A distinct feature of electoral democracies is a charged atmosphere of hyper-political participation during the year preceding the election year and the election year as well, which may be fertile grounds for democratic relapse.
After those two years, people get laid back on participation until political power is up for grabs again.
Ghana’s young democracy is no different
While it is highly deemed as the beacon of democracy, Ghana’s democracy remains largely deficient in broad participation beyond elections. A good observation of 2021, and 2022 will bring to bear that Ghanaians were in a far worse economic situation than they are now in 2023. It will also show that people had more cause to demonstrate as inflation kept soaring.
However, as an electoral democracy, such high political participation is maimed until the election year lurks around.
The high periodic participation has birthed many political vocabularies like “All Die Be Die”, “Boot to Boot”, and this time round, “Showdown”, “Hooligans”, etc.
The opposition gets politically aggressive, aiming to charge its base and entire citizenship to get ready to kick out the government. The waiting government (opposition) will take every chance to hit the government with criticisms through facts, propaganda, parliamentary probes, and demonstrations, among others. Call them opportunistic, call them great communicators, and call them patriots, whatever!
This is the time when momentum to win an election begins for the opposition.
Particularly for the Nana Addo’s government which has popularly sought to ambitiously break the cyclical eight-year party rule of the 30-year uninterrupted democratic transfer of power, the pressure of the opposition could not only mean a loss of a dream but an unprecedented loss of an incumbent.
Making matters worse for the incumbent party, research by Global Info Analytics indicates that the NPP will not win the 2024 General elections with massive impacts from the Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen’s breakaway amidst a fierce race for the next flagbearer. Most, obviously, one did not need Global Info Analytics to predict this. However, Global Info Analytics’ research only scientifically affirmed what many foretellers of political folktales had already said.
“For the 2024 general election, the poll shows JDM leading with 48.3%, followed by Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (DMB) with 28.0%, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen with 11.3%, the other candidates attract 3.4%, 3.7% will prefer someone else and 5.4% are undecided. However, in the race between JDM, KOA (Kennedy Ohene Agyapong), AKK, and others, John Mahama leads with 48.0%, KOA attracts 27.2%, AKK, 11.4%, others, 2.8%, someone else, with 3.5% and undecided 7.1%”.”
Global Info Analytics
Should this happen, it will be the ever-worst loss of an incumbent party in the 4th republic.
Against this background, the charged political atmosphere in Ghana is evident in the promise of “showdowns”, personal attacks, resorting to violent means for redress of issues, and politics of insult that characterize such years.
Many well-meaning Ghanaians were particularly surprised when the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison called demonstrators of the OCCUPYBOGPROTEST “hooligans”. While most of his actions hitherto have been unwelcoming for the Minority, especially his refusal to receive their petition in person, tagging them as hooligans was by far the worst he should have ever reached.
A sharp response from the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Samuel Nartey George added salt to the injury. Samuel George Nartey in his response counterattacking the Governor called the Governor a “coward”, “thief”, and “murderer”.
“I’d rather be a hooligan fighting for the right things to be done in his country and being a voice for the youth and voiceless than to be a coward, thief, and murderer! Yes! I am a hooligan!”
Samuel Nartey George, MP
He went on to promise the governor and the government more hooliganism until their desire for the governor to resign was realized.
How far will the minority go to meet this end remains a mystery given the history of the potency of demonstrations and probes under this government. Many believe the Governor will not resign just as the Finance Minister did not.
Notwithstanding the Minority in Parliament has pledged not to stop until he is out.
Before this happened, a much respected Member of Parliament, Francis Xavier Kojo Sosu goofed on a video that trended on social media. In the video, the Member of Parliament was heard insulting the government in unsavory language during the OCCUPYBOGPROTEST. He apologized following the condemnation of his choice of words by many citizens.
Then came the attacks by some supposed NPP youth who attacked a live show on UTV requesting for a reform to the show. According to them, the reform will allow the NPP to have a representation of the show to defend the party’s position.
All these instances and many more including #OCCUPYJUBILEEHOUSEPROTESTS, cannot be viewed in isolation of one another. They announce the political season.
It is therefore imperative that Ghanaians, increase their awareness and maintain decorum to protect its democratic gains. Within the sub–region, now more than ever, the threat of a democratic relapse is so high that more tolerance and measured speech and act are in high demand to maintain the country’s democratic position.
Commendably, Mr. Sosu apologized when he goofed. There is no assurance of an incident-free process before, during, and after the elections in 2024, however, quick turnarounds like Mr. Sosu’s will be helpful to keep heads above water.
But as it is said, prevention is far better than cure, hence all may have to be more proactive in ensuring that speeches and acts are more accommodating and foster national cohesion.
It is also a big deal for the Electoral Commission to ensure that the processes are free and fair, before, during and after. Thus far, their decisions, especially on the guarantor system, are very commendable. The security personnel will also play a major role in consolidating the country’s democratic gains.
It is time for all stakeholders and gatekeepers; traditional leaders, religious leaders, opinion leaders, global observers, civil society, amongst others, to activate campaigns to ensure that Ghana witnesses the 7th January 2025 passing on the democratic baton, without bullets, to the 6th President and 9th Parliament of its Fourth Republic, having defeated every threat of “showdowns” and “hooliganism”.