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Opinions of Friday, 29 August 2008

Columnist: Atitsogbui, Paul Parker

NDC Chances are brighter than ever before


The chances of the NDC in wining this year’s general election are too brighter than ever before in the history of the party.

I might not be that old, but fortunate enough to have participated in four consecutive general election in Ghana, and therefore have fairer knowledge about the pre and post election events in this country. You don’t need a fortune teller to predict an outcome of an election neither do election has a place for superstition. It’s all about three important elements including: the political atmosphere, party machinery, and the aspiring candidate. Also important element that the politicians always fail to distinguish is the thin line between sycophancy and genuine support.

I had the chance of attending almost all the major rallies of both the NDC and the NPP during the 1992 pre-election campaign trough the sponsorship of the “The Triumph News Paper”. And can say for a fact that, not a single NDC rally can match up to that of NPP rallies in terms of crowd pulling. There was so much noise about the victory of the NPP, the slogan of “YE GYE YEN MAN” spread across the country like a bush fire, and judging from the campaign atmosphere in the 1992, one can easily predict a landslide victory for the NPP. Prof. Adu Boahen who was then the presidential candidate of the NPP, budgeted on the large crowd, begun to dream about the castle, forgetting that wining an election is not about crowd pulling and noise making, but the number of votes cast on the election day. If the crowd and the noise making was anything to go by in the 1992 election then NDC wouldn’t have gotten above 30%, but we were all witness to what happen. Disappointment and embarrassment saw the NPP boycotting the parliamentary election and end up with a frustrated ‘The stolen verdict’

Then came 1996 election after the NPP claimed to have identified the loopholes used by the NDC to rig the previous election, made several recommendations including transparent ballot boxes, photo voters ID card among others which were provided by the NDC administration. As usual the crowd and the noise were all over the places during the pre-election campaign. As if the NPP did not learn from the 1992 election, they continue to organize mammoth rallies, while the NDC and the 31 December movement were moving from town-to town, spreading the message.

The NPP come with the formation of election monitory group, voting monitoring group dubbed “operation eagle eye” and all sort of groups to prevent the perceived rigging by the NDC. NPP were too sure of victory that they begun to fight over ministerial position as if the election was a done deal for them. But, at the end of the day, the undisputable heavy weight champion, the ladies man JJ Rawlings the name that sends shivery down the spines of the NPP gurus, won the election. This time round, the margin was more than twice that of the 1992 election, and it’s upon this result that people realized that indeed the 1992 election was free and fair.

The political atmosphere for the 2000 was too visible that Ghanaians needed a change in party after the NDC has been around for about 19 years and more so because the most popular politician of our days JJ has received a political red-card from the constitution of the land. President Kuffour then became obviously the most popular politician of the day having contested JJ on the previous election. A call for a change was all over the country, so visible that even a blind person can see. Even the NDC members were themselves calling for a change. Mammoth rallies were organized by the NPP, drivers were blowing their horns, shoeshine boys were hitting their boxes, market women, churches, teachers, and even fish in the sea/rivers were all calling for a change. The ‘ASIE HO’ fever was at every corner of the country. Unfortunately for the NDC, complacency set in, and they also began to centre their campaigns on big rallies. It looked like the NDC was heading for a polit ical white-wash, but yet it took the effort of all the opposition parties to wrestle power from the NDC. This alludes to the fact that the NDC is very strong on the ground, and thus, any party which underestimates it does so at its own Peril.

President Kuffour is by far the president of Ghana who had enjoyed the goodwill of Ghanaians. May be, because of his humbleness and his innocent looking, right from the first day on the seat and it became obvious that Ghanaians will give him the second chance come the next election. In fact the 2004 election was one, election that the book makers predicted a massive win for the president just like ex-presidents final term, yet the president avoided run-off by just 118 thousand votes. And even as I speak we only have 227 constituencies confirm out of the 230. I do agree that the 3 constituencies will not change the outcome yet we need to know for record and analysis sake.

Another set back of the 2004 election was the declarations of NPP parliamentary candidates as winners while in fact the said seats have been won by the NDC parliamentary candidate for five different constituencies. In the said constituencies, the court ordered a recount of the various ballot papers after the NDC parliamentary candidates have prayed the court to order for a re-count, once again the presidential ballot papers were not re-counted, although that would not make any difference yet Ghanaians need to know. In spite of all these discrepancies the vote difference was little under 8%. This is a free education and those who have ears should listen. I am not in anyway suggesting that the NPP rigged the 2004 election neither do I doubt the credibility of the said election results in a single minute, I am analyzing the strength of the NDC on the ground.

In 2000, NDC had a larger crowd at the Takoradi Polytechnic Park than what the NPP had this year, with Mamee dokono and Ampedu campaigning for NDC yet they lost. Linking the lessons from all the past four elections, my observation is that people are showing more interest in NDC this year than any of the past election. During the previous elections, people hardly own up as NDC sympathizers, but today thousands are proud to associate themselves with the NDC. Millions of people are phoning-in on radio programs to defend the NDC this time around, which was rare some years back. If a party which people feel ashamed to associate themselves with managed to win the election in 1992 and 1996 then by logical conclusion it is a done deal for the party if people are proud to be part of it this time.

By this article I am edging all NDC sympathizer should remain focus and not to be distracted by these mammoth rallies by the NPP, since that has been their style since 1992 yet they have lost twice and have struggled to win twice. Any one who is supporting the course of the NDC today is supporting the work of the Lord. Jehovah God has prepare a promise land for Ghanaians and the only person who can take us there is a spirit-filled Pro. Atta Mills. Those who want to leave in a fools paradise are free to do that, but take it or leave it, come 7th Jan. 2009, Prof. Asomdwe Atta Mills would be sworn in as the next president of the republic of Ghana.