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Opinions of Friday, 18 December 2020

Columnist: Dr Justice Boakye

Election 2020: Why the NPP ‘lost’

President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

There is a growing population of middle-class voters whose lives are in no way affected by which government rules. This group is gradually expanding and in the not too far future, may form that class of flipping voters determining which party wins an election.

It is this group which gave the NPP an emphatic victory in 2016 and decided to punish the NPP in 2020. The NPP lost them in 2020 and for the simple reason that they weren’t properly courted.

This is the group of voters who really do not need much from any government. They are set in their ways and whether NDC or NPP, very few changes occur in their person circumstances. Free SHS doesn’t necessarily affect them in person.

If they had to pay fees, they wouldn’t mind doing so. Each government constructs roads in election years so .... They have private health insurance and never have to use any public hospital. All they demand is RESPECTFUL GOVERNANCE: A scandal-free period of governance. Angered by the one week, one scandal era of Mahama, they eagerly voted for the NPP in 2016 hoping for a more event-free 4 year period but unfortunately didn’t get that.

Voters in this group may not understand the fine technicalities behind Agyapa will definitely not find anything comforting about a deal involving our gold income which has the finance minister’s company (Databank) acting as financial advisers, Gabby’s law firm acting as legal advisers and Osarfo Marfo’s son heading the company behind the transaction. Explain it as much as you would, it just cannot make sense and to think that anyone felt this would ever be okay for the optics is very interesting. As I once intimated to my friend Mustapha, I think some appointees over time become so confident that they will be defended by party faithfuls no matter what. If a few would be thrown under the bus for their misdeeds, some of these “wrongful acts” will cease.

For the purpose of the 2020 elections, I’ll divide this group into three.

1. Traditional NDC voters who are open-minded and in 2016 out of the frustrations of the period either voted for the NPP or abstained. In 2020, having concluded that the NPP was no better because of the several scandals that came up , happily went back to vote for JM. I suspect this is where majority of JM’s vote appreciation came from. They may be traditional NDC voters but proved in 2016 that they could switch.

2. Traditional NPP voters who are open-minded and just couldn’t couldn’t bring themselves to voting for the NPP again after Agyapa, auditor General, Martin Amidu, Procurement Boss, Public Universities bill et al..... For a number of such people, a JM return was also not an option and so to prevent JM from coming back, they voted for Akufo-Addo but were also keen to register their dissatisfaction by punishing Akufo-Addo’s MPs with the intent to reduce his parliamentary majority and thereby send strong warnings to the party. It is this group that makes me a bit skeptical about the chance of a JM 2024 success. He has still not being purged of the damage his image suffered as president.

3. Very open minded voters with no particular political leanings. They swing both ways and are moved by their convictions. They concluded that both parties are the same and simply abstained having eagerly voted for Akufo-Addo in 2016. Voters from this group (And also group 2) are heavily repelled by the use of propaganda and easy to see through lies they consider insulting to their intelligence. So when Sammy Gyamfi presents a 2016 video of Akufo-Addo receiving campaign funds and insists it was bribery; when Kevin Taylor insults people in vulgar language amidst blatant lies, they feel insulted and simply shut their minds to the NDC being a viable option. They rather choose to sleep on Election Day. The number of people in this bracket is growing faster than ever.

In future, both parties will have to target these groups. They are doubling up in population and winning voters over from the traditional autopiloted groups. Irrespective of your policies, they care about the optics and you must avoid insulting their sensibilities.

What this election has demonstrated in figures is that gaining votes from your supporters is as important as being able to somehow get your opponent’s supporters to abstain. Your votes only count in so far as there is no vote for your opponent to cancel that +1.