2024 Election: Experts Assess NPP’s Chances Of Winning Next Presidential Election

2024 Election: Experts Assess NPP’s Chances Of Winning Next Presidential Election

  • The groundswell of goodwill in the first few years of the Nana Akufo-Addo government and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was refreshing
  • For many, it presented a great opportunity to rally the patriotic spirit of citizens for national development.
  • However, that goodwill would quickly fizzle out and be replaced with public cynicism. Moreover, the economic crunch has worsened public sentiments about the current administration.
  • YEN.com.gh presents the view of experts on the chances of the governing NPP retaining power after eight years.

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Nana Akufo-Addo won the 2016 presidential elections after a sustained campaign that started right after losing the 2012 elections. His challenge of the 2012 election result at the Supreme Court, the solemn speech after the court upheld the results in favour of John Mahama, and an array of good PR strategies rooted him firmly in the minds of Ghanaians for the next election. And when the 2016 campaign started, he went all out, saying the right things on radio and TV, promising Free SHS and other freebies and hitting hard at Mahama's economic faults.

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He got help from some great guys too. Respected lawyers, captains of industries and revered "men of God" backed him with suiting comments. Those were great times. Didactic analysis on current affairs from Ace Ankomah, Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey, Professor Stephen Adei and the Christian Council brought heart-warming perspectives on what the country was lacking to progress and the direction it needed to take for the attainment of the collective good. But these comments invariably propped up Nana Akufo-Addo's popularity.

By December 7, 2016, Nana Akufo-Addo had been imprinted in the minds of many Ghanaians as a selfless, already-made man and a senior citizen preoccupied with making Ghana the great country that it is. A few people doubted him, but in a democracy, the majority views hold sway. Many Ghanaians at the time felt he was a kind politician who had been unjustly vilified and body-shamed by his detractors for political gains.

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Akufo-Addo 2016 inauguration
Akufo-Addo (C) takes the oath of office during the swearing-in as President of the fourth Republic of Ghana, in Independence Square in the capital Accra, on January 7, 2017. Source: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

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Never mind that sections of his inauguration speech were plagiarised. For many Ghanaians, his admonishing Ghanaians to be "citizens and not spectators" was a master stroke. That was what Ghanaians needed to hear. That is what a true statesman would say. And Nana said it.

Scandals & Controversies Hit Akufo-Addo's Government

Akufo-Addo's success as a head of state is NPP's success. So his failures equally affect the party's fortunes. That is why the yearly scandals that hit his government spell doom for the party's desire to "break the 8" or stay in power after Akufo-Addo completes his two terms in 2024.

The scandals under Akufo-Addo are numerous and credible surveys show perceived mismanagement of state resources is high. Nii Armah Addy, a leadership and governance expert with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a left-of-centre policy think tank, thinks NPP's chances of retaining power are slim for two reasons: history and Akufo-Addo's inspiring leadership.

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"From 1992, when we started the Fourth Republic, every party has had eight years. So whether Akufo-Addo has done exceptionally well or performed woefully, the records show that his party will leave power," he told YEN.com.gh.

But Mr Addy is not convinced Nana Akufo-Addo has done well enough to earn his party another term at the presidency.

"The president campaigned heavily on the themes of corruption, incompetence and underdevelopment of the country. So, if I take these issues that the president primarily campaigned on, I would say our president has performed woefully below average. Corruption is very high," Mr Addy said.

He observed that while the public expectation of the current administration's ability to improve Ghana's economy was high, it had failed Ghanaians.

"The current cedi-to-dollar exchange rate exposes the president," he chipped in.

He also scored the president low on competence because, under his administration, many independent studies have shown public confidence in the judiciary was dwindling.

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"On his profession as a lawyer, I would say that he has failed woefully to bring back or instill the public confidence in our judiciary. And it is so loud out there. Every study that is conducted on our judiciary, public confidence is very low," he lamented.

Public Cynicism Greets Akufo-Addo's Polls

Amid the biting economic hardship, YEN.com.gh asked readers on Facebook, "What do you think Nana Addo should do to get our economy back on track?" The over 600 responses in the post's comments section capture the public sentiments about the government.

YEN.com.gh's poll on what Akufo-Addo can do to improve the economy
YEN.com.gh's poll on what Akufo-Addo can do to improve the economy. Source: Facebook/@yen.com.gh
Source: Facebook

Many Ghanaians felt the president and all his appointees needed to resign. One comment read as follows:

"Reduce the number of ministers, appointees, sack the finance minister, minister of health, cancel mps ex gratia, reduce mps, govt appointees and ministers salary by 60% and also fight corruption and many more."

Mr Addy expressed a similar view when he said it reflects badly on the president that he has failed to reshuffle any of his appointments.

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"The fact that he has not been able to do any reshuffle; and the fact that his nominees for major positions like health and education have performed poorly, we can say that his leadership is very bad," he said.

Too Early To Predict NPP's Fate

Pollster Ben Ephson cautions against an early assessment of NPP's chances ahead of the general election. He said although the media seems inundated with critical comments about Nana Akufo-Addo's government, it may not affect the governing party's chances in 2024.

"It is too early to predict the NPP's chances. Don't forget who the party elects as a flagbearer can change the dynamics for the party. If any of the presidential aspirants begin to appeal to voters more for one reason or another and that person emerges the flagbearer of the party, of course that is a plus for the party," he told YEN.com.gh.

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Mr Ephson also thinks whatever the chances of the party in 2024, an early presidential primary will work well to heal wounds and unite the party behind the chosen flagbearer.

In a nutshell, whether Akufo-Addo's troubled governance would affect the NPP's chances in 2024 or whether it is too early to make an accurate prediction, one thing is clear: the party faces an uphill task ahead.

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Source: YEN.com.gh

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