Lest the key players of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) become prematurely complacent, what the Britain-based Economist Intelligence Unit magazine is actually predicting is that if Ghana’s 2012 presidential election were held on the day that its polling survey results were released, circa. December 15, 2011, then the likely outcome on the ground could well duplicate the photo-finish portrait of Election 2008, with the edge narrowly favoring the ruling party. In other words, the Economist Intelligence Unit poll is not claiming any early victory for the NDC, as some newspaper and media websites would have their audiences believe (See “Mills Will Beat Nana Addo In Bitter 2012 Polls – Economist” MyJoyOnline.com 12/15/11).
As Ghanaians have always known, the only poll that really matters is the one that is going to witness registered and eligible voters trooping to the polling booths next December. Besides, twelve months in any electoral cycle is the temporal equivalent of a presidential term, so to speak – a lot of things can change, as the inviting possibility of the people’s real ability and/or power to affect the destiny of those appointed to manage their affairs, as well as the destiny of the voters themselves, becomes even more insistent and imperative.
The good news here is that the New Patriotic Party and the Akufo-Addo Campaign Team are being seriously warned, beforehand, that the regions in which more work needs to be done are Greater-Accra and, of course, the three Northern Regions, where the NPP has yet to show that it has what it takes to formidably and effectively upend the electoral strength, or puissance, of the faux-populist National Democratic Congress. We need to also bear in mind the fact that the Economist’s polling survey results were released well ahead of Nana Akufo-Addo’s selection of his running-mate for Election 2012.
We must also point out the Economist’s suggestion that the Mills government is likely to capitalize on remarkable income/revenue expected from the country’s fledgling oil industry to clinch a marginal edge in Election 2012. What the foregoing means is the need for key NPP operatives to demand absolute transparency in the receipts and management of the country’s oil revenue. In other words, leaders of the main opposition party are being sternly cautioned about the ravenous capacity of the NDC to squirreling away a sizeable percentage of our oil revenue in order to grease up the levers of our polling booths. The ongoing Woyome “Gorgormi” saga is a strikingly unmistakable case in point.
Where the NPP ought to authoritatively beg to differ with the Economist Intelligence Unit pollsters regards the allegedly pink fiscal spread sheet bequeathed the Mills-Mahama posse in January 2009. As even the likes of UK-NPP’s Atta Krufi-Hayford have eloquently pointed out, the fiscal narrative pertaining to the “solid-black” record of the Kufuor-led NPP administration presented by the NDC’s own financial guru, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, to globally-renowned agencies like the IMF and the World Bank, tells a diametrically opposite story, which may really be precisely why most eligible Ghanaian voters also do not appear to have been bothered by Mr. Kufuor’s fiscal record on the eve of the former’s president’s handover of the reins of governance.
Nonetheless, the Economist Intelligence Unit pollsters are also smack-dab on the money, as it were, that, indeed, former President Jerry John Rawlings has not been a bad oblique partner to the Akufo-Addo Campaign Team at all and is, in fact, likely to continue to steadily veer in the same direction in the foreseeable future, being also that an abrupt shift in critical tenor stands to further erode Mr. Rawlings’ fast-waning influence on the NDC, as well as his credibility on the national political scene. Then also, the recent decision by some principal Volta Regional chieftains, including the president of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV, to encourage voters on the eastern flank of the Frau River to critically review the pattern of their past voting record, could not have come at a more opportune moment.
There is also the need by the NPP to effectively affect, and/or influence, the fast-entrenching tradition of Ghanaian voters offering two electoral terms to an incumbent government before giving the latter the heave-ho, as it were. Needless to say, the gross and abject incompetence of the Mills-Mahama administration ought to effectively bring such an unsavory electoral regime, or culture, to a fitting closure. Instead, the latter apparently national electoral practice ought to healthily give way to a more rational system that is predicated upon a terminal, or term-by-term, voting regime, if the country’s new-fangled democratic dispensation is to effectively and productively serve the greater need and interests of the people.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Lulu.com, 2008).
The opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of www.africanewsanalysis.com