The National Democratic Congress (NDC) was adamant in listening to the advice given to them by Jerry John Rawlings, its founder and former president of Ghana, ahead of the elections hence their defeat, Dr Mohammed Abass, a political science lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, has said.
His comment follows the defeat of the NDC in the just-ended presidential and parliamentary elections. During the elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) defeated President John Mahama with a landslide, securing 53.85 per cent of the votes while his main contender got 44.40 per cent as announced by the Chair of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei.
Speaking in an interview with Accra News on Accra100.5FM on Monday December 12 on why the NDC may have lost by such a wide margin, Dr Abass said: “Before the elections, we all knew the situation on the ground with regards to the challenges that citizens and voters were facing. We also knew the government’s deficiency and shortfalls. The NPP was able to package all these challenges and deficiencies of the NDC-led government and summarised it as incompetence, hammered on that to appeal to the minds and hearts of the citizens. I believe this was a major factor that caused the defeat of the NDC.
“In the case of the NDC, instead of listening to the concerns of Ghanaians and acting accordingly, they were rather defending, reacting to, and countering the comments of the NPP.
“During their last congress in Cape Coast, former President Jerry John Rawlings told them they didn’t have to fight the NPP on their own terms, that it would be a wrong approach and that they were not going to win the elections if they did that because the NPP is better at those things than they are. And so JJ Rawlings saw this defeat ahead of the NDC and cautioned them, but they did not listen to him, and that has resulted in their defeat.”
He explained further: “They (NDC) did not listen to their founder’s advice at all. During the congress, their founder did not speak that much, he only cautioned the NDC to focus on their own strategies as well as the shortfalls that the citizens were pointing out about the government – issues of corruption, unemployment, high cost of living. These were the real challenges that confronted Ghanaians, but they did not focus on them to give hope to Ghanaians, they were always focusing on the NPP and just attacking Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“All these are good lessons to them that you don’t win elections by focusing on your opponent’s seemingly physical shortcomings because it doesn’t add anything to you. They should have focused on the deficiencies that a lot of Ghanaians found with the government. All that they could say was ‘Toaso’ (Vote for continuity). Are you going to ‘toaso’ the hardship, power outages, unemployment or what? Obviously Ghanaians did not see what was there to ‘toaso’.”