Institutional memory is very important in the life of every organization. It is exactly so because organizations like human beings are living entities, they therefore grow to embrace new ideas and innovations bearing in mind the collective set of facts, concepts, experiences and knowledge held by its members.
Unfortunately, in the case of the New Patriotic Party, it appears the party has easily forgotten about its painful past and keeps on committing the same mistakes which culminated in the party’s defeat in the 2008 parliamentary election and eventually overturning the NPP Presidential Candidate’s first round victory in favour of the NDC Presidential Candidate.
For the records, the table below gives the composition of the 5th parliament of the fourth republic elected on 7thDecember, 2008.
2008 Parliamentary Composition
|National Democratic Congress||NDC||116|
|New Patriotic Party||NPP||107|
|Peeople’s National Convention||PNC||02|
|Convention Peoples Party||CPP||0.1|
Government Majority 09
(Source: EC, Ghana, 2008)
Readers are to note, the government majority of nine (09) was arrived at by subtracting the NPP seats from the NDC seats as follow:
NDC, 116 – NPP, 107= 09
This write up started with the caption “NPP 2020 Parliamentary Primaries Brouhaha Any Lesson From The Party’s 2008 Bitter Experience”? If one takes a look at the 2008 parliamentary standings above, four (4) Independent Candidates won the seats in their respective constituencies. The names of the constituencies these independent candidates won are;
- Nkawkaw Constituency
- Bosome Freho Constituency
- Bekwai Constituency
- Wulensi Constituency
The tables below depict the results of the parliamentary election as declared by the Electoral Commission on the 7th December, 2008
|Seth Adjei Baah||Independent||21507||54.14%|
|Okekyere Edusa Kwabena||NPP||15686||39.48%|
|Kwabena Nkensah Boama||NDC||2125||5.35%|
|Ampoma Dennis Bamfo||CPP||239||0.60%|
|Stephen Ansong Akuamoah||DFP||70||0.18%|
Source: (EC of Ghana, 2008)
Bosome Freho Constitiuency
|Nana Yaw Ofori-Kuragu||Independent||9140||46.96%|
|Kwadjo Kyei Frimpong||NPP||8064||41.43%|
|Asiedu Anthony Kennedy||NDC||2189||11.25%|
Source: (EC of Ghana, 2008)
|I.K Poku Edusei||NPP||8560||18.92%|
|Noah Asante Manu||NDC||1731||3.83%|
|Ben Attah Hayford||CPP||171||0.38%|
Source: (EC, Ghana, 2008)
|Alhaji Saani Iddi||Independent||10174||37.11%|
|Thomas Donkor Ogajah||NPP||8538||31.14%|
|Laliri George Maban||NDC||8335||30.40%|
|Alhaji Musah Ziblia Star Boy||CPP||196||0.71%|
Source: (EC,Ghana, 2008)
The four independent members of parliament elect were;
- Seth Adjei Baah Nkawkaw Constituency.
- Nana Yaw Ofori-Kuragu Bosome Freho Constituency.
- Joseph Osei-Owusu Bekwai Constituency.
- Alhaji Saani Iddi Wulensi Constituency.
A brief check on the four gentlemen above revealed that, they were members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in their respective constituencies. A further careful study of the tables above also revealed that, where these independent candidates won the election they were each followed by the NPP endorsed candidate. This means the NPP candidates had higher chances of winning in each case if the party had been forthright.
One of them, Nana Yaw Ofori-Kuragu was the incumbent NPP MP for the Bosome Freho Constituency at the time, but lost the parliamentary primaries organized by the party under circumstances he considered to be unfair and beyond his comprehension. He therefore decided to test his popularity in the constituency again by facing it off against the NPP endorsed candidate who defeated him in the primaries. At the end of the contest, Nana Yaw Ofori-Kuragu as independent defeated the NPP candidate with a margin of one thousand and seventy six votes (1,076).
Joseph Osei-Owusu of Bekwai was not satisfied with the primaries which he lost by just a vote to the then incumbent Member of Parliament for the constituency, I.K Poku Edusei and so decided to also test his popularity in the constituency in the parliamentary election. In the end, Joseph Osei-Owusu landslidely annihilated the incumbent with the margin of twenty six thousand, one hundred and forty votes (26,140).
In the Wulensi Constituency, the late Alhaji Saani Iddi was not satisfied with the primaries and opted to go independent and won in the end against the party’s candidate i.e Thomas Donkor Ogajah with the margin of one thousand six hundred and thirty six votes (1,636).
In the Nkawkaw Constituency, Seth Adjei Baah was not even allowed to contest in the primaries under the pretext that he was not a member of the party. Seth Adjei Baah defeated the sitting NPP MP Okekyere Edusa Kwabena with a margin of five thousand eight hundred and twenty one votes (5,821) in the general election.
If the NPP had been a bit circumspect and organized more transparent primaries perhaps this situation would not have arisen, the party would have approached the 2008 election with a united front.
The above analysis represents one side of the equation that is where the aggrieved individuals who contested as independent candidates won but weakened the strength of the party in parliament.
The other side of the equation would represent the problematic primaries and the unpopular acclamations in some constituencies where many potential candidates felt that the party had not treated them fairly and as it were decided to face it off no matter the consequences. In the end, most of them succeeded in breaking the NPPs front and in the process guaranteed safe victory for the NDC to win nine (9) more seats in parliament than the NPP.
This slim majority in parliament actually overturned the NPP’s first round presidential victory in favour of the NDC candidate with the explanation that, the NDC with a majority in parliament governance would be extremely difficult for the NPP government.
Ghanaians imbibed this idea, supported the course of the NDC and the NPP took its rightful place in opposition. Among the constituencies where the NPP’s own actions and inactions contributed to breaking its united front and aided the NDC’s easy victory included the Tain Constituency which the present day Banda Constituency was carved out from.
Once again, let us take a look at the results of the 2008 parliamentary election results as declared by the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
2008 Tain Parliamentary Election Results
|Usman Fakily Sallah||DPP||163||0.52%|
|John Kwame Duku||CPP||00||0.00%|
Source: (EC,Ghana, 2008)
A check within the constituency revealed that, Joe Danquah was the sitting NPP member of parliament at the time. One Obour Richard, a Lecturer at the then Forestry School, Sunyani had nursed his appetite to contest the parliamentary primaries against the incumbent MP. All was set for this contest at Badu, one of the towns in the constituency amid fanfare, pomp and pageantry. The program started in earnest, in the course of the proceedings; the then constituency chairman came and announced that he had received instruction for Joe Danquah to be acclaimed as the party’s candidate for the constituency so the primaries would not go ahead, it was over.
At this juncture, Obour Richard and his supporters feeling rage left the venue amid threats to contest as independent candidate. He indeed contested and let’s look at the analysis below;
Ahamed Ibrahim (NDC) 14965
Joe Danquah (NPP) 12048
Obour Richard (IND) 3927
If the NPP had gone into the contest with a united front, its votes would have been more than the NDC candidate and thereby would not have lost that seat so easily. The same situation occurred in the other constituencies which don’t readily come into mind.
Twelve years down the line, the NPP sadly is behaving like the bird that flies high into the sky and suddenly forgets that it is still on earth. Does the NPP believe that repeating this self-inflicted disaster on the party is the way to go with the string of mass disqualifications in the just ended parliamentary vetting?
The party should tread cautiously by not affirming the popular belief that ‘’power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’’. It must ensure that a level playing field exists for all, after all, it is a mass party and its privileges must be extended to all members as against the select few whose interests are being protected.
What happened to the party in the 2008 parliamentary election should be a wakeup call to the leaders of the NPP who think that all is rosy and therefore only a certain class of party supporters should be allowed to contest on the party’s ticket. The real power belongs to the electorates but not the party so the feelings of the electorates should rather play a critical role in determining who should go.
The Constituency and Regional Executives who believe that they own the party and only their choice of aspirants must emerge victorious in the vetting, well, you can have your say, the voters will have their way. They should remember that they don’t own and control the voters’ mandate, they can only suppress the processes within the party in favour of their favourites but in the general election the electorates will prove to them that, the wishes of the people are sacrosanct and must be always protected.
In conclusion, those who have ears should listen; the bitter experience of the party in the 2008 parliamentary election must not be repeated in 2020.
Joseph Opoku Kyeremeh
(A Friend Of Parliamentary Elections)
Sunyani West Constituency
22nd March, 2020
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