Barely two years after the last elections, tensions have already started brewing in Ghana’s political space about which party will win the next elections and with which candidate.
President Akufo-Addo’s constitutional two-term limit will elapse on January 7, 2025, making him ineligible to run in the December 2024 election. His party, the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP), is hoping to hold on to power beyond President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s tenure. But that will be determined by the party’s choice of a flagbearer and by maintaining unity.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen are widely considered frontrunners in the race to succeed Akufo-Addo as flagbearer of the NPP.
A former finance minister of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC, Dr. Kwabena Duffour, has recently announced his intention to run for the flagbearer of the party. A former mayor of Kumasi, Kojo Bonsu, has also said he’s lacing his boots for the race. He’s emphasised that his intention to contest must not be misconstrued as hatred against former President John Mahama, whom many consider has already crossed the finishing line for the presidential candidacy race of the NDC.
The jostling for flagbearer positions and the parties’ chances of winning the next election have set the tone for the political discourse and its attendant tensions. The latest addition to this is the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in a report titled “Five Year Forecast: Ghana”.
The report, which was released on April 13, 2022, provides insight into the EIU’s forecasts on some issues and sectors of development in Ghana such as the economy, political stability, elections, and international relations. The forecasts follow baseline studies and observations conducted by the EIU.
The report has provoked heated media and political discourse. Many media outlets and political actors are reporting conflicting accounts from the same 22-page report by the EIU.
For instance, the GhanaWeb in its banner story reported that “NDC cannot win elections with Mahama – EIU”. This was further supported by the statement by the NPP on the report which stated in part that the “EIU implies that former President Mahama’s record of leadership is so poor that if he becomes the candidate, the NDC’s predicted win goes up in smoke”. There were also social media claims.
NDC will lose massively if they present John Dramani Mahama as the Presidential candidate coming 2024- EIB
— Gen.Mohammad Buhari🇬🇭 (@Gen_Buhari_) April 19, 2022
Myjoyonline.com’s earlier report on the EIU forecast had indicated that the NDC could win the election but not with John Mahama as the presidential candidate. It later changed the headline to suggest that a fresh candidate for the NDC would better their chances and not necessarily NDC losing the elections with Mahama.
Fact-Check Ghana has examined exactly what the EIU five forecast reported, specifically on who is likely to win the next presidential elections.
Who did the EIU forecast say will win the 2024 elections and under what conditions?
In the period of forecast, five years, the EIU expects Ghana’s political stability to endure despite a “highly acrimonious party-political landscape”. In their expectation, the fierce rivalry between the two major parties, NPP and NDC, will continue to the next election. But this rivalry, according to the EIU, will lead to a change in political power.
“We expect a transfer of power to the NDC in the 2024 elections, driven by anti-incumbency factors and public dissatisfaction with the current government,” the report said.
The EIU forecasts that the drivers for the change of power will be citizens’ displeasure with low development, high unemployment, and corruption.
“Our baseline forecast is that ongoing public dissatisfaction with the slow pace of improvements in governance—such as infrastructure development, job creation and easing of corruption—will trigger anti-incumbency factors and push the electorate to seek a change. The NDC therefore stands a reasonable chance of winning the 2024 elections,” the EIU report stated.
Despite overall political stability prevailing, the new government, the EIU predicts, will inherit similar challenges its predecessor faced. The current challenges of the incumbent government, the EIU emphasizes, are public discontent, which stems from “factors such as rising prices (stoked further by the Russia-Ukraine war), unfavourable public-sector working conditions, limited economic opportunities for young people—exacerbated in part by the socioeconomic fallout from the coronavirus—and perceptions of corruption.”
The EIU says these challenges “will continue to fuel sporadic unrest, which will be mostly non-violent and concentrated in urban centres, in 2022-26”.
However, regardless of which party comes into power, there will be continuity in policies in the medium term, the report said. These policies would focus on food security, industrialisation, and economic diversification.
Did EIU say NDC cannot win the elections with John Mahama?
Contrary to many social media posts and news media reports that the EIU said the “NDC cannot win elections with Mahama” the EIU report did not state that the NDC will lose the elections with John Mahama as the candidate. The London-based analysts did not also say Mahama is a spent force.
The report rather says the NDC will improve their chances should they present a new candidate, even though it reckons John Mahama is considering coming back for the presidential race.
“The former president, John Mahama, is reportedly considering running again, but we expect the opposition NDC to try to revitalise its prospects with a fresh candidate,” the report said on page 6.
The mention of John Mahama’s name on page 6 is the only time the report mentioned the former president’s name. The statement quoted above does not in any way suggest that the EIU implied John Mahama had a poor leadership record. This makes NPP’s statement that “EIU implies that former President Mahama’s record of leadership is so poor that if he becomes the candidate, the NDC’s predicted win goes up in smoke” false.