Ghana – Mud flies as polling day approaches

PUBLISHED: Fri, 02 Dec 2016 05:13:20 GMT

On Tuesday, November 29, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) held a press conference in which it accused President John Dramani Mahama and other members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of trying to bribe the NPP’s northern regional chairperson, Daniel Bugri Naabu.

The bribe, allegedly comprising of two sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and nearly GH¢4m, was in payment for Naabu denouncing the NPP’s presidential candidate for the upcoming election, Nana Akufo-Addo, as a“hater of northerners”.The alleged bribery took place in October this year.

The NPP’s campaign manager, Peter Mac Manu, did not explain why the party had waited over a month to reveal the scandal – though we can assume proximity to the polling date, December 7, would ensure that the story was still fresh come election day.

Another benefit of laying the claim so late in the game is that it has no chance of being resolved before next Wednesday. Thus, voters will have to make up their own minds as to the veracity of the accusations.

On November 30, Naabu confirmed in an interview with Atinka FM that he had received cars from Mahama. 

According to a survey in October by Ghana’s Center for Democratic Development (CDD), 69% of voters said that perceptions of government corruption would affect the way they vote on December 7. Meanwhile, 59% said abuse of incumbency would influence their vote.

In reality, however, it is likely that most Ghanaian’s already know who they will vote for and scandals such as the bribery allegation will not change the minds of many; but given the expected closeness of the election, ‘not many’ may be more than enough to swing the result.

There is no consensus among pollsters and commentators as to who will win; as the Brexit referendum and Trump’s victory have shown recently, some races are just too close to call.

We, for our part, are sticking with the NPP for a narrow victory – if not in the first round, then surely in a runoff.

In July, 52% of voters answered ‘yes’ to the CDD’s question: “Can any other party do a better job?” with regard to addressing the voters’ biggest concerns.

The NPP is the only other party they would have had in mind.

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