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General News of Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Source: Kweku Amponsah

NDC unable to capitalise on NPP's 'sins' because of John Mahama - Political Scientist

The NDC is said to be struggling to gain a higher moral ground over the myriad of mistakes being committed by the NPP government.

The umbrella party, is not able to win the attention and sympathy of the greater majority of the Ghanaian populace, because of the constant references that the NPP government and its allies make, to the sins of the former government, led by the former President, John Dramani Mahama.

This was revealed in a presentation by a political scientist and communication expert Dr. Anthony K. Forson, on Tuesday, in Accra, during a round table discussion organised to discuss the sophisticated nature of the Ghanaian voter.

He revealed that the opposition NDC wishes to take advantage of the mistakes of the NPP government, but are always haunted by the sins of its immediate past, which are sometimes more horrible than the ones being committed by the current NPP government. The political scientist strongly accused the NPP government of forcing Ghanaians to compare between two evils, whenever the sins of the current NPP administration comes to light.

Dr. Forson in his analysis measured the impact of the news that some 998 staffers are on the payroll in the office of the President, under this NPP government. He found the impact of that story to be heavy on a large majority of Ghanaians, however when confronted with the fact that the NDC government under John Mahama spent 1.5 billion cedis more than what the NPP government had spent on their 998 staffers, Ghanaians preferred the less costly NPP Presidency to NDC government's smaller number of appointees who came with big expenditures on the national budget.

He again analysed the recent situation of the Ghanaian government entering into a military cooperation agreement with the US government and the political discussions which followed. Dr Forson said the NPP government deliberately introduced the issue of the Gitmo 2 into the debate, so as to unsettle the NDC colleagues who had mounted a fierce rejection of the agreement. He said the branding of the agreement as a US Military Base deal initially made a high number of Ghanaians uncomfortable and apprehensive, until references were made to the importation of the former Guantanamo Bay pensioners by the former President.

That introduction, according to Dr Forson, "exposed former President John Mahama who is leading the protesting NDC, as a US ally and confidant, so it immediately killed the apprehension and anger that many Ghanaians initially had in relation to the agreement."

He said that issue dealt a blow to the goodwill of the NPP government, until the introduction of the sins of John Mahama. That move, he pointed out, killed the momentum which the anti-Military base was gathering. As a result, he went on further to predict that low numbers will be recorded by the anti-Military base activists going forward.

Describing the strategy of the NPP to throw in John Mahama as a factor anytime they find themselves at a tight corner is a short term political strategy which will continue to work through out the next electioneering campaign. He said the Ghanaian electorate is sophisticated enough to choose the lesser evil, at any given opportunity.

He opined that the strategy is well researched and thought out by the NPP machinery, but will not be valid after the exit of the former President in partisan exchanges and attacks.

This strategy of throwing in the the sins of the former President, he found, to be "a bad method for a developing country like Ghana that must set high standards for current public office holders, no matter the sins of former government officials."

He advised the NDC to wean themselves off the mistakes of its past and develop an image of a party with the panacea to the problems of this country, instead of merely an alternative if the NPP fails.

"Positioning yourself ordinarily as an alternative government is not heartwarming, not catching and interesting to any electorate. The advent of social media has made the voter sophisticated. Elections are about the destinies of the voter, so they will vote for the party that represents the future they see for themselves. Not because you as a party made a lot of complaints about the current government. No. It is about what measures are planning to roll out which will solve the unemployment in this country." he said.

Dr Forson was concerned that the NPP government is committing elementary and grievous mistakes which should have caused them public resentment and the next election, but for the fact that the NDC is constantly reminded of the sins committed by their leader.

He condemned the assertion that the NPP government is guaranteed two terms in office, as the trend shows in Ghana. It was his view that it is the credibility of the presidential candidate and the strength of the party's base that determine the outcome of elections in Ghana.

He predicted that the NDC can surprise the NPP by killing their comparison strategy, if the party researches into the expectations of the Ghanaian, search into mechanisms on how to regain public trust and presenting a credible presidential candidate that speaks to the hearts and minds of the unemployed youth and worried parents.

"The NDC should have been committing funds into research so as to reposition themselves as having a new focus and ready for power. I am not surprised they are not doing any serious research. From my interactions with them, they don't believe in research. Social democrats who don't believe in social research. That is why they continue to lose the sophisticated members of the Ghanaian community..... Go to Legon, just yesterday, the NPP youth presented two candidates for the SRC elections. The NDC did same. At the end of the polls, the two NPP candidates came tops. First and second. The NDC candidates were miles away in third and fourth positions. That is how bad that party is fairing among the educated class. Since our days on campus, the NDC youth who win our elections brand themselves initially as Nkrumahist and are popular for their socialist driven manifesto promises. Check the beginnings of Haruna Iddrisu, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and Okudzeto Ablakwa. These days as soon as they admit on radio that they are NDC members, they are made to suffer the sins of their party. The NDC young men and women who survive such, present themselves as out layers who think differently, flow with NPP and CPP friends or are believers in Nkrumahist ideals," He added.

He said political parties go into elections to sell their candidates and his plan for the suffering masses, therefore He charged the NDC to outsmart the NPP in 2020 by presenting a credible candidate with a plan to create jobs. This he believes "will teach the NPP an important political lesson never to take goodwill for granted."