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Feature Article of Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Columnist: Koudjoe, Francis

Why The NPP Lost The Elections

It is rather unfortunate that the New Patriotic Party (NPP), instead of blaming their defeat on internal problems and finding a lasting solution to the problems, they are rather fighting a lost and wrong battle. Seriously speaking, I am a Ghanaian but I don’t leave in Ghana. However, due to the love I have for my dear nation, I have been following proceedings very closely especially the Politics in Ghana. I would not like to go into such details, but my major concern is the defeat of the NPP and why they are refusing to concede. As a matter of fact, although I don’t leave in Ghana, I monitored the elections very closely as if I was present in the country, and the conclusion i drew was that, this elections has been one of the peaceful, fair, free and transparent in the annals of Ghana (although there may be some challenges). Let me point out some critical reasons why the NPP lost the elections. I am sure well meaning sympathizers of NPP will understand and accept them in good faith.
1. The Presidential Candidates:
When you look at the NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo and the NDC flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, both of them won in their strongholds, that is, Ashanti/Eastern and Volta/Nothern/Upper West/Upper East regions respectively. However, the campaign terrain was different. The NDC was able to penetrate into the stronghold of the NPP, but the NPP were not able to do that in the NDC strongholds. This was because the campaign style of the NDC was effective. NDC dealt with issues while NPP talked about “Free Everything”. The NDC candidate was more appealing to the electorate than the NPP candidate in terms of personality and age.

2. The Vice Presidential Candidates:
A lot of us have overlooked the role of the vice presidential candidates in this year’s elections and for me that is where I place my emphasis. From my view, the NPP vice presidential candidate Dr. Bawumia did not help the party. Why am I saying this? Dr. Bawumia was chosen to win votes from the North. He spent about 4 to 5 months campaigning in the North, but was not able to make any impact over there, not even 20%. His own family I presumed did not vote for NPP because historically, they were NDC sympathizers. The NDC vice presidential candidate is a Fante and he was able to win about 60% of the votes for NDC from the Central and Western Regions. Thus, I am of the conviction that, the defeat of the NPP was largely due to the wrong choice of their vice presidential candidate.

3. Wives of Presidential Candidates:
I know people will not agree with me on this, but to be honest with you, the role of the wives of the flagbearers of NPP and NDC also helped in a way. The wife of the NDC flagbearer, Lordina Mahama was in the Brong Ahafo Region campaigning for the husband and i think that also helped the NDC to win in that region. What role did the wife of the NPP flagbearer played? This is a question the leadership of NPP must be asking themselves.

4. Free Senior High School:
I am sure some people may disagree with me on this issue, but for me, the idea of the Free SHS by the NPP did not make any impact on the electorate. If it did, Nana Akufo-Addo would have won the election a wider margin close to 60%. But discerning Ghanaians knew very well that it was not possible and the NPP were doing all they can to win power (at all cost). Ghanaians did not accept the Free SHS idea as the NPP want people to believe because if they did, people from the NDC strongholds would have voted for the NPP and NPP could have won hands down. Rather the NDC made significant gains in the NPP strongholds.
5. To many “FREE” Promises:
The NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo went outside the manifesto of the party to make too many “Free” promises. At every campaign stop Akufo-Addo will make a “Free” promise. Instead of concentrating on spreading the ideas enshrined in the manifesto, he did not. The campaign team and communicators of the NPP must be blamed for that because they were supposed to be advising their flagbearer on some of these fake promises. The NDC on the other hand, did a very good job by selling the ideas in their manifesto to the people and further down played the NPP idea of Free SHS.

6. The demise of Professor Mills:
The sudden death of Professor Atta Mills (May his soul rest in peace), the then sitting president also affected the fortunes of the NPP to win the elections. The NPP made Professor Mills their main target and focal point. After the death of Professor Mills, there was a complete political shift and campaign strategies. Due to the short time left for the elections, the NPP had little knowledge or flaws about John Mahama and therefore could not make direct attacks on him like they did to Professor Mills for well over year. The only major attack on John Mahama was a “spare tire”. Thus, the NPP missed their main target.

I could go on and on but with these few points, it is clear that, the NDC won the elections. They were not complaisant like the NPP. The NDC went into the elections with all seriousness because they knew the time was very short and their campaign strategy was well mapped out in a timely and systematic manner. Instead of challenging the results, the NPP should take time and assess the work they did and correct their mistakes and come back in 2016. What they are doing now is not going to help them find a solution to their internal problems. They should think of how to penetrate other regions because they cannot win an election with only two regions. They must go beyond tribal lines to win members.

Presently, they are fighting a lost battle. Anyway, as the adage goes, “a dead goat is not scared of the knife”, and since they are already dead, they are going to the Supreme Court for their burial rites to take place.

By: FKK (Toronto - Canada)

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