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Restrategise to reverse declining fortunes - IDEG advises smaller parties

BY: Daily Graphic
Mr Kwesi Jonah,  A Senior Research Fellow of IDEG
Mr Kwesi Jonah, A Senior Research Fellow of IDEG

The Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), a research and advocacy organisation, has urged smaller political parties in the country to restrategise to reverse their dwindling fortunes in national elections.

A Senior Research Fellow of IDEG, Mr Kwesi Jonah, said since 1992 there had been a consistent pattern of poor performance of the small parties in national elections, which was not good for Ghana’s democratic dispensation.

“The last time the small parties had seats in the Ghana Parliament was probably 2012; the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC) had one seat each; since then, the small parties have lost their seats in Parliament,” Mr Jonah said.

Workshop

He made the call at a workshop last Thursday at a post-election evaluation workshop with smaller political parties in Accra.

The workshop, which was on the theme “Strengthening Smaller Parties in Multiparty Local Governance – Which Way Forward?”, was to evaluate the performance of the smaller parties, the reasons for their abysmal performance in the last election, and to understand why the smaller parties campaigned against multiparty local governance reform which was intended to strengthen them and make them more functional in Ghana’s multiparty politics.

It was organised by IDEG and attended by smaller political parties such as the National Democratic Party (NDP), the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), the United Front Party (UFP) and the All People’s Congress (APC).

Out of the 27 registered political parties in Ghana, 25 are smaller parties but they have no seat in Parliament.

Ghana’s multiparty democracy has become a two-party or duopolistic system.

The duopolistic political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which is the current ruling party, and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which is the opposition in Parliament, have alternated roles as government and opposition.

No representation

Mr Jonah recounted that the records showed that there was a time that the smaller parties had nine seats in Parliament, however consistently they had lost the seats gradually until 2016 when they had no seats, and the same thing in the 2020 elections.

“If you check the presidential election results, it is the same story; there, it is even worse; the percentage of votes that the small parties account for has been declining since 1992,” he said.

Mr Jonah recalled that in 1992, the small parties all together had about 11 per cent of the valid votes cast in the presidential election, but, “…Today what do they have? In the 2020 presidential election, just about one per cent of the valid votes cast.”

Local elections

He said their assumption had always been that if the parties were not doing so well in national election, then perhaps if they were allowed to partake in local elections, it would be good for them.

That, he said, was because some of the smaller parties were so strong in some districts and constituencies and that if they were allowed to participate in metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) elections, they would probably be able to perform better.

Mr Jonah said the smaller parties were relevant because democracy was about inclusiveness, getting everybody involved.

“If we had a few smaller parties represented in Ghana’s Parliament, maybe the situation that we are having now will be slightly different.”

Infiltration

The General Secretary of the GCPP, Mr Citizen Ato Dadzie, told the GNA that one of the reasons for the underperformance of the smaller parties in national elections was that their camps were being infiltrated by the two leading parties.

He, therefore, urged the smaller parties to align themselves to contest future national elections. — GNA