Time to let in the third party

Kit Yawson 334 Kit Yawson

Sat, 9 Jan 2021 Source: Kit Yawson

The essence of general elections is to elect men and women to lead our country for a specified period. Within that period, the country must show marked developments through economic growth to improve living standards, quality of lives, reduction in poverty and creation of jobs for the people, in our developing country, Ghana.

These are some of the qualities bordering on the minds of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP). General elections must therefore not be about winning elections and providing ministers and members of parliament with expensive SUV motor vehicles so they can drive comfortably on deplorable roads in the country.

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) fared the worst in the recent elections held on 7th December 2020 for reasons that were obvious to open-minded Ghanaians. At the time of the general elections the party was reduced to running on wounded legs against the two strong political party opponents; the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) whose feet were firmly on the ground.

The results of the elections were, therefore, no surprise. Suffice it to say, and without being disrespectful to our physically challenged brothers and sisters, how on earth could a Paralympian athlete compete against an able-bodied athlete in an Olympic 100 metre race and expect the Paralympian to win the race? We would be comparing apples with potatoes.

This analogy spells out PPP’s predicament, running up to the general elections. Various views have been expressed about PPP’s poor performance, but conclusions were foregone, and in fact, the writing was on the wall once the wind had been removed from the then flagbearer (Dr Nduom) sails.

Presidential voting results

At the 2012 elections, the PPP’s presidential candidate had 64,362 votes and in the 2016 elections they had 106,092 votes (an increase of 64.83% on 2012 votes). By the law of averages the 2020 general elections would have given the party 174,871 votes per my forecast, based on 2016 results and, not the paltry 6,849 votes.

Parliamentary voting results

Similarly, PPP’s parliamentary candidates secured a total of 182,649 votes in 2012 and in 2016 they had 186,741; showing an increase of 2.24% on the 2012 results. The forecast for 2020 parliamentary results based on the 2.24% increase on 2016 votes should have given the party 190,924 votes and not 10,562;see the table below:

In effect, the 6,849 presidential votes achieved in 2020 explains the effect of the sudden change of the party’s flag bearer close to the elections. On 12thSeptember 2020 Madam Brigitte Dzogbenuku was chosen as the next flagbearer. She had only 85 (eighty-five) days to campaign for the general elections.

I cannot but lift my hat to Brigitte for her acumen, courage, tenacity, and the guts to take up the role within the extremely limited space of time at her disposal. Brigitte joined the presidential race at a time when President Akuffo Addo and ex-President Mahama had been confirmed as their parties’ flag bearers and they had commenced their campaigns when PPP was yet to confirm who the flag bearer would be.

Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom who was perceived as the party’s flagbearer for the 2020 general elections was compelled to withdraw his Presidential candidacy for obvious reasons; courtesy of the NPP administration’s banking clearance system.

His banking license was revoked for reasons of insolvency when in fact Dr Nduom’s business entity had financed contractors to undertake Ghana government projects to the tune of circa 6 billion Ghana cedis. This amount remains unpaid by the government even though the contracts have been certified as completed.

Dr Nduom has challenged the revocation of his banking licence through the law courts and hearing of the case has been adjourned for no less than 15 times for over a year. The latest hearing scheduled for 9thDecember 2020 did not take place. One dares not delve further into this matter until the judges have spoken.

Whilst there is no intention of making excuses for the Progressive People’s Party’s poor results at the recent general elections, placing impediments in the way of political party opponents is not helpful. I urge existing and future governments of Ghana to desist from ostracising their opponents for political expediency.

We choose leaders to run our country’s affairs therefore if a government - by its actions - prevents a leader of an opposing political party from taking part in an election, that would not be in the interest of the country; especially running up to the general elections. We must place Ghana’s interests above our political party interests and that is one of the surest ways we can develop.

Let us look at Ethiopia, 36 years after the famine that killed no less than a million people. They have recovered and are doing well for a country that experienced famine and abject poverty.

Look at Rwanda that also lost 800,000 people due to a genocide arising out of tribal wars. These 2 (two) African countries have done incredibly well, compared to Ghana that has never experienced war in our lifetime.

Of all the natural mineral resources God has blessed us with, we seem to be struggling indefinitely and may be praying to God to come to our aid. I am not sure that God will listen to our prayers because we have got everything to make our country prosperous.

Our priorities are not up to scratch and the cheek of it we are building a Church for God, meanwhile our deplorable roads with potholes; some of which have graduated into manholes that have caused numerous accidents and are killing the very people who voted for the NPP in 2016 and again in 2020. Sadly, 2020 was labelled, “the year of roads”.

Indeed, a sickening slogan. If any serious government official is reading this material, it should prompt them to return to the drawing board. Our roads must be fixed, and we must refrain from “empty” slogans that only succeed in annoying the very citizenry that voted for NPP.

Plato reminds us that, and I quote “one of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that we end up being governed by our inferiors”. Arguably we of the PPP have got the ideas and sadly we have no mandate to rule and those that have the mandate to rule have no such ideas that we have.

There is a greater need for a third political party to join the conversation in our national parliament to ensure the best decisions are taken on issues in the interest of the nation. Leaving the parliamentary debates to just the NDC and NPP does not help because both parties have administered our country for 43 (forty-three) years and there has not been much improvement.

For the sake of clarification, the NPP has ruled Ghana for 15 years (3 years for Dr Busia, 8 years for ex-President Kufuor and 4 years for President Nana Akuffo Addo). NDC has ruled us for 27 years (11 years for PNDC, 8 years for the late President Rawlings, 8 years for the late President Mills and ex-President John Mahama).

The existing duopoly in our politics is not helpful because the administration of our country has been reduced to the banter between the 2 (two) major political parties (NDC and NPP) whether the decisions they make are good or bad for the country we have no choice. This is the reason our nation must have a third political party to bring on board what they have for Ghana.

We are a political party that is seeking to run things rather than things running us in the country.

Columnist: Kit Yawson