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General News of Saturday, 1 October 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Mahama invades constituencies to clinch election victory

The John Dramani Mahama re-election campaign is intensifying by the week. Since opening his campaign in the Western Region with the full force of a well-lubricated campaign machinery, President Mahama, who is seeking re-election has not rested but has been ‘invading’ the constituencies in a bid to clinch his much anticipated one-touch victory.

Already he has visited the Western, Northern and Central regions and it is turning out to be a hectic campaign.

The stakes in this year's election are high. While Mr Mahama would love to serve his two-term as President, the main opposition leader, the New patriotic Party (NPPs) Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is making a third attempt at the presidency which could make or unmake his political career.

That the 2012 election was fiercely fought is a fact, but from all indications, this year’s election may surpass that of 2012 in terms of the intensity of campaigning.

2012 Election

Mr Mahama won the 2012 presidential election with 5,574,761 votes representing 50.70 per cent of valid votes cast while his closest challenger, Nana Akufo-Addo, had 5,248,898 votes representing 47.74 per cent of valid votes.

The other candidates, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom (PPP), 64,362 votes ( 0.59); Dr Henry Herbert Lartey (GCPP), 38,223 votes (0.35); Hassan Ayariga (PNC), 24,617 votes (0.22); Michael Abu Sakara Foster (CPP), 20,323 votes (0.18); Jacob Osei Yeboah (Ind), 15,201 votes (0.14) and Akwasi Addai (UFP); 8,877 votes, (0.08) followed in that order.

Sometimes, some of the events ate deep into the night as large crowds waited to hear from the President.

Managers of the NDC presidential campaign could pile up as many as 12 events in a day from different locations.

That explained why in the Northern Region, the President had to use a helicopter on few occasions to reach his destinations on time looking at the vast size of the region and the long distances he had to make.

Playing the dual role as President and presidential candidate for the ruling party in a crucial election such as we have at hand, puts additional pressure on the President in his daily activities.

Magic wand

One thing that has become evident in the Mahama campaign so far is that the 58-year-old is demonstrating that he still has not lost the magic that drew the crowds to listen to him.

Indeed, whoever thinks that Mr Mahama has lost that magic wand that won the elections for him in 2012 will be making a huge mistake.

On the campaign trail, he has been giving indications about how he would lead the country to prosperity if he is re-elected.

President Mahama is clearly proving his capacity to clinch another executive leadership in government and he has been telling Ghanaians that a solid foundation has been laid for a massive economic take off.

To him, there is no better person to build on the foundation than himself.

His confidence level is very high. It tells me that we are in for a very interesting election on December 7.

It's early days yet, but, President Mahama and his team appear to be running an incredibly well-organised campaign.

The organisation of rallies and other engagements have been great. President Mahama's campaign strategy revolves around touting his achievements, especially in infrastructure and getting the electorate to buy into his promises for the second time.

Observing closely, Mahama is still a likeable person and as he traverses the constituencies campaigning for re-election, large numbers of people turn out to meet him.

His communication skills appears to be playing in well for him. This was evident in the rapturous responses to his messages.

The likes of Kofi Adams, the National Campaign Coordinator, Mrs Joyce Bawa Mogtari, the campaign spokesperson and Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, the campaign manager, have been working behind the scenes in crafting strategies which they believe will convince the electorate that the NDC is the right choice.

They are optimistic about the abilities of the party clinching victory in the election.

Mr Adams, at the end of the Central regional tour, described the massive reception that the President received in the region as a sign of the victory ahead in the general election.

The President sounded even more optimistic about the Central Region’s response.

This is a region considered a swing region. But the NDC had maintained a hold of the region in the last two elections.

In the 2008 elections, the NDC won in 11 out of the 19 constituencies with the NPP taking the remaining eight. In the 2012 polls, the number of constituencies in the region was increased to 23 and again, the NDC won in 16 with the NPP taking seven.

The factors that informed the choices in the 2012 elections may be different from what pertains currently but , underestimating the strength of the NDC in any election could spell doom for even the strongest opponent.

At Kasoa, Gomoa Nyanyano, Winneba, Yamoransa and other towns where large crowds poured out to meet him, President Mahama said the reception was greater than what he had in the 2012 campaign, a testament of the victory that lies ahead of the NDC.

One striking innovation about the Mahama campaign is the use of the sign language. Anywhere the President spoke, there was a sign language interpreter who delivered the message to the hearing impaired.

It is a significant move by the campaign machinery since it will endear to the group, which no doubt represents a significant portion of the voter population. In an election in which every single number counts, such a group cannot be underestimated.

The coming weeks will see the President visiting the other regions and how he is received would be another talking point.