Ghana practises a multiparty democratic system of governance. This means multiple political parties across the political spectrum can run for the national election with their leader standing the chance of becoming the ruling president of the nation.
Since 1992, many political parties have attempted to win power but only the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have been successful.
2020 becomes the 28th year that the duopoly of NPP and NDC have been ongoing and it appears there is yet no party or candidate powerful enough to take down the two giants.
YEN.com.gh digs for the reasons behind this interesting phenomenon in Ghana politics.
Professor Ransford Gyampoh, a political scientist and lecturer at the University of Ghana (UG) opines that the situation is largely because the NPP and the NDC gained the love of the people from the onset.
"Once people hold on to one political party, it is difficult for them to break off from it to go and support another one", he said.
Below is a trend of how the NDC and the NPP have performed in the last 20 years vis a vis the smaller political parties:
2000 Presidential Elections
NDC and NPP > 92%
Other parties < 8%
2004 Presidential Elections
NDC and NPP > 97%
Other parties < 3%
2008 Presidential Elections
NDC and NPP > 96%
Other parties < 4%
2012 Presidential Elections
NDC and NPP > 98%
Other parties < 2%
2016 Presidential Elections
NDC and NPP > 98%
Other parties < 2%
From 92% of total votes cast in 2000 to 98% in 2016, the strength of the NDC and the NPP keeps growing as the fate of the smaller parties keeps getting worse.
On this, Professor Gyampoh comments:
"Clearly, in the past, we witnessed elections that could not be won without the support of the minor political parties but it is becoming increasingly clear that the NDC and the NPP no more need support from the other parties."
Then he further added that:
"Technically speaking, this tells you that Ghana is gradually moving away from multiparty democracy and is essentially turning into a two-party state."
Dr Alidu Seidu, who also lectures at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, gave a brilliant illustration of the idea Professor Gyampoh stated regarding party loyalty.
According to him, there are a number of theories that explain voter behaviour and Ghana has been exhibiting one called the Dominant Party Model which indicates that most people vote simply because they want a particular party.
"This goes to the extent that if a more capable candidate is put on the ticket of the smaller party and a relatively incompetent one on the ticket of a bigger party, people will still vote for the bigger party because of the strong belief they have in it," Dr Alidu explained.
Dr Seidu further mentioned that there if Ghana will see a change in the duopoly of the NDC and NPP, it will take a minority force that is able to alter the psyche of the Ghanaian voter.
"What the smaller parties need to do is to try and reorient the Ghanaian national psyche from the identity-based politics to issue-based politics. Then, Ghanaians will tend to decide based on track record and competence rather than identity".
Professor Gyampoh, on the other hand, believes that the smaller parties first need to focus their strength on winning the trust of the people through parliamentary seats before attempting the presidency.
Despite the discouraging statistics for the minor political candidates in Ghana, many more people and parties are contesting to become president.
In fact, history has been made in 2020 as, for the first time, a whopping number of 12 presidential candidates have successfully been selected to contest for the position of the first citizen of Ghana.
This was after the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) disqualified five other candidates who had also filed their nominations to secure their spot on the ballot paper.
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Ghanaians weigh in on the chances of the candidates on the ballot paper | #Yencomgh
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