If an election poll conducted is anything to go by, then the incumbent will remain in power forever if only it implements its policies or campaign promises to the masses.
Ahead of the 2016 polls, Editor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper and pollster Ben Ephson released a research finding predicting a ‘one-touch’ victory for John Mahama.
According to the poll, the National Democratic Candidate (NDC) presidential candidate would garner 52.4 percent of the votes while his main rival Nana Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) would get 45.9 percent.
But the result after the elections turned out to be the opposite of the poll by Ben Ephson where Nana Addo beat Mahama by polling 5,716,026 million votes, representing 53.85 percent, while Mahama polled 4,713,277 million votes representing 44.40 percent.
In 2017, a survey conducted by the University of Ghana Political Science Department revealed about 52.7 percent of Ghanaians interviewed will vote to maintain Nana Addo.
The poll conducted from December 9 – 20, 2017 also disclosed about 33.1 percent of the 5,000 respondents were likely to vote for the NDC.
In the same year, the Economic Intelligence Unit’s report predicted another victory for the NPP in 2020. A lot has happened since.
A study by the London-based EIU, however, said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is likely to face calls to stand down in favour of a fresh face in the 2020 polls.
The EIU predicts, in furtherance of his stay in the Presidency in 2020, Nana Addo’s age will be his major threat.
The president is 76 years by 2020 when the elections are due, but the report said his age may trigger strong calls from members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) for him.
The EIU study predicted the calls could lead to infighting in the party that is likely to affect the political fortunes of the NPP.
EIU, which predicted victory for the NPP in the 2016 polls, insisted that there could largely be tension in the party, triggered by health issues that may come with the old age of the President.
“A threat to the prospects of Nana Akufo-Addo, meanwhile, will come from his age. He will be 76 in 2020 and, depending on his health by then, could face calls to stand down in favour of a fresh face.
“However such a process would almost certainly lead to intraparty tensions, given the NPP’s history of factionalism, something that would be off-putting to the electorate,” it said.
The EIU added that the NDC will also have a stroke of tensions and confusion.
It said: “The NDC could well suffer from internal ructions over who will lead the party forward given the mounting recrimination over its 2016 defeat.”
The EIU has been consistent with its predictions on Ghana politics. Although some of its forecasts have failed, the majority of them have been spot on.
Ahead of the parliamentary and presidential elections, the EIU has once again predicted victory for Nana Addo in the 2020 December polls.
The EIU said in a report released on May 13, 2019, stated that: “Nana Akufo-Addo, the president, and his NPP will see the country’s economic situation generally improve during the remainder of their term of office. In the presidential election, Akufo-Addo will face a challenge from John Mahama— Ghana’s president from 2012 to early 2017, who was elected leader of the opposition NDC in February 2019.
“The 2016 legislative election was won by the NPP; and the campaign was dominated by the faltering economy, which many Ghanaians still associate with Mahama.
“The Economist Intelligence Unit believes that it will be difficult for the NDC under Mr. Mahama to portray itself as the better custodian of Ghana’s economy, especially as the country’s growth outlook is fairly strong.”
The think tank, therefore, said they “expect Mr. Akufo-Addo and the NPP to secure re-election in 2020.”
EIU, however, noted that: “If the NDC can present a coherent opposition and hold the NPP to account on unfulfilled campaign promises particularly on job creation and industrialisation, where progress has been generally slow and success patchy—the election could be closely contested.”
The EIU report, which is an outlook of Ghana for 2019 to 2023, did not only present findings on its election watch, but also analysed Ghana’s political stability, international relations, policy trends, fiscal policy, monetary policy, inflation, exchange rates, and general economic growth.
On the political and economic outlook, the EIU report said Ghana’s overall political stability is not in question.
It added the NPP’s ambitious industrialization programme will enjoy some success, with ongoing investment expected to continue.
It also noted that rising oil and gas production will support real GDP growth in the 2019-23 forecast periods.
“The government’s industrialization push and moves to strengthen the banking sector will benefit non-oil economic growth, although credit is still relatively scarce. Inflation will remain high in 2019, at a forecast average of 9.6%, given a weakening currency and strong growth in private consumption. The rate will remain close to the upper bound of the official 6-10% target range in 2020-23, for similar reasons. The cedi will remain prone to periods of volatility, given the ongoing domestic economic weakness of high dependence on commodity prices.
“From an average of GH¢4.58: US$1 in 2018, the currency will weaken to GH¢6.50: US$1 in 2023,” the EIU report stated.
Some achievements Nana Addo can boast of
Though a lot of work still needs to be done to see to it that the country’s economy is transformed, Nana Addo has done a significant amount of work to set the right foundation for much-needed change Ghanaians voted for.
He could boast of focusing on the economic policy from taxation to production, the implementation of Free SHS, restoration of the nursing trainee allowance, and the One district, one factory project.
The report noted that corruption in the public sector remains endemic and a source of anger among the population but the pressure to reduce corruption will rise ahead of the 2020 elections adding that despite the trend of public appointments on the basis of party affiliation, which is one of the reasons for the oversized government team of over 110 ministers, there are fewer opportunities at the lower levels of politics, which may cause resentment among the party ranks and could depress voter turnout as members at grass-roots level play a key role in local campaigning.
These latest developments confirm the EIU’s view that the election campaign is likely to prove divisive.
The risk of violence cannot be ruled out, although, in one of the region’s more robust democracies, Ghanaians expect overall political stability to be maintained.
In conclusion, the EIU report by their own methodology will favour Nana Addo and the NPP in the 2020 polls.
But President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has denied claims that he was protecting corrupt officials in his government.
Speaking at the 2019 annual general conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) in Takoradi, Nana Addo denied the claims that he was shielding corrupt officials in his administration.
“It is not my job to clear or convict any person accused of wrongdoing, or of engaging in acts of corruption. My job is to act on allegations of corruption by referring the issue or issues to the proper investigative agencies for the relevant enquiry and necessary action. That is exactly what has been done since I assumed the mantle of leadership on 7th January, 2017. If an appointee is cleared of any wrongdoing, the evidence adduced and recommendations made by these agencies, after the investigations are concluded, are what clear the accused persons, not myself. None of these agencies has ever indicated any pressure from the Executive over their investigations,” he said.
He also stated that no ‘corrupt’ appointee in his government will be spared in the fight against corruption.
He said the law will deal with any official if found culpable in corrupt act irrespective of the person’s political affiliation and position.
Delivering the 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament on Thursday, February 20, 2019, he said no one is above the law.
“I would like to repeat that if evidence of corruption is presented, no one will be spared regardless of your position or political affiliation. No one is above the law.
“That is the true meaning of equality before the law.
“My government will also ensure that all those who are before the court will be prosecuted,” he said.
Pulse Editor’s Opinion is the opinion of an editor of Pulse. It does not represent the opinion of the organization Pulse