The tension that precedes every general election in Ghana has already begun picking pace ahead of this year’s polls.
But for the invasion of the deadly coronavirus, all political parties would have flooded every part of the country with mass rallies and campaigns. Nonetheless, contesting parties have resorted to smaller political events, including virtual ones to send their election messages to the electorates.
Interestingly, the campaign messages of the two largest and rival parties – ruling New Patriotic Party and opposition National Democratic Congress – have revolved around track records in specific sectors of the economy.
In an attempt to propagate their successes in these areas, both parties are currently embarking on smaller nationwide tours to tell their tales.
However, over the weekend there was a little ‘coincidence’ in the campaign rallies of the two parties which saw the flagbearers attempting to eat into their opponent’s stronghold almost simultaneously.
Since the dawn of the fourth republic in Ghana, the NDC which has ruled the country for gf`16 years has consistently remained dominant in the Volta Region whiles the NPP which has ruled the country for a little over 12 years has laid perpetual claim to the Ashanti Region.
Thus, to the average Ghanaian voter, any attempt by the two to focus on the other’s stronghold virtually amounts to chasing the wind, irrespective of the shifting political dynamics.
But this did not stop the two parties this weekend.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who concluded the 4-day tour of his stronghold, the Ashanti Region some days ago was, almost immediately, followed by his most viable contender, former President John Dramani Mahama.
During John Mahama’s visit, he zoomed in on some key constituencies after visiting Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, including the Asawase constituency which has over the years become a fertile ground for the NDC.
In his address, he made attempts, as expected, to talk electorates out of voting for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and for that matter, the NPP again.
He claimed the Akufo-Addo-led NPP had taken their most reliable stronghold for granted since it assumed office on January 7, 2017.
Addressing a gathering on Sunday, John Mahama said electorates in the region must shift their voting pattern to favour the NDC because they did massively well.
“Nana Addo takes your votes for granted and that is why he ignored you after the election in 2016…He doesn’t have an automatic right to a second term so return the party that brings you progress back into power,” he said.
Similarly, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had addressed electorates in the Volta Region during a campaign launch in Hohoe a day before. However, he rather went big on eating from his predecessor fields.
He accused his contender of completely ignoring the region that gave him the highest votes in the 2016 presidential race.
Describing Mahama’s achievement in Volta as ‘absolutely zero’ he said; “I am sure that all of you have seen that today, the umbrella has got nothing but holes in it. It can no longer act as an umbrella, it got holes in it. When it rains and you put it up, the water will be upon you because it’s no longer working as an umbrella,” he said.
“The umbrella has dominated the politics of the Volta Region in the Fourth Republic, but what are the results? What is the progress that the Volta Region has seen under the umbrella? Zero! Zero! Zero! Absolutely zero!” the president added.
In the 2016 presidential elections, the NDC won overwhelmingly in the Volta Region, as expected, with 613,205 representing 80.75% as against the NPP that only managed to garner 133,349 which was only 17.56%.
The result from the Ashanti Region was the direct opposite of what the Volta Region recorded. The NPP pooled 1,642,288 which represented 75.99% whereas the NDC canvassed only 503,368 which translated as 23.29%.
Having tasted the presidency and learnt lessons, John Dramani Mahama is keen on making Akufo-Addo a one-term president. But the NPP claims they will not entertain it.