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Opinions of Friday, 1 November 2013

Columnist: Addo, Jake

NDC electoral reforms will bring power to the people

By: Jake Addo

When two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers, but when two civilized groups compete it is the reverse: the electorates gain. Democracy is a good thing but no one likes it, we like it only when it favors us. Rawlings unwillingly accepted constitutional rule, he was forced by pressure from groups like the Movement for Freedom and Justice(MFJ) and the Coordinating Committee of Democratic Forces(CCDF).

No one contested Kufuor at the primaries when he was going for the second term, even though the Danquah/Busia tradition preaches the sermon of democracy from the roof top. You are a democrat when in opposition but do not want to hear about democracy when you have power, with the flimsy excuse that it brings instability.

President Atta-Mills was contested twice at primaries; the second time was when he was president, which he did not enjoy one bit, but had to stomach it because that is what the circumstances and situation at the time dictated.

The electoral reforms we see today are a result of equally strong forces within the political parties and the country as a whole. The NDC general secretary’s position on electoral reforms hits the nail right on the head. The scraping out of the Electoral College and replacing it with mass participation is a feather in the cap of democracy. The expansion of the Electoral College by the NPP earlier on, also went a long way to strengthen democracy in our country. Electoral reform is a slow and painful process, which always favor one group against the other, so whiles some push for reforms others work against it. During the third republic, the electoral college of the PFP, UNC and PNC were very small. The fourth republic saw a much larger national delegate’s congress with the NPP expanding from one hundred to two thousand delegates; ten from each of the two hundred constituencies, whilst the NDC had one thousand and fifty delegates; a move unprecedented in our country’s history.

The introduction of mass participation in selecting candidates will go a long way to eliminate vote buying, camping of delegates and the unnecessary manipulation of the electoral process as Asiedu Nketia rightly stated. He has observed that, the NDC loss fifteen parliamentary seats, due to an inefficient Electoral College process. This process produces unpopular parliamentary candidates who lost their seats while the president who does not reside in those places won. In the Tema east constituency John Mahama won convincingly over Nana Akufo-Addo. However Titus Glover won the Parliamentary seat. John Mahama had over two thousand (2000) more votes more than Kempes Ofosuware the defeated 2012 NDC parliamentary candidate.

This means that the outcome of the 2012 Tema East primaries was as a result of vote buying, bullying and manipulation by the then mayor Kempes Ofosuware just like the other fourteen constituencies refered to by the NDC general secretary. It cost the NDC fifteen parliamentary seats.

The one-man-one vote vision of the general secretary will go a long way to give power to the people. Power will belong where it must belong: THE PEOPLE. This will ensure that rise to leadership reflects the will of the base of the political parties.

Jake Addo

The author is Management Consultant and Leading Member of the NDC in the Tema East Constituency.