NPP’s “break the 8” agenda, a reality or a political rhetoric
Ghana, a democratic country today, has witnessed a series of political turmoil in her political history leading to the toppling of three constitutional regimes by military coups.
Ghana gained her first republican status in 1960, the second republic in 1969, the third republic in 1979, and the fourth and current republican constitution which came into force in 1992.
Obviously, the change and overthrow of one government or the other were not without a change in government and political parties.
Similarly, as a relatively stable democratic country for about three decades now, one of the countries that are the pride of democratic credentials, Ghana is not without a change in government and political party.
Ghana has since 1992 witnessed the transfer of power between two political parties out of over 20 registered political parties in the country.
Interestingly, in the history of Ghana’s politics since the inception of the Fourth Republican Constitution in 1992, none of the two political parties that controlled the seat of governance of the country had held onto power for more than two four-year terms (8 years) consecutively.
Parties and power held
Clauses (1) and (2) of article 66 of the 1992 Republican Constitution stipulates the term of office for a President of Ghana.
Clause (1) says: “A person elected as President shall, subject to clause (3) of this article, hold office for a term of four years beginning from the date on which he is sworn in as President.”
Clause (2) also says: “A person shall not be elected to hold office as President of Ghana for more than two terms.”
Subject to this constitutional provision, the late President Jerry John Rawlings of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, held power for two four-year terms from 1992 to 2000. Power transitioned from Mr Rawlings and the NDC to former President John Agyekum Kuffuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) party and he managed the reins of governance of the country from 2000 to 2008.
The NDC party, led by the late President John Evans Atta Mills, also wrestled power from the NPP in 2008 and led the helm of affairs from 2008 to 2012 before his demise on July 24, 20212, and was succeeded by the then Vice President, John Dramani Mahama to complete the first four years in office and was reelected for another four-year term from 2012 to 2016.
The incumbent President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, also led the NPP party in 2016 to take over power from the NDC and was reelected in 2020 for another four-year term.
In the face of all these “give and take” of power, Ghana remained a haven of peace and was envied by the international community as an epitome of modern democracy.
NPP breaking the 8
Inferring from the political trajectory of the country for about three decades, it would be an enviable and hard record to be broken for the first political party to hold power for more than 8 consecutive years.
Such is the history the NPP party sought to achieve in the 2024 general election, but was the agenda feasible? Posterity held the answer.
However, one would not be extremely wrong to answer in the affirmative owing to the arguable congeniality of the Ghanaian populace to the NPP and its policies and programmes within the last five to six years.
The much-touted Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) and the Free Senior High School (FSHS) programmes are but a few policies of the President Akufo-Addo-led NPP government that were embraced by the people, especially the less privileged and could do the magic of “breaking the 8”.
However, tossing the cards in the right direction was the determining factor in achieving that feat.
What needs to be done
In as much as there was popular reception of the “Breaking the 8” agenda of the party, there was the need for more efforts to be put in place to consolidate the gains the party had made moving into the next two years to win the confidence of the electorates.
Fortunately, the NPP party chose its leaders a little over a month ago without any shortcomings, a testament to the readiness of the party to achieve that agenda.
Undoubtedly, the leadership of the party, anchored by its Chairman, Mr Stephen Ayensu Ntim, by no mean estimation, had the repertoire of experience in leadership to stimulate the grassroots to achieve that feat and to make the mark.
It was, however, a well-known fact that in the political landscape, a strong and well-coordinated grassroots of the party was no less important if the desired results of the party were to be achieved.
As the term of office of the current President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on whose record the NPP party sought to “break the 8”, would expire in 2024 per the constitutional provision, the party would have to choose a presidential candidate to lead the part into the 2024 general election.
Therefore, equally important in averting a botched agenda of “breaking the 8” was the choosing of a well-grounded presidential candidate to lead the party to the 2024 polls where the “8” was expected to be broken.
The candidate must be the one with charisma, well-accepted by, not only the NPP party faithfuls but also the voting public.
Monetizing the election
Excessive monetization of national elections in Ghana has been a major concern to many as it had the tendency to derail the democratic gains of the country. The menace is not peculiar to Ghana but commonplace in African politics.
The act of monetizing the elections could best be described as inadvertently auctioning the elections to the highest bidder, which was an affront the modern democracy and an obstruction to good governance.
Nonetheless, votes-buying was not a preserve of national elections but also practiced at all levels of elections in society. But the injury of that singular act to a nation was inestimable. That engineers widespread and broad light corruption.
Back to the substantial matter; it behooved the NPP party delegates not to be swayed away by the love for money to choose a candidate who would mar the chances of the NPP party “breaking the 8”.
The delegates ought to put the interest of the party at the forefront of their personal interest. With that incredible act, they would fall for the candidate that could pull the masses, break the frontiers, and secure confidence in the electorates.
With a united front, the “break the 8” agenda of the NPP party was realistic and that would be enviable recorded overtime to be broken by any political party in Ghana.