THE NEW Patriotic Party (NPP) has congratulated the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on its successful holding of parliamentary and presidential primaries last weekend.
In a press statement signed by Nana Akomea, Director of Communications, the NPP said it was happy that the NDC had taken a cue from the NPP's great expansion of its electoral college in 2010, which saw the dramatic increase in numbers of delegates from about 5,000 to over 140,000.
'Five years later, the NDC has taken the expansion in numbers of voters to a new level with the opening of eligibility to all card-bearing NDC members. This has seen their numbers ballooning from about 4,000 delegates to over one million voters. This is a significant development that further enhances grassroots participation in internal party democracy,' the statement said.
The opposition party however, recounted some negative occurrences that marred the otherwise very smooth primaries, saying such events should serve as lessons for all political parties in the organization of primaries.
Such negatives included reported violence, aspirants suffering assaults, reported kidnappings of rival supporters, free-for-all fights, destruction and snatching of ballot boxes, ransacking and locking of Electoral Commission offices.
'Incidents of intimidation reported also included reported deployment of 'land guards' and the military to intimidate voters, while also there were disputes over the parliamentary registers. There were also reports of deletion of names, fraudulent manipulation of constituency registers to favour particular candidates and outright destruction of registers. 'Furthermore, there were rampant name calling and insults, especially in the run-up, with aspirants accusing others of employing voodoo and other underhand efforts.'
Tribalism And Ethnicity
There were also reports of tribalism and ethnicity being employed in campaigns, as well as reports of vote buying.
On these, the NPP highlighted: 'These negative incidents should serve as warnings for political parties in our organization of primaries.
'They also signify the need for political parties to come together to brainstorm on new measures and rules of engagement that can limit these negative occurrences during primaries or elections in general.'
The NPP stated that it was shocked at the defeat of some rather loud-mothed contestants including Derek Adjei, Kpessa Whyte, Abraham Amaliba and Peter Otukunor.
'This shows that loud soundings on radio do not necessarily indicate popularity.'
Mahama's Approval Rating
The party said President Mahama’s endorsement by 95 percent of the NDC voters may be seen in NDC circles as overwhelming. However, some trend analysis indicates that his performance may actually be on the decline.
'We note that as the incumbent, President Mahama enjoys all the huge advantages of executive presidency. He also had no contestant.
'He, nevertheless, also engaged in a massive nationwide campaign in the run-out to the flagbearership primary.
'His 95.1 percent endorsement compares not too favourably with Nana Akufo Addo's 94.3 percent, considering that Nana Addo did not enjoy any advantages of an incumbent presidency and faced contests from three other party stalwarts.'
The opposition said in 2011, President John Evans Atta Mills, against fierce competition from Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, secured 96.7 percent of valid votes cast. President Mahama in 2012 unopposed, secured 99.5 percent of valid votes cast.
In 2015, still unopposed, President Mahama secures 95.1 percent of valid votes cast, a worse result than President Mills' and a loss of more than 4 percent of President Mahama’s own endorsement in 2012.
'We have been told by at least one parliamentary contestant that a lot of bribe giving, cajoling, begging and tears had to be employed in order to reduce the number of 'No'votes.
'In the absence of no contestant, the ‘No' votes also imply that nearly 5 percent of NDC supporters prefer anybody than President Mahama.
This should be food for thought for all.'
A Daily Guide Report