Story: A Political Desk Analysis
In December 2024, Ghanaian citizens will go to the polls once again to elect a President and Members of Parliament. The question that will be on the minds and lips of many is, “who wins?”
The Today Newspaper takes a broad look at the political parties and contenders who will jump into the races for Parliament and Jubilee House in 2024.
The 2020 parliamentary elections brought intense attention and focus on Parliament. Two political parties, NDC and the NPP finished the parliamentary races with an even split of the seats with 137 each. It is an independent member of parliament who gave the NPP the majority. As a result of the even split in seats, in an interesting turn of events, the Speaker of Parliament was chosen from among the minority NDC. Speaker Alban Bagbin is a former majority leader in Parliament from the NDC political party.
The two political parties have experienced how keen parliamentary debates have been and the importance of ensuring the physical presence of their members in the House when votes are taken on important matters. As such, who goes to parliament after the 2024 elections may be as important as who becomes the President of the Republic. On the side of the NPP, 18 experienced and relatively powerful MPs have decided not to participate in the upcoming primaries to choose parliamentary candidates. They include Presidential aspirants Kennedy Ohene Agyapong and Joe Ghartey, Majority Leader Kyei Mensah Bonsu and Ministers Dan Botwe, Kwaku Afriyie and Kwaku Amoako-Atta.
Independents observers predict that the NPP may end up with fewer than 137 seats in Parliament. This they say will depend upon the results of the upcoming primaries involving siting members of parliament. It is felt that if invisible hands are “seen” manipulating results, it will break party cohesion and bring about skirt and blouse voting that will favour candidates from other political parties.
Some notable incumbents, 16 in number, also on the NDC side, were defeated during the primaries. They included A.B.A. Fuseini, Wisdom Woyome, Edward Bawa, Dr. Kwabena Donkor and Dr. Alex Adomako Mensah.
One political party that is reportedly close to deciding to “cash in” on the focus on Parliament is the Progressive People’s Party (PPP). The PPP according to insiders intends to use the 2024 parliamentary elections to announce its maturity and permanent presence on the Ghanaian political scene. According to an influential member of the National Executive Committee, the party will focus on winning parliamentary seats to give it the opportunity to be a power broker in Parliament. The PPP officer told Today that even one seat in Parliament will ensure serious consideration of its policy positions and put it in contention for future presidential wins. From the grapevine, it seems that the party will focus its energies and resources on selected constituencies to ensure that it can get some seats in Parliament. Sources in the party tell Today that they will declare victory in 2024 based upon what results it obtains in the parliamentary races it competes in.
Today newspaper eyes and ears on the ground predict the most wide open presidential election since the beginning of the Fourth Republic. It may appear to some that the 2024 presidential election is between the NPP’s Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and the NDC’s John Dramani Mahama. That, experts say, is a wrong assumption. It will not be that easy apparently. Experts believe that the performance of independents and candidates of the so-called smaller political parties will determine who wins the presidential race.
In the 2020 presidential election, the incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo saw his winning margin and votes drop from the 2016 election to 6,730,587 or 51.30%. His Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is seen to be carrying the burden. He is tied to the performance of the Akufo-Addo administration and the policy decisions of the administration. The extent to which he is able to demonstrate that he is his own man with better policies will determine how well he does in 2024. Some analysts point to presence in the presidential race of Alan Kyerematen as a huge potential drain of votes from Dr. Bawumia. His success is also tied to ability to encourage Kennedy Adjapong to join the campaign actively.
The former President (and Vice President to the late President John Atta-Mills) John D. Mahama had 6,213,182 votes at 47.36% in the 2020 elections, losing to the man he had beaten in the 2012 election. Some say he lost due to an “incompetent” label, something his supporters say he has been vindicated on by the performance of the current administration. His chances may depend on the extent to which he convinces his party leaders and citizen voters that he can only serve for one four- year term and with no fear of a second term election, he will use those years to clean up the financial and development challenges to be left by the current administration.
It is predicted by some that the two, Dr. Bawumia and Mr. Mahama may choose female running mates for the 2024 election. If the NDC candidate chooses to go back with Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman, the NPP candidate may be forced to choose a female running mate perhaps Chief of Staff Frema Opare or Minister for Communications Ursula Owusu.
But independent observers and analysts point to the groundswell of sentiments that a new player may be welcomed this time around by the voters. Word on the ground is that voters are disappointed with what democracy has brought so far in the 4th Republic. Some are planning not to vote.
Who wins from our research so far will not depend on what NPP or NDC does this year. Who wins may depend on the ability of independent forces and smaller parties to organize and give hope to the citizens.