Political decision-making is more than just the story of a person’s interest in governance and politics at certain times and places.
It is also, and more fundamentally, the story of how a person emerges in different settings and different times, to make a decision that has an impact on the economic development, for better or worse, of a nation.
On Thursday, August 23, 2018, former President John Dramani Mahama made it known to the general public that he has submitted to the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) confirming his decision to contest for the leadership of the party with the clear view on victory in 2020 general elections.
Throughout the world, some former Heads of State have gone through a comeback process, i.e. to name a few, Mathieu Kérékou of Benin and as well as the erstwhile Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, who have served two terms on non-consecutive occasions.
To most Ghanaians, if not all, the decision by the former President came as a no surprise although no former President of Ghana has ever contested for the Presidency after his term has ended; perhaps, in his case, as he is the only President in this fourth Republic not to have had two terms. But the questions are: what are the prospects if he emerges as the leader of the party? And are Ghanaians going to be drawn to think that voting for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was a mistake to reelect Mahama as President again?
FOUR YEARS OF MAHAMA AND FOUR YEARS OF NANA ADDO
It has been observed that a nation’s economic development and the living standard of the people have both the qualitative and quantitative influence on which party wins an election. It appears the issue of whether or not the leadership of John Dramani Mahama (assuming he wins the primaries) can leverage the chances of the party to win in 2020 would largely depend on the performance of the President Nana Addo’s government before the 2020 polls.
Despite the fact that NDC was in power for 8 years, they would aver the argument that the former President spent less than four years as the leader of the party due to the election petition brought to the Supreme Court.
Prevailing situations under the NPP government does not seem to be generally better than the previous NDC government. It can only be said that there are plans in place to ameliorate the saddling situations at hand, to which one can also say it could clout the government to a second term in office; otherwise, the opposition party finds that as a major arsenal to cajole the populace to vote out the government.
PERSONALITIES OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
Perception is a product of personality. And perception is everything when it comes to politics in Ghana. Once upon a time, a President wanted to be quipped using the phrase ‘dead goat’ as his defence against attacks of corruption on his personality, it turned out to be a satire name. And not quite a long ago, another President has been caught in the same web being lampooned a ‘hanged dog’ in his justification of his incorruptible personality.
What is key is the fact that corruption is on the ascendancy in this country according to a report from the Corruption Perception Index. The fight against it has turned out to be another story of Peter and the wolves – no substantial achievement making the fight against corruption one of those trivial issues to discuss in this country.
As of now, it can be agreed that the two main parties somewhat stand on an equal pedestal when it comes to corruption and the campaign to smear a candidate as corrupt might not be viable for each party. However, the situation presents itself as an admonishment to the NPP to accelerate their anti-corruption campaign in order to propel their chances to win the 2020 elections.
Even though the NDC suffered a heavy defeat in 2016 general elections under the leadership of John Dramani Mahama, there is no plausible evidence admissible to the fact that it will be a major factor for the party to lose in the 2020 general elections. The comeback of former President Mahama (assuming he wins the primaries) presents a challenge to the NPP as he is going to latch on his achievements as President, especially in the area of infrastructure.
If there is anything that can win this election, then is going to be our ability to organize and mobilize from the grassroots. It is said that the party is poised to run a campaign never experienced in our country’s history and its depth must surpass the appreciation of our operative opponents and at the same time comprehensible to the average voter.
On the other hand, the remaining 27 months present an opportunity for the NPP to fulfil its major campaign promises and to make livelihood of the economy normal, if not better. Time is neither a friend nor an enemy of man. There is no time to lax.
Michael Sumaila Nlasia is Research Analyst at Centre for Data Processing and Geo-Spatial Analysis
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