Smaller political parties need rebranding to be effective

BY: Kobby Asmah

The election season is fast approaching and as always the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the major opposition political party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), are in the lead taking the bull by the horn to put their houses in order.

While the NPP and the NDC are leaving nothing to chance in their bid to position their respective parties towards winning Election 2020, very little is seen from the camps of the so-called smaller political parties.

The NDC has already elected its flag bearer for the 2020 polls and, like the ruling party, is conducting its parliamentary primaries in readiness to put on its full political battle dress for Election 2020.

In contrast, and as it has always been in the past, the smaller political parties wait till the very last minute to do any political engagements. Till date they are yet to concretely show any form of political organisation towards 2020 to offer the electorate alternative policy options.

At the very best, the organisation by the smaller political parties is at zero level.

Nothing so far

So far nothing seems to be happening within their front, notably the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

For the PNC in particular, its National Chairman is on record to have indicated that the party is suffering from leadership crisis and that nothing concrete is happening within the party.

It is worthy to note that in spite of those challenges, the PNC has served notice that by the end of October 2019 its activities will commence and its presidential candidate will be elected by March 30, 2020 while the CPP has also announced the election of its regional officers.

As for the other smaller political parties, most of them still merely exist on paper.

Interestingly, just last week, the Electoral Commission (EC) gave the final certificate to another political movement, the Ghana United Movement (GUM), to engage in party political activity.

This means that the EC has satisfied itself with the fact that the GUM party has met the requirements under the law.

New entrant and caution

Taking a cue from what has happened to other newly registered political parties in the past, I can only wish the GUM party well in its endeavours and hope that it will live up to expectation and not only add to the numbers. With the GUM on board, we now have 25 registered political parties so far, but can the GUM justify its inclusion and help deepen democracy in the country and reap the dividend thereof?

The inability of the smaller political parties to play their expected democratic functions effectively is a complete disservice to the country and definitely not helping the good governance process.

After 26 years in the Fourth Republican dispensation, when the expectation is to see the emergence of stronger political parties, what is becoming the obvious is rather the emergence of a two-horse race - the NPP and the NDC.

One would think that while the NDC and the NPP are at each other and finding it difficult to see eye to eye, the              so-called smaller political parties could take advantage of the chance to make some electoral inroads.

The smaller parties have failed so far, and it is really unfortunate.

Equally, it is a sad spectacle that the CPP and the PNC, which could boast of Members of Parliament (MPs) in past elections, have none today. Rather, most of the smaller parties have leadership dilemmas.

The state of smaller parties is a sorry plight and their image is sinking by the day.

Time to wake up

It is the more reason why they need to wake up from their sleep and play a more active role if they are to be taken seriously.

The impression among the citizenry is that next year’s election will be a make or break affair. You may call it Mother of all elections, but for whoever wins, one thing is certain: the electorate are now fully awake.

In my view, the smaller political parties need to be united and rebranded to be effective and considered serious.

They need to up their game and offer to the electorate alternative policy options.

While the two parties - the NPP and the NDC -  are preparing feverishly to put on their full political battle dress with the organisation of their parliamentary primaries, the smaller political parties must not be seen not to be bothered.

It will be a complete waste of every voter’s time if the smaller parties continue to conduct their political engagements as usual.