The 2016 General Elections: Casualties as a Result of Voter Apathy

The 2016 general elections has been won by the New Patriotic Party candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. He won a resounding victory over his closest rival and the incumbent president, John Dramani Mahama. This was Akufo-Addo’s third attempt to become the president of Ghana. The NPP has also managed to secure a majority in parliament, sweeping about 170 seats.

However, many stakeholders have been disappointed by the low voter-turnout of a little over 68% of eligible voters. One reason that can be attributed to the low number of voters on Election Day is voter apathy. Even though all political parties put in considerable time and effort in campaigning, it seems the issues discussed were not convincing enough to persuade some voters to come out to vote.

Many cite a complete lack of motivation or interest in this year's election albeit many promises from the political parties. The National Democratic Congress which lost the presidency in the 2016 general elections has blamed its loss on voter apathy recorded in the Volta region, one of the strongholds of the party. Similarly, some polling stations in the Northern parts of the country saw no voter turnout. Judging by the numbers that were recorded, apathy was a disadvantage to the NDC more than to any other political party. However, whatever the case may be, the results of the election has sent a strong message to all political leaders that the electorates cannot be taken for granted any longer. The Ghanaian voter has become discerning and would vote on issues of jobs, corruption, among others rather than on mere promises.

In this regard, voter apathy in the 2016 elections has caused the NDC the presidency and many parliamentary seats which have been lost to the opposition NPP which goes to Parliament with unprecedented majority. The harm has already been done and lessons would surely be learnt going forward. However, it would be fair to say that judging by the numbers that voted for the NPP, change was what Ghanaians wanted.

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