Ghana, since 1992 has undergone significant political transformation from the days of J.J Rawlings against Adu Boahene (1992), J.J Rawlings against J.A Kufuor(1996), J.A Kufuor against J.E.A Mills (2000), J.A Kufuor against J.EA Mills (2004), J.E.A Mills against Akufo-Addo (2008) and J.D Mahama against Akufo-Addo (2012). Until the Fourth Republic, the voting patterns in election years had been between Nkrumah and Danquah/Busia traditions. The origin, political ideologies of the leaders of these two traditions greatly influenced the regional voting behaviour of the electorates.
The beginning of the Fourth Republic has seen a paradigm shift in voter support and subsequent voting trends from the previous Nkrumah/CPP – Danquah/Busia lines to a Rawlings/NDC – Danguah/Busia (NPP) tradition. Ghana, being a ten-regional nation has suffered from continuous political divisiveness based on ethnic/tribal belongingness engineered by political party affiliations, ideologies, birth places of majority of the leaders and by dint of family heritage.
A critical look at the regional/ethnic voting patterns from the 2000 to 2012 shows clearly that, Ghana is indeed politically divided. Without any un-biasness, Ghana could by far be described as a two party state, the National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party since 1992, have all tested political power in turns. However, the determinants of these two political parties’ reign have not been on socio-development ideas but rather two regions considered to be their ‘world banks’.
The NDC, per the origin of its party founder (J.J Rawlings) have benefited immensely from the Volta Region while the NPP has equally gained much support from the Ashanti Region.
In the 2000 general elections, NPP, represented by J.A Kufuor amassed 78.80% whiles the NDC, led by J.E.A Mills tried hard to secure 22.51% of the total ballot cast in the Ashanti Region. This gave a clear difference of 56.29%. On the other hand, the story was totally different in the Volta Region, where the NDC bagged 86.28% as compared to the NPP which begged for 7.90% of the total ballot cast. Here, the difference was 78.38%. Mind you, J.A Kufuor was born and bred Ashanti man so it was not surprising that he was able to amass the said total number of votes from his home region. The overwhelming record of the NDC in the Volta Region was attributed to the founder J.J Rawlings; who is a native of the Volta Region but not the party’s candidate, J.E.A Mills.
Having won the 2000 general elections, J.A Kufuor was optimistic of a second term in office after the 2004 elections. However, though the Ashanti region gave him 76.97% as compared to his competitor J.E.A Mills who secured 21.84% of the total ballot cast. The Volta Region still showed enough love and support for the NDC with an 84.06% vote which was a slight decline to the previous election. The NPP on the other hand had by means of development projects, increased its popularity in the region by gaining 13.68% which was an appreciable increase in the previous election. Despite the differences in the votes gained, the Ashanti and Volta Regions never rescinded their loyalty to the two parties.
Akufo-Addo, in 2008 was a new candidate for the NPP, going by the matrixes of previous elections and if indeed Ghanaian elections were based on programs, policy ideas and candidate’s popularity, J.E.A Mills, who was contesting for a third consecutive time should have indeed garnered more votes in the Ashanti Region. The NPP still dominated with 72.53% as compared to the NDC’s 26.01% of the total ballot cast. NDC recorded 85.47% with the NPP bagging a consoling 15.38% votes in the Volta Region. J.E.A Mills emerged the winner of the 2008 general elections with a tally of votes from his hometown region; Central Region which gave him 50.58%.
The sudden and tragic demise of J.E.A Mills gave way to the then sitting Vice president John Mahama. After serving the remaining term of J.E.A Mills, the NDC endorsed him as their flagbearer going into the 2012 general elections. John Mahama had less than six months within which to tour the length and breadth of Ghana to campaign. But then again, the world bank of the NDC (Volta Region) did the magic, supported by the three northern regions because Mahama hails from there. The voting trend was more of a recurrence; Ashanti Region gave 28.35% to NDC and 70.86% for NPP. Volta Region did disappoint the NDC with a resounding majority vote of 85.47% with 12.93% going to the NPP.
This phenomenon is very detrimental to the democracy, security, economic stability and social cohesion of Ghana. A rigorous national sensitization and an equitable distribution of all natural resources of the nation backed by an all-inclusive/comprehensive development agenda must be the strategic formula in bridging this political divisive gab.
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