000 and 500,000, using the 2012 general elections as reference.

It must also be pointed out that, these floating voters are a mixed group of people - literate and illiterate, who vote based on a number of issues. Some of the issues include personality traits of the presidential candidates. The personality traits are humility, character, beauty, charisma, physique, character, among others. Because majority of the floating voters are somehow "politically illiterates" and vulnerable, they may be influenced easily with a cup of salt, rice, bottle of oil, GHC5, cloth, laptop, car, cement, roofing sheets a few weeks to the national elections. They may therefore vote for a candidate who is able to provide them with the afore-mentioned items on the Election Day. They can even look at a candidate's posture or picture on a billboard and vote for the Candidate with good looks. Such floating voters can swallow propaganda and lies hook, line, and sinker and vote against who may be tagged with so many negativities.

Admittedly, the NPP under Nana Addo's flagbearership has not been able to win the hearts and minds of these floating voters since 2008. This is because, the floating voters do not like him. And they have proven their dislike for Nana Addo on three electoral occasions in 2008 first round, 2008 second round, and 2012 respectively. In short, Nana Addo is not the choice of the Ghanaian floating voter.

What the NPP needs to do now in order to win political power is simple. The party's numerical strength (entire membership and sympathisers) cannot elect a president. Therefore, there is a need for the delegates to elect a Flagbearer, whose attributes could meet the demands of these floating voters. By so doing, the NPP could get the required floating votes to be added unto the party's core votes to make victory easier. The NPP therefore needs to take a close look at the factors that made other Candidates win over Nana Akufo-Addo. Was it about popularity that both Mills and Mahama beat Nana Addo? Was it about the NPP's economic record or that of NDC's? Was it about experience of the Candidates or their Campaign Messages?

You would agree with me that none of the above actually accounted for both Mills' and Mahama's victories over Nana Addo. It is thus imperative for the NPP to elect a Candidate who could attract the floating votes so that when they are added to our standard votes as NPP members, the party can win presidential elections. But, if the NPP delegates continue to present the same Candidate - Nana Akufo-Addo for the 2016 elections, then NPP members and sympathisers shouldn't expect any different results after 2016 elections.

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri

(Free SHS Ambassador)

Official blog: www.katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk

0202471070 : 0264931361

"Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success"

On 26 Jun 2014, at 15:19, Katakyie wrote:

Hon. Alan Kyerematen, the Job Creator, Business Developer, and Remarkable Achiever!

Mr. Alan Kyerematen, currently 58 years old, acts as the bridge between the young and the old. He was appointed Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States when the NPP came into office in 2001. As Head of Ghana’s Diplomatic Mission to the US, he was considered the NPP Government’s top foreign envoy and performed with distinction over the 18-month duty tour.

Below are the significant achievements of the next NPP Flagbearer.

• Alan established the US-Ghana Economic Council, a high-level advocacy and advisory group meant to deepen economic relations and bilateral trade between Ghana and the United States.

• He also coordinated Government’s re-negotiation of the Westel agreement with Western Wireless, and Valco Agreement with Kaiser Aluminium Company.

• Alan was instrumental in the coordination and implementation of the first Investment Forum in the United States to showcase the economic potential of each of the 10 regions of Ghana.

• He established the first web-based Ghana Skills Bank, a database designed to facilitate access to Ghanaian professionals and experts worldwide.

• He also initiated the Ghana Cultural Centre in the United of States to promote the country's culture in the US, especially among Ghanaians living abroad.

• Alan developed an “Operation Save Your Schools Programme” for Ghana residents in the United States to assist their alma mater (primary/middle school) back home.

In 2003, Alan Kyerematen was appointed as the Cabinet Minister with responsibility for Trade, Industry and the President’s Special Initiatives (PSI). In that capacity, he spearheaded the development and implementation of innovative programmes which have become new strategic pillars of growth for the transformation of the Ghanaian economy. Concrete manifestations of these special initiatives are:

• An $8.5 million state-of-the-art factory, which produces high grade industrial starch from cassava for export to key markets in Europe, Africa and Asia. The starch initiative created over 10,000 jobs and piloted a new innovative approach in rural industry development based on the concept of Corporate Village Enterprises. As of today, the Ayensu Starch factory has been bought by the Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL). In addition, it is considered as a model in linking developing countries into the global supply chain through industrial agro-processing. The first industrial starch company has been certified as a global supplier of high grade starch to Nestle operations worldwide.

• The construction of a multi-million dollar enclave within the Tema Free Zone, dedicated to garments manufacturing for the export market by Ghanaian entrepreneurs. The enclave is also being extended and converted to accommodate similar facilities for Furniture Manufacturing and an ICT Park, thus converting part of the Free Zones into a Multi-purpose Industrial Park.

• The revival of the Oil Palm industry in Ghana, achieving a phenomenal growth in seedlings' supply from 250,000 seedlings per annum in 2001 to 4 million as at the end of 2004, from twelve nursery sites. Programme initiated under which over 102,000 hectares Oil palm plantation is being cultivated.

• Mobilizing new investments to expand Salt mining operations in Ghana and provide a stable raw material base for the development of a caustic soda industry to feed other manufacturing industries.

• Ghana’s non-traditional export sector has grown from $400 million in 2000 to the level of $800 million in 2005.

• The roll-out and implementation of the Districts Industrialization Programme, a comprehensive programme for rural industrialization involving the setting up of at least one medium-sized factory in each administrative district in Ghana.

• As Minister for Trade, Industry, he coordinated Government of Ghana’s trade policy agenda in respect of multilateral trade negotiations, including WTO, EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement and ECOWAS.

• Alan played lead roles in both the regional preparatory process towards the WTO Cancun and Hong Kong Ministerial Meetings, particularly during the latter, in which he was one of the privileged few amongst Trade Ministers in the World, to have been appointed as a member of the Chairman’s Consultative Group.

• He was also the only Trade Minister from Africa to have been selected as a panelist on Trade during the 2006 World Economic Forum in Davos.

• As Minister of Trade and Industry in Ghana, Alan Kyerematen played a key role in shaping Africa’s Trade Policy agenda in the WTO Multilateral Negotiations and the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations. He was one of the lead negotiators for Africa in the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun in 2003, and also participated in the high-level “Green Room” consultations during the Hong Kong WTO Conference in December 2005.

• In addition, he initiated, directed and managed the preparations for the hosting of UNCTAD XII in Ghana, and introduced for the first time in the history of UNCTAD Conferences, the World Investment Forum which has now become a major calendar event for UNCTAD.

• He also coordinated and supervised the hosting by Ghana of the Sixth United States-Africa Summit in 2006, and played a key role in negotiating changes in the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

• He was Chairman of the ECOWAS Council of Trade Ministers at the critical stages of launching the EU-ECOWAS EPA negotiations.

• Alan has also led the negotiation and development of bilateral trade and economic relations between the Government of Ghana and its major trading partners, including the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, China, Denmark, South Africa, Nigeria, etc.

• He was a leading member of the NPP Government team promoting Ghana abroad and attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into the country, and was also responsible for developing a comprehensive internal trade and import management portfolio aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of local products, promoting fair trade and protecting consumer interests.

• Alan has been promoting Made-in-Ghana products through campaigns such as the highly successful “National Friday Wear” programme.

• Under his direction, a comprehensive Ghana Trade Policy has for the first time in the history of Ghana been launched as a major plank in Government’s strategy for accelerating and sustaining economic growth and increasing incomes and employment. The Trade Policy provides clear and transparent guidelines for the comprehensive implementation of Government’s domestic and international trade agenda.

• In addition, he led the process of preparing a $200-million implementation blueprint, called the Trade Sector Support Programme (TSSP), which was launched in October 2005. The major component activities being implemented include the establishment of Export Trade Houses, the establishment of a “Furniture City” at Tema - an enclave for manufacturers of wood export products, the establishment of product galleries to promote Made-in-Ghana goods and the establishment of a Technology Innovation Center for Capital Goods Manufacturing. He has also negotiated a $45 million facility with the World Bank to promote SME development in Ghana.

• Another major achievement of Alan Kyerematen was the measures put in place to develop the Trade Ministry into a professional service organization with the Ministry being restructured into strategic business units with an efficient programme coordination and management system.

With the above, I believe Alan stands tall among his compatriots to lead both the NPP and Ghana to economic independence. Kindly, join the Get Alan Kyerematen Elected (GAKE) in our quest to make this dream materialise. GAKE; one more change for power!

Think Alan! Think Power!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang

(National Coordinator - 0202471070/0547851100/0264931361)

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku