Some 2014 lessons about the Ghanaian voter

VoteLast year we had an avalanche of elections at the party level all over the country for both the government and the main opposition parties. Here’s a bit of what we learned about the Ghanaian voter post 2012:

The thumb & the independent vote

Over time the Ghanaian voter is becoming more sophisticated and even more unpredictable. You can’t really expect to win an election through T shirts and take away packs anymore. That’s so 1990. Either voters have grown past that or their tastes have gotten more expensive. Either way, as candidates like Asabee have learned, placards, and the old exchange systems don’t really work the same way anymore.

The Swedru declaration is old school too

I think the Asiedu Nketia-Kofi Adams playoff demonstrates the banality of political endorsements, directives or declarations. Even in western democracies political endorsements don’t work the same way all the time. Voters are now ready to swim against the “big man” whether it’s Asiedu Nketia or John Kufuor.

The Northern vote is not totally locked or ceded

Afoko’s emergence as chairman of a perceived “southern” party shows the so called “northern” vote will become the new battleground for 2016. The age-old tradition of voting for a southern chairman was broken last year.

Jerry Rawlings is still popular

Make no mistake. Despite running feuds within his own party and an absence from mainstream politics, Jerry Rawlings is still popular with voters. Judging by the reception he receives at local party functions and events, I dare say that Mr Rawlings is still widely popular and holds sway within some voting blocs.

Highly participatory, active and non-passive voter

The turnout at party congresses, the results and the discussions that followed indicates that we have a highly sensitized electorate in Ghana. Democracy may be a western system but it’ been internalized probably even to a fault down here in Ghana

Disaffection and the emergence of the middle-class

Overtime we’ve seen this political consciousness feed into a growing movement of professionals and non partisans who have organized themselves into an “Occupy Ghana” movement. Watch out for their maneuverings this year and its impact come the next election cycle

Waiting and Watching

Despite the importance of strong party systems, candidates and the kind of campaigns they run still matter. All these may mean nothing and we may not know much about 2016 until the campaign plot thickens later in the year

By Godwin Etse Sikanku

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