It’s an election year! And as with every election year in this politically conscious society, the desire for information is colossal. Political commentators, economists, academics, media houses and pollsters are in good business making sure that the Ghanaian, and anyone else interested, is kept up to date with news, predictions and analyses.

Such a political season provides social scientists with a rare research opportunity. Not being able to stage experiments, it is this real life phenomenon that offers the chance for theories to be proved and disproved, and for new theories to be formed. Of the many things of interest, one that I’m particular curious about is how Ghanaians pick a party to support. It’s not a very common discussion, especially in public circles and it’s a bit difficult to answer. Luckily I found an interesting piece that should at least provide a few answers to this evasive question.

The 2009 paper, ‘The Ghanaian Voter: Challenging Ethnic Bloc Voting in the 2008 Elections’ by Barak D. Hoffman challenged the popularly held perception that elections in Africa, especially South of the Sahara, is an ethnic headcount and that political party affiliation is a thin disguise for ethnicity. On the verge of the 2008 election, the researchers found that ethnicity played a significant part among only two ethnicities: Ewe [NPP 19%, NDC 59%, undecided 22%] and Asante [NPP 83%, NDC 4%, undecided 13%]. Among the conclusions drawn from the research include:

“These findings cast serious doubt on the sufficiency of ethnicity to predict vote choice in Ghana’s 2008 election. While there is no question that ethnicity was important for many voters, especially the Asante and the Ewe, it is an insufficient explanation for the electorate as a whole. Rather than a simple ethnic headcount, party competition for persuadable voters was a central theme of Ghana’s 2008 election. The contest was far closer to political competition in a consolidated democracy than an ethnic census.”

The research also found out that the perceptions voters had about each political party far outweighed any ethnic considerations.

The findings of this research regardless, a worrying proportion of people I speak with are unable to articulate their reasons for supporting a particular party or the other. I wonder how many people perform at least a search on an internet search engine to try to understand what their party philosophy is all about.

It’s my opinion that if party followers are able to understand what Social Democracy, Property-Owning Democracy and Socialism is all about, and the implications each ideology has for the country, we will have a better, less tense and civil political environment. An educated voter, both literally and politically, is a force for any politician to reckon with. I’ll conclude by appealing to Ghanaians to take a little time to research about the history, ideology and policies of the various political parties, and make a choice with MOTHER GHANA in mind.


Jerome Wematu Kuseh
[email protected]


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