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Opinions of Monday, 30 December 2013

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

What Actually Caused the NPP's Electoral Defeat in 2012?

In any democratic country, the preoccupation of any serious political party after electoral contest would be the assessment of its performance, irrespective of the outcome of the elections. Therefore, whether the New Patriotic Party (NPP) lost or won the 2012 general elections is immaterial as far as post moterm is concerned. Many an NPP member/sympathiser, if not all Ghanaians expected the NPP as a formidable group to do this as a matter urgency having lost two consecutive elections against a poor performing NDC government.

Though, an attempt was made in 2010 to find solutions to the challenges that emanated from the 2008 electoral defeat, the real causes of the NPP's defeat was not captured on paper. Unfortunately, Dr. Arthur Kennedy's revelations in his book entitled; "Chasing the Elephant into the Bush" was treated with the contempt that it deserved. Thus, in spite of the reforms that took place in the party, eg. expansion of the electoral college etc, the NPP still lost the 2012 general elections by a slim margin.

Regrettably, the party leadership has failed to do a post moterm of the 2012 elections. The NPP consumed a lot of time on the Election Petition, but that couldn't have stopped them from acting better. Instead, the leadership wasted precious time in endorsing Nana Akufo-Addo as the party's flag bearer for the 2016 elections. They forgot to understand that until we act faster and smarter to put certain things right, no NPP Presidential Candidate, including Nana Addo can win any elections in Ghana, at least, for now.

For a very long time, the NPP has been accused of being an Akan Party. Our opponents have proven this accusation with evidence from the Presidential Candidates we have presented over the years. They talk about the late Prof. Albert Adu Boahen, John Agyekum Kufuor, and Nana Akufo-Addo. But, whether this perception is right or not, the NPP was able win both the 2000 and 2004 general elections with an Akan Candidate. Though, there was widespread perception that an Asante could never become president in Ghana, Kufuor proved the detractors wrong and nipped that propaganda in the bud.

By Kufour's resounding victories against another Akan, John Mills, the NDC's propaganda on Asantes stopped because Kufuor won between 4 and 6 of the country's regions in both the parliamentary and presidential elections. In 2008, the NPP presented another Akan Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Nana competed against another Akan Candidate from the NDC and won three (3) regions - Ashanti, Eastern, Brong-Ahafo, but failed to secure over 50% of the valid votes cast to make him the president. Surprisingly, in the 2008 run-off, Nana Addo managed to win only two (2) regions, but here again, the votes in these regions decreased marginally.

Similarly, in the 2012 general elections, Nana Addo who competed with a new Candidate from the Northern Region, John Mahama maintained the same two (2) regions and lost the elections. The electoral figures even showed that the NPP was struggling to even maintain the two (2) regions.

What then could be the reasons for the NPP's electoral defeats in 2012? This write-up attempts to find the answer and I hope readers would be honest in helping me unravelling this mystery.

• Was the defeat due to the the party's Presidential Candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, in terms of his appeal to floating voters? Was John Mahama a better candidate than Nana Addo?

• Did the Electoral Commission led by Afari Gyan rig the presidential elections for John Mahama and his NDC?

• If so, what about the parliamentary elections, where the NPP lost as many as 28 seats? Did Afari Gyan rig that one for all the NDC's Candidates?

• Could the defeat be attributed to the NPP's Campaign Message of Free SHS, which the NDC saw as not feasible?

• Could the NPP's National Executive led by Jake Obetsebi Lamptey be blamed for the party's defeat?

• What about the NPP's Election Committee led by Hon. Mathew Opoku Prempeh? Since the NPP Polling Agents were required to text all the results from the 26,002 polling stations to the NPP National Headquarters before the EC, can the Committee give details of our results in order to compare it with the EC's?

• Could the defeat be attributed to the seeming factionalism and apathy within the party?Thus, did our own NPP members vote against Akufo-Addo or didn't vote for him at all? Just check the challenges of the party's internal elections.

• Did those surrounding Nana Akufo-Addo, especially the "Akyem Mafia" had a role in his defeat, in terms of giving him false hope and wrong advice; and sidelining other key figures who could win more votes for the NPP?

• Could we blame the entire NPP members and sympathisers for not coming out to vote?

• Was it due to the spoiled ballot papers in the NPP's strongholds?

• Did the Akan or Asante-Akyem tag really affect the party's chances of winning?

• Could the NPP's economic performance in government between 2001 and 2009 be a factor?

• Did the Polling Agents fail to do their jobs well, and if so, were they resourced enough?

• Did the party's communicators fail to discharge their duties effectively? Did they actually convince voters with the party's message?

• What about the actions/pronouncements of certain key figures like Sir John, Ken Agyapong, Wireko Brobbey etc, especially the Ga/Ewe issue?

• Can we also blame Justice Atuguba and his SC for denying the NPP victory?

• Was the NPP not resourceful enough to match the NDC as an incumbent government?

• Could we level the blame on the NPP's Parliamentary Candidates, especially those who were more concerned about their individual victories and not the presidential one?

• Did the NPP's defeat have something to do with NDC's achievements in government over the past four (4) years?

• Did President Mills' untimely death win more sympathy votes for the NDC?

• Was the defeat due to Nana Addo's "All die be die" and "Y3n Akanafoo" comment which was misconstrued by the NDC propagandists?

• Was it that the Ghanaian voter wanted the NDC to complete its full term of eight (8) years as they did for the NDC one under Rawlings, and NPP under Kufuor?

• Could we also blame Nana Addo's Campaign Team led by Boakye Agyarko?

Folks, I'm more concerned about our defeat in order to prepare well in 2016. We cannot afford another defeat in 2016. We heard of "Victory 2008" and nothing positive came out of that; there was "Victory 2012", and you and I were witnesses to what happened; and I'm hearing "Victory 2016" today, yet our commitment to it is not the best. Were we not told that the NPP would be challenging as many as 38 parliamentary seats because they were rigged for the NDC's candidates in 2012? Why are we not hearing anything about it again?

I rest my case!

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri (Free SHS Ambassador) Official blog: ( 0202471070 : 0264931361 : 0547851100