A political scientist at the University of Ghana, Dr Alidu Seidu, has said the seeming early start of muckraking among members of the two main political parties ahead of this year’s elections will not play any significant role in which party wins the elections on December 7, 2020.
The Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana told GhanaWeb on Monday, August 17, 2020, that Ghanaian voters remain vigilant about which party or candidate is committed to dealing with bread and butter issues.
“Ghanaians have proven over the years that they are very discerning in making electoral choices. So I believe the best way to win electorates to your side, that is those who are still not decided, but to also to retain your stronghold…is to speak to bread and butter issues.
“You have to package your message in such a way that it resonates with the daily needs and challenges that the people in this country face. Insults, personal attacks, the use of derogatory language is likely going to be repulsive to the majority of the Ghanaian voters who had wanted politicians to speak directly to their day-to-day needs as citizens,” Dr Seidu said.
He was responding to GhanaWeb about what political watchers say points to a 2020 campaign that will be dominated by mudslinging and character assignation by the political class of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Allegations of sexual misconduct, insults and threats to expose immorality have been bandied around among known members of the NDC and NPP, the two main contenders in the upcoming elections.
While this is uncommon some have suggested that it has started a bit too early in this year’s campaign.
Speaking to the issue, Dr Seidu said the early start of the vile campaign in this year’s Presidential and Parliamentary polls “suggests that if care is not taken, we are going to revolve our campaign around personal attacks and insults which do not help political parties and those who are coming to vote.”
He said apart from taking away the critical role of healthy political discourse and issues-based in determining which party is best positioned to govern the country, it hardly ever works.
According to him, in most instances, once the person being attacked has a proven track record, Ghanaian voters and voters elsewhere have demonstrated that they are discerning.
“Those who are going to vote have needs. They have needs, they have aspirations, they have challenges so they are looking up to political candidates who can meet these new challenges and aspirations so that they can connect with you and vote for you.
“I believe the way we are going or the way this campaign has started will not inure to the benefit of political parties that want to govern this country but also we the electorates who have an interest of listening to political parties and getting that little bit of education on what they want to do when they come to power,” he told GhanaWeb.
According to him the likes of Bill Clinton, Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump have been caught in the limelight of public scrutiny for their private actions but they sailed through unscathed because voters understand that humans are fallible.
“If all of us were able to tell what the other does in private, we wouldn’t be saying these things in private. Every human is fallible. But beyond this, what is the person capable of doing? What has the person been able to do? That is what Ghanaians look at,” he stressed.
Another respected political scientist at the University of Ghana, Prof Ransford Gyampo, while declining to speak extensively on the matter said a high authority like the President could rein in both sides of the political divide to desist from the campaign of insults.
“I expected the President to do yesterday [during his 15 COVID-19 address] to halt everything but he didn’t do it,” he said.
The President’s 15th address to the nation on measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus touched on the need to end tribal sentiments and doom prophecies ahead of the December polls.