By Gabriel Dei Yeboah, Election Watcher, Bono East Region, Ghana
As another electoral cycle approaches, political parties are all lacing their boots for the 2024 Presidential and parliamentary elections in different ways. Specifically, they are electing their executive Officers at all levels, namely, polling or branch station, constituency, regional and national executives. It is important to note, that legally, these elections are in accordance with the Political Party Act; Act 574 of 2000, which requires the political parties to choose their leaders through democratic means.
Even though these elections are intraparty in nature, they are no doubt of public interest. This is not only because the political parties themselves are public organizations, but also because whatever transpires there has a direct impact on our governance and democratic credentials. If nothing at all, these political parties can be described as the manufacturers of our political leaders, because, more often than not, they form the government and produce most, if not all our political leaders.
So far, two major political parties in the country have successfully undertaken their branches or polling station, constituency and national executive elections successfully. The happenings in these recent intra-party elections and the previous ones are pregnant of valuable lessons to all those who will want to contest elections in Ghana in future.
These lessons are premised on the fact that the delegates were drawn from the nooks and crannies of the country and therefore can be, more or less, a good sample for the study of a typical Ghanaian voter. In the same way, what transpired throughout these elections constitute a macrocosm and a reflection of national general elections in the country. Prior to election day, some important personalities in the parties declared their support to some particular candidates.
Some of the candidates also tried to link their electoral fortunes with others by pitching camps and openly aligning themselves with the seemingly more popular candidates and some influential personalities in their parties, all in the belief that this open support of such bigwigs would translate into victory. In the process and as part of the grand scheme, some were overhyped by the media with their pictures and billboards all over.
Surprisingly, most of these candidates lost the elections, despite the massive support they enjoyed from these influential people in the party and the media.
The big lesson that future candidates in both intra and inter-party elections can draw is, that the current Ghanaian voter is becoming more and more enlightened and independent-minded, such that they do not take line, hook and sinker whatever anybody says about any candidate and that they can make their own independent assessment of the performance and eligibility of candidates and vote accordingly. By extension, this also means that future contestants should personally work their own way out by working hard and behave well enough to endear themselves to the hearts of ordinary voters before they can win their votes, but not to lazily grid on the wings of other influential people to victory. After all, the so-called influential people in society do not have the voting rights of others in their pockets, and neither do the celebrities control the minds of their fans when it comes to voting.
One situation that cuts across the two political parties at all levels is the pre-election tension associated with the elections. In the case of the national executive elections, the tension became greater as the elections drew closer, amidst allegations and counter-allegations of all kinds by some of the candidates and their supporters. Sometimes the situation looked so precarious, that there was the fear that the elections might disintegrate the political system.
However, they have come out of the elections whole and even stronger. This is a good omen for Ghana. By our nature as peace-loving Ghanaians, no matter how heated our electioneering may be, we know how to come together again as one people in the aftermath of elections.We also heard allegations of some candidates using money and other influences. Ironically, most of those who were accused of using money did not win the elections. If these allegations were true and anything to go by, then what it tells us is that the influence of money in elections is fading away and this, no doubt, is good for our democracy.
The maturity that the delegates of these political parties have demonstrated in their executive elections and the ability with which they have managed the post-election issues needs to be applauded. It is not only admirable, but also a casting shadow of greater things to come. It is our hope and prayer that all the lessons learnt in previous general elections and In the intra-party ones will be imbibed, going forward into the 2024 general elections. We look forward to a keenly-contested general election with peaceful aftermath in 2024 and beyond; Isha Allah. LONG LIVE GHANA; LONG LIVE GHANA`S ENVIABLE DEMOCRACY.