Upcoming NDC Primaries
The National Democratic Congress will go to congress on December 7, 2018 to elect a flagbearer to lead the party for the 2020 Presidential elections. Last month, the party issued a communique allowing hopefuls to start their campaigns.
So far, the names of Dr. Ekow Spio-Gabrah, former President John Mahama, Professor Joshua Alabi, Goosie Tanoh, Alban Bagbin and Sylvester Mensah have surfaced as possible contenders.
Etse Sikanku’s Book
Dr. Etse Sikanku, a political analyst and lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism has published a book, The Primary Contenderswhich analyses the nature and impact of presidential primaries on the practice of democracy in Ghana, with a special focus on the upcoming primaries of the NDC.
The Primary Contenderswas unveiled at an event dubbed The Campaign Dialogue Series held at the Ghana International Press Centre in Accra on Thursday. The dialogue was held under the theme, ‘Upholding and understanding the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Primaries.’
The event centres around the contents of the book, which speak to the conduct of presidential primaries and campaign dynamics in the run-up to general elections as has been seen in Ghana since 1992—when the 4th Republican Constitution of Ghana was adopted.
The panel at the dialogue were renowned political show hosts and socio-political research analysts. They were Paul Adom-Otchere, host of Good Evening Ghana on Metro TV; Franklin Cudjoe, founder of IMANI Africa; Dr. Kobby Mensah, senior lecturer at University of Ghana’s Business School; and Professor Yaw Gyampo, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana.
Dr. Sikanku stated in his opening remarks at the dialogue that the primaries of political parties is one of the most important blocks in the democratic process.
‘With the political parties, my argument is that, the primary process or the nominating process is an important aspect of our democracy because that is where the candidates are elected in the first place before getting to the general election’.
He further argued that citizens at the primary stage have a better opportunity to influence the nomination of a candidate because at the national level citizens would have little to do when it comes to who to elect into office, due to the sparsity of the number of people they are to select from.
A number of the panelists collectively mentioned that the determining factor in who will be elected the next flag bearer for the NDC can be based on the performances of the current government, and also the thinking and mood of the delegates.
Others also stressed on the fact that, a candidate with a very clear and concise business plan, which aims at developing the economy of the country and also one with a message of hope may be likely to be elected at the NDC primaries.
Professor Gyampo also said, ‘candidates with many resources at their disposal can never be ruled out of the race.’ and that, to him, ‘such a person even stands tall among all other candidates.’
The reason given for this was that, elections primarily at this level are very expensive for the political parties involved to totally fund them, and therefore allowing for candidates who wield ‘considerable’ amount of resources to decide in sponsoring delegates, thereby, winning the favour of these delegates.
Elaborating on the issue, Prof. Gyampo said this usually diverts the attention of delegates from some of the most important factors that ought to be taken into reasonable consideration before electing a candidate, resulting in an undermining of the democratic process.
As a remedy to this situation, Prof. Gyampo called for state funding of political parties at this level to curb the canker and ensure a very strong democratic process at this level. ‘For political parties to champion democracy, they themselves must be democratic in their internal affairs’, he added.
Dr. Sikanku stressed on the need for a very strong and vigorous democratic system at the political party level as these forms the core structure of democracy at the national level and called for support for projects like the dialogue series which will help educate the citizens on the need to get involved in party primaries, as they form a crucial part of what the democratic process is at the national level.
This story has been edited to give background to the NDC’s flagbearership contest.