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General News of Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Source: Stanley Courage Dugah

Why the NPP lost Election 2012

Since Ghana adopted democracy in 1992, the two foremost political parties that found their way into power both managed to secure and serve two four year terms. One may thus be tempted to take this as the reason supreme for the NDC's victory in the just ended elections.

The National Democratic Congress won the 1992 and '96 elections, but lost the 2000 elections to the New Patriotic Party, which was able also to win Election 2004 and a second term.

Election 2008 saw the NDC back in power and 2012 was to be the year they secure an almost “inevitable” second term, and they did.

But I won't buy the “inevitable” excuse. Here is why the NPP lost Election 2012.

Brand failure

Brand sells. Brand sits between victory and defeat. Whether it is in the selling of a product or service, the presentation of an idea/pitch, or the marketing of a political candidate, brand is of paramount importance and the NPP wasn't up to scratch in this.

Starting from the months leading up to the 2008 General Elections, when the NPP's Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo poised himself to contest the Presidential election, opposing elements were quick to brand him negatively. They called him arrogant, conceited, violent and elitist, not to mention the more damaging insults.

And in this they were effective. Why? Akufo-Addo and the NPP aided them.

“All die be die”

If the perpetrators of this negative branding of Akufo-Addo needed something to back their claims of the NPP's candidate being “desperate for power” and “violently evil;” this was it.

When Akufo-Addo, sometime ago, claimed thus: “We Akans are not cowards” besides calling on party faithfuls to be vigilant during the election in an “all die be die” manner, he played perfectly into his detractors hands. They accused him of ethnocentrism. Add to that the Kennedy Agyapong affair, and they had the perfect tools to work with.

Of course, the Ghanaian voter took notice and spotted grains of truth in the mischievous misrepresentation of Akufo-Addo's word. “Even if he isn't really being ethnocentric or violent, he seems so,” some voters thought. Many of them were also not amused by Kenneddy Agyapong's alleged war cry for Ashantis to kill Gas and Ewes.

The NPP is, thus, most culpable for its defeat in Election 2012. Considering the closeness of the presidential results (even though Akufo Addo won only two regions out of ten), this was an election the NPP could have won with the right branding of its presidential candidate.

It failed in that and lost the election.

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