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Feature Article of Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Columnist: Boakye, Lee K.

Do people vote based on issues or ...

... based on their ethnicity and party affiliations?

Let's analyze some of the strong points why someone will vote for one candidate or another

# based on present economic circumstance

What percentage of Ghanaians vote based on issues at stake? *Woyome's case was such a BIG deal, huh? How many of the voters across the nation really care about the "gargantuan" payment when they went to the polls *Free SHS, was such a laudable theme, huh? How many voters really care about "free SHS" when they went to the polls?

# based on declared party affiliation

* What percentage of Ghanaians vote based on their party affiliation ("I am NPP" , "I am NDC") rather than anything else? * What percentage of voters who voted NDC in the last election will vote for a different party the next election regardless of the issues at stake?

# based on ethnicity (Akans vs Non-Akans)

*What percentage of Ewes or Upper Westerners or Northerners will vote for an akan presidential candidate if the contesting candidate was non-Akan? *What percentage of Akans will vote for an Ewe,Northerner or Upper Westerner presidential candidate if the contesting candidate was an Akan?

-How much negative impact can a divisive political statement and proposition have on a political party?

# based on religion How many Christians will vote for a non-christian or Muslim for that mater, if a Christian and Muslim presidential candidates are contesting?

I want you to form your own opinion on these issues but personally I think people vote based on traditions rather than current economic issues unless the economy is in a terrible shape

Looking at the 2012 election results across the country gives a good food for thought.

Interestingly, voting based on tradition is not peculiar to Ghanaians alone. It is even true in the advanced countries.

Let's look at how Americans voted along racial lines in the 2012 US presidential elections

71 percent of Hispanic voters cast ballots for President Obama. Only 27 percent voted for Romney

93 percent of African-American voters cast ballots for president Obama

59 percent of Whites voted for Romney while 39 voted for Obama

With the Ghana presidential elections this close, both parties have a lot of work to do to change perceptions and to win over voters. Whatever strategies, values and principles any party will adopt to address these issues must be started now and continued over the years. Albeit difficult,political affiliations based on traditions can be changed if voters feel appreciated,respected and better served.

K Boakye (Lee) Illinois

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