In part one of our analyses we identified internal crisis in the NDC as a major strategic factor that could cost the party its reelection effort. We argued that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) will be able to avoid catastrophic defeat in the 2012 elections if it dealt seriously with the internal division, factionalism, disunity, accusations and counter accusations within the party. We added that the NDC could win power if it brought calm, discipline, unity, and worked to bring the Rawlingses, Dr. Spio Garbrah, Dr. Kwesi Botchway and the other disgruntled party leaders into the campaign machinery.
In this part two of our analyses we focus on those national issues that may cost the NDC its effort to retain the presidency as well as those issues that the opposition is likely to use weaken the government's chances of getting reelected.
The first is government performance regarding the promises it made to the people during the 2008 elections. There are many of the electorates who are going to look at those promises and see if they have been fulfilled or not. These promises include fuel price reduction, solving the Ya Na murder issue, unemployment, building two universities in Volta and Brong Ahafo, stadium in Cape Coast, fighting the drug menace in the Ghana and ending corruption.
The NDC may lose votes among certain key voting blocs for its failure to deliver certain specific promises. For example the STX housing issue which has not gone down well with the security forces may force them to vote against the government.
Similarly voters in Tamale and Yendi and the greater Northern Region may vote against the NDC for the promised but unsolved murder of Ya Na. In addition the NDC government is likely to encounter the wrath of voters in the three northern regions for the handling of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) issue. SADA became a serious issue in 2011 and voters who feel that the president and his government have not kept their promise may decide to vote against it.
The politicisation of the school feeding programme where people already contracted under the previous regime to provide meals for pupils had their contracts abrogated may cost the NDC some votes not only those who lost their contracts but also parents and guardians who suffered unnecessary from the confusions that came to be associated with the programme in some schools. On the other hand those who got the contracts after they were abrogated may also reward the government.
In addition the constituencies that were promised their separate districts but have so far not obtained them may also decide to punish the NDC for its failure to deliver on those promises.
Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions may also deny the NDC the votes it needs to retain power due to the government's failure to build them the Universities as promised. The voters in Volta Region may not necessary vote for the opposition NPP but may abstain from voting which may as well scatter the government's chances to retain power.
Voters in Cape Coast may as well punish the government for failing to build the stadium promised them. Unless the government can convincingly explain why these promises have not been kept the elections may not go well for the NDC.
The people of Western region may vote on whether or not the NDC has enabled them to benefit directly from the oil and gas find. The failure of the government to grant the people of Western Region the 10% oil revenue they demanded may cost the NDC some votes if the people interpret the government's decision as being insensitive to their plight. Additionally the recent brouhaha surrounding the citing of the gas project in two communities may as well cost the government some votes if they are unable to pacify the people of Bonyere in the Jomoro District who are angry about the government's decision to relocate the gas plant to Atuabo in the Ellembele District.
The youth and particularly holders of university degrees, Higher National Diploma (HND) and Senior High School certificates who are willing to work but cannot find jobs may vent their anger and frustration on the government and may decide not to vote for the government.
On a national level electorates are going to vote on whether fuel prices which the NDC promised to reduce has in fact been reduced or not. In other words voters are going to vote on whether or not they consider fuel prices higher and biting compared to what existed before the NDC replaced the NPP.
Cost of living including food, accommodation, clothing, electricity and health may play a strategic role in determining whether or not voters will vote to retain the government or not.
Of critical importance is the government management of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). The government has so far failed to deliver on its promise of the one-time payment policy. The poor handling of the NHIS and the controversies in Hospitals where patients have been refused treatment or have been forced to pay for healthcare despite having their NHIS contributions may cost government dearly. The recent demonstrations in Ashanti region should give the government a clue that all is not well with the management of the NHIS. Under the fourth republic many households believe that the National Health Insurance Scheme is one of the best things that have ever happened to them and therefore their inability to access healthcare despite their NHIS contributions may cost the government a good number of votes.
Additionally parents and guardians' ability to meet education expenses: fess, books, transportation and accommodation may be a decider in the 2012 elections.
The second is how the government has dealt with issues that have come up in the 4 years that they have been in power including allegations of corruption, incompetence, mismanagement, cover ups, and embezzlements.
We believe that the government can campaign on its economic record particularly the low inflationary figures and high economic growth rate. For example the 12% growth rate in 2011 could be used by the government to highlight its achievement. But low inflation and high economic growth rate may mean very little to voters if they cannot feel its impacts in their life. In other words voters will vote on those records if they can concritise or feel it in their pockets.
Another critical issue that may help the government is its bold implementation of the single spine salary programme. Those whose income and salaries have gone up due to the policy may decide to reward the government with their votes. However, those workers whose incomes and salaries have been slashed as a result of the policy change, as recently complained by doctors, may decide to punish the government for that. Of even critical are those workers who have still not been transferred to the scheme despite promises by government officials.
The government will be in great danger if the opposition parties particularly the New Patriotic Party (NPP) decide to make political capital out of these promises that have not been fulfilled. We believe that the opposition parties particularly the NPP will make political capital out of certain key issues that have taken place over the last three years under the current NDC regime.
On top of the issues are the Alfred Agbesi Woyome fiasco and what appear to have been a presidential cover up as well as the silence, confusion and contradictory statements from the communication team of the presidency and the party. The claim by president Mills that he had no knowledge of the debt payments together with allegations that his own ministers refused to obey his orders to stop the payments are likely to be used by his opponents to portray him as a weak president who is not on top of his administration.
Another issue that is likely to make campaign issue was Agyemang Konadu's decision to contest the party's flag bearership which was interpreted as an indictment of the performance of the government. Mrs. Konadu's decision is likely to give the NPP argumentative ammunition to punch the government.
The STX housing debacle will definitely be used by opponents of the president to portray him as someone who is full of promises but is always found wanting when it comes to delivering.
The gargantuan crime statement by the sacked minister of Justice, Martin Amidu and the Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Sipa Yankey and Muhammad Muntaka resignation on corruption allegations will likely put the government on defensive position. The opposition parties are likely to portray the government as ridden with corruption and hence does not deserve to be given a second chance.
We also believe that the alleged $20 million Adabraka NDC party mansion which the NDC failed to explain to the people of Ghana, and the contradictory statements by party officials will surface again during the campaign.
Additionally the sacking of Professor Frimpong Boateng; the handling of strike by doctors and other workers; President Mills' Ivory Coast “dzi wo fie asem” statement; the Kwabena Adjei's cleansing the judiciary comments; Teye Nyawunu's statement about Yutong buss statements; the power struggle between Mahama Ayariga and Koku Anyidoho; Asiedu Nketiah's Bui Dam cement corruption saga; Mahama Ayariga's tractor deal and other issues will force the government on the defensive.
Our analyses of these issues show that if the government and its strategists fail to appropriately respond to these issues and convince the electorates, it may send the government into opposition after the 2012 elections.
By Lord Aikins Adusei