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Political endorsements in the run-up to the 2016 general elections in Ghana: A recipe for disaster

POLITICAL ENDORSEMENTS IN THE RUN-UP TO THE 2016 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN GHANA: A RECIPE FOR DISASTER?

It is just a few days for Ghanaians to decide who will be their president for the next four years. The main battle seems to be between the two main political parties in Ghana: the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and The New Patriotic Party (NPP). As campaigns heat up and get more intensified, all political parties are using whatever scheme they have at their disposal to better position their respective candidates as the right choice for the Flagstaff House for the next four years.

One such ploy that has gained grounds and is likely to win votes from floating voters is the endorsements that have come ahead of the general elections. Endorsements of political party candidates have seen a sharp increase in the 2016 elections as compared to what was witnessed in the run-up to the 2012 general elections which was won by John Dramani Mahama on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress.

 In 2012, endorsements were rare except endorsements coming in from ace Ghana actor Clement Bonney, popularly called “Mr. Beautiful” for candidate John Dramani Mahama. His endorsement received a barrage of criticism and backlash from colleagues and the general public for showing his political affiliation. After the 2012 general elections, even after his candidate had won the elections, the acting career of Mr. Beautiful took dipped. Many analysts took it that movie producers did not want to “script” him for fear of being tagged as N.D.C.

Quite interestingly, the run-up to this year’s has seen lots of endorsements coming from chiefs, musicians, business moguls, movie directors, actors and among others. Notable among them and quite remarkable to say the least are the celebrity endorsements. John Dumelo, Mizbel, Lucky Mensah, Cwesi Oteng, Praye and a host of other celebrities have thrown their support behind candidates of the two main political parties. Chiefs and stool heads have also joined the endorsement bandwagon and have openly declared support for either candidate of the main political parties in this year’s election.  Chieftaincy is a revered institution, and that is why the framers of the national constitution of Ghana found it necessary not only to guarantee the continuous existence of the institution, but also preserve its sanctity.

 

Article 276 (1) states: “A chief shall not take part in active party politics; and any chief wishing to do so and seeking election to parliament shall abdicate his stool or skin”. Even though it does not touch explicitly on endorsement of candidates, many argue that the inference is apparent, as any chief who endorses a candidate in public, is being partisan in his outlook.  Notable among them are Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri, chief of Sunyani; Nayire Naa  Bohugu Mahami Abdulai, President of the Northern Regional house of chiefs and Richard Babini Kanton VI, Chief of Tuobodom.

 

Endorsements have also come from clergymen. Recently, actor and comedian, Agya Koo openly endorsed Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and promised to use his popularity to garner votes for him.

 

It is expected that these celebrities through their endorsements sway the undecided voter to vote for the endorsed candidates and thereby determine the next occupant of the Flagstaff House. What is worrying are the implications and repercussions of these endorsements on their careers after the elections. We live to see.  

 

 

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