By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Everybody knows that the General-Secretary of the so-called People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr. Bernard Mornah, is a shameless shill for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and was therefore not expected to come out in support of Nana Akufo-Addo’s call for the establishment of a new voters’ register, in the lead-up to Election 2016. However, in this particular instance, the young man who deviously schemed to prejudice the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel against the Akufo-Addo-led 2012 Presidential Election Petition may be dead-on-target, when Mr. Mornah argues that a bloated voters’ register may not be the major political headache of the 2016 Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), but that the problem lies elsewhere (See “New Voter Register Not Panacea To Over-Voting – Mornah” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 12/30/14).
The problem clearly was what Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, of the ruling National Democratic Congress, pointed out, almost sheepishly, in the wake of the 2012 general election. Back then Mr. Asiedu-Nketia, popularly known as General Mosquito, attributed the shocking victory of then-Transitional President John Dramani Mahama to an abject lack of vigilance on the part of NPP polling agents and observers. For starters, it is important for all key operatives of Ghana’s biggest opposition party to have the figures of total eligible voters for all ten regions of the country at their fingertips, literally speaking.
Then, also, at the district level, party executives ought to be privy to the exact number of registered voters in each constituency and also at each single polling station. But even more significantly, a voters’ register indicating the party affiliation of each registered voter ought to be maintained by both the Electoral Commission (EC) and the various legitimately registered political parties. Of course, come election time, there will always be those staunch party supporters who are apt to vote for a party other than their own. These are the voters routinely called “crossover voters” by political pundits here in the United States.
Oftentimes, the motivating factors for many a crossover voter may range from sheer bribery to complete disaffection with a candidate or certain candidates put forth by party executives, especially if a voter strongly feels that one or more candidates have been forced on registered party members and/or sympathizers. For instance, going into Election 2016, as may well have been the case in 2012, and before that in 2008, a remarkable percentage of registered NPP affiliates may well have voted for a political opponent of the New Patriotic Party’s flagbearer because they might have strongly felt that their choice for NPP flagbearership had been given short-shrift treatment.
It is widely speculated, for instance, that most stunch supporters of Mr. Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, Nana Akufo-Addo’s perennially closest political rival in the NPP, may well have crossed over party lines to massively vote for the now-late President John Evans Atta-Mills in the 2008 presidential election, in vehement protest against what most of these voters might have deemed to be the shabby treatment of their favorite candidate. This is what political pundits call “a protest vote,” and Nana Akufo-Addo may do himself and diehard party faithful a lot of good by ensuring that the New Patriotic Party presents a strongly unified force in the lead-up to Election 2016.
If he cannot deliver on this most crucial score, then Nana Akufo-Addo had better kiss his proverbial luck good-bye, as it were. Indeed, it would be politically suicidal for the New Patriotic Party’s 2016 Presidential Candidate to cavalierly presume to take registered party members for granted, particularly in his home turfs of the Eastern and Asante regions, and on a microcosmic level Abuakwa-South, especially the royal Okyeman capital of Kyebi. Nana Akufo-Addo must ensure that President Mahama’s support within the constituency of his old parliamentary seat is held in the single digits. If he cannot hold Mr. Mahama’s support at Kyebi to below 10-percentage points, then Akufo-Addo has absolutely no excuse and right to complain about a bloated voters’ register.
An extremely bad economy or not, Akufo-Addo cannot take any eligible voter for granted. If he fully appreciates this fundamental political reality and is equally willing to studiously work towards the achievement of the same, then he can begin to breathe soundly and rest assured that this third-time around, his stars are apt to shine lustrously.