One wonders why Mr John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost the 2016 general elections. It is of particular amazement because of the hard work and input the passing administration made towards the wellbeing of Ghanaians.
The President in particular had relentlessly fought to improve upon the infrastructural deficit of the country such that it was only natural that he continued in that direction. But as fate had it, he lost, and it is worth considering the issues that led to this sudden withdrawal of the NDC from power.
Firstly, it would not be wrong to say that John Dramani Mahama, like his predecessor in the 2000 general election, is but an unfortunate victim of the desire to see change. In 2000 many Ghanaians felt that the P(NDC) had ruled Ghana for close to 20 years and needed to see a new face. In that regard the good and extraordinary nature of Professor Mills did not matter. He lost easily to John Agyekum Kuffour of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) because people thought that Jerry Rawlings would have hidden behind him to continue his reign.
Again, John Mahama had to lose because Ghanaians seem to be nurturing a culture that ensures no party gets more than two terms, irrespective of the face on the ballot paper. Unfortunately for John, he was going for a second term whereas his party was going for a third term. This means that President Mahama should not have anticipated an easy victory irrespective of his numerous projects. Even if he had won, he would have done so based on extremely extraordinary circumstances that would have given the Ghanaian voter no choice than to vote for him. This was because they just wanted the party to go.
Secondly, Mahama presided over a media terrain that was largely dominated by sympathizers of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Most of these stations used the Akan language (the widely spoken Ghanaian language) as their medium of communication and succeeded in whipping massive support for the NPP. To a large extent, the NDC government failed to consider the enormous role the media plays in governance and allowed the opposition unchallenged control of the power of the media. What it means is that the NPP succeeded in pushing their message home much better and with much efficiency than the NDC.
Another thing that might have played seriously against the NDC was the complacency thing. Just like the NPP did during the 2008 elections, the NDC went into this polls believing they had won already. In that regard they failed to fight as they were supposed to. The result being that they allowed the NPP to hammer home as much messages as possible to Ghanaians. The NDC took the campaign cool and went about it with utmost ease. In the end, the hard work of the NPP paid as they were able to infiltrate the Ghanaian people so much that the citizens saw issues beyond the contributions of John Mahama.
Then comes the issue of the economy. As President Mahama explained during the campaign, the bid to embark on infrastructural development weighs heavily on the pocket, and so for close to four years, Ghanaians were subjected to acute economic hardship that was really biting. The crime of the NDC was their inability to educate the masses in time to understand the need to bite the bullet whilst they sacrificed for developmental projects. And so the NDC looked on whilst the NPP made capital gains of the economic situation. As such Ghanaians felt the John Mahama administration had brought untold hardship to the people such that they had no choice than to prefer Nana Addo of the NPP.
Then comes the attitude of the men that surrounded the President. As is the case with most Ghanaian governments, the leader would be good but would be undermined by the very people he trusts. The large numbers of Members of Parliament (MP) from his camp who lost their seats did not only bring the government down, but also showed the extent to which the people abhorred those MPs. In all close to fifty Members of Parliament from the NDC lost their seats. This shows that John Mahama lost not in his own right as president, but the dislike of his MPs by the people affected him seriously.
These MPs and ministers, mostly young men who got such an opportunity to build a political career for themselves, seemed overwhelmed by power and neither checked the way they spoke to issues nor carried themselves before the Ghanaian people. Some were clearly detached from their constituencies and believed so much in their seemingly entrenched control over those constituencies. The result being that they dragged the fine gentleman who had so much prospects of continuing in government down with them.
Perhaps the most gruesome crime the NDC leadership committed was their inability to bridge the gap between them and Jerry Rawlings, the founder of the party. For close to eight years, Flt. Lt. J. J Rawlings and his wife had been at the throat of the NDC government accusing them of corruption and mismanagement. It is ironical that the rank and file of the NDC chose rather to sideline the former president and forge ahead thinking that the influence of Jerry Rawlings over their electoral fortunes was over. But anybody who had lived in Ghana for the past twenty years knew that the former president was perhaps one of the reasons why most people still supported the NDC. In this wise, it was only proper that, despite his persecution of the NDC government, they should have teamed up with him, like Akuffo-Addo did with former president Kuffour.
But all is not lost, democracy is a cyclical process. What goes round comes round. All too soon the good people of Ghana may be calling on the NDC again to form a government, and it is only wise that they go back to the drawing table and put things right.
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