Seventeen Members of Parliament of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) were ‘slaughtered’ by delegates of the NDC in the Party’s crunch primaries held across the country last Saturday.
The elections were heavily contested in 212 constituencies, but 47 aspirants were not contested in their respective constituencies. The primaries in 15 constituencies were suspended.
One of the key attributes of democracy is change, and thus, the replacement of an incumbent MP in a democratic exercise ordinary should not be a talking point.
Nonetheless, the number of casualties recorded in the just-ended primaries has sent tongues wagging within the Party and in public discourse about the mood of core NDC members and the message they are sending to the Party ahead of the 2024 general election.
Among the casualties that appeared unexpected to political analysts included Edward Bawa, Bongo Constituency; Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini, Sagnarigu Constituency, and Dr Kwabena Donkor, Pru East Constituency.
Edward Bawa lost his bid to return to Parliament for the third consecutive time since 2016 whiles A.B.A. Fuseini lost his fourth bid to return to Parliament.
Dr Kwabena Donkor, a former Minister of Power, also failed in his attempt to represent the people of Pru East for the third consecutive time.
In the case of A.B.A. Fuseini, the margin with which he lost beats the imagination of political watchers as many believed that he was in pole position to have clinched the position with ease.
Mr Fuseini polled 330 votes and lost to Attah Issah, who polled 801 votes – the second highest margin lost by an incumbent in last Saturday’s primaries.
Some analysts have expressed the view that the causalities recorded in the primaries could have been more than 17 if the Party had not taken steps to “protect” some constituencies that were unopposed.
Have NDC MPs lived up to expectation?
For whom much is given, much is expected. There were high expectations of the Minority Caucus in Parliament when the Party garnered 136 seats in the 2020 general election – with an independent candidate deciding the majority status.
For political analysts, it was a perfect opportunity for Parliament, particularly members of the Minority to demonstrate Parliament’s core role as a countervailing authority to the Executive.
Nonetheless, events in Parliament especially the passage of the E-levy and the drama that characterised it in Parliament as well as the “wholesale” approval of Ministers somewhat watered down the aspirations of democracy and governance commentators.
It appeared in the last two years that a substantial bloc of NDC members seemed dissatisfied by the conduct of their MPs – and the recent approval of some Ministers in defiance to the Party’s directive seemed to have broken the camel’s back.
Indeed, the NDC leadership’s decision to change the Party’s leadership in Parliament was testament to the Party’s discontent with how its MPs had handled some decisive issues in the House.
In the lead up to the NDC’s primaries, the GNA’s Political Desk gathered among some delegates that they were unhappy about how their MPs had approved some ministers and the allegations that some of them may have been compromised.
Way forward for the Party
In a media interview, Dr Daniel Owusu Ansah, Senior Lecturer at the Department of History and Political Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and technology (KNUST) said the number of casualties recorded was an indication that the NDC must listen to the concerns of its members.
He said the Party must “listen to the people” and immediately take steps to resolve any challenges within the constituencies if it (NDC) intends to protect existing seats and win more seats in the 2024 general election.
In a related discussion, Dr Bernard Tutu-Boahene, a lecturer and political marketing consultant, said the Party should have taken steps to protect the experienced MPs who lost their seats.
He said MPs such as A.B.A. Fuseini and Dr Donkoh “are institutional memories” in Parliament, adding that their absence would be a big loss to the Party and the country at large.
“Losing 17 MPs, which is about 13 per cent of the number is very significant. Just as the Party protected some constituencies, I believe some of these experienced MPs should have also been protected,” he said.
Dr Tutu-Boahene expressed concern that money had dominated the country’s elections at all levels, and cautioned that individuals who may not possess the experience and expertise to lead in certain areas would occupy positions at the expense of the citizenry.
“If we are going to lose certain critical seats to issues of ‘moneycracy’ then we will get people who are not grounded in Parliamentary business and it means the country will lose,” he said.
The NDC has completed the final phase of its reorganisation process by electing a flag bearer who would lead the Party in the 2024 presidential election.
With some 18 months to the general election, it appears that the Party has ample time to repair all broken internal bridges and make a case for Ghanaians to repose confidence in it as a better alternative to turn around the economy.
One big hurdle to cross, in the shortest possible time, would be the Party’s ability to mobilise both winners and losers at all levels of the Party’s primaries to work together in unity and harmony towards a common goal of securing victory in 2024.
There have been reservations about the effectiveness of Ghana’s ‘hung’ Parliament in demanding accountability from the Executive and pushing for policies that would serve the interest of the people.
The outcome of the NDC’s parliamentary primaries appears to offer a sneak peak of the surprises that may characterise the 2024 elections.
There were high expectations of the 8th Parliament and whether or not those expectations have been met from the perspective of Ghanaians, the thumb will decide on December 7, 2024.