General News of Sunday, 29 May 2016
Although some leading political figures are on record to have asked the electorate to vote for them on tribal and religious lines, the Project Manager of STAR-Ghana, Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, has observed that these lines of campaign have little bearing on the way Ghanaians vote.
According to the Project Manager, such ethnocentric comments may sound convincing on campaign platforms, however, few within the voting population vote along such lines.
“In my opinion they [tribal and religious comments] may not really be very significant in the calculations that go into decisions as to which party to vote for or which party not to vote for,” he said.
Recently, two top politicians from both the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have openly campaigned on tribal and religious lines.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the vice-presidential candidate of the main opposition party, NPP, recently asked Muslims to vote for him and Nana Akufo-Addo as the current presidency is made up of mostly Christians. According to him the presidency is religiously skewed because the seat of government does not adequately represent the two dominant religious groupings in the country.
Dzifa Attivor, a former Minister of Transport and a member of the NDC, recently asked the grassroots supporters of her party’s stronghold, the Volta Region to reject the NPP because the party targeted for prosecution members of her Ewe ethnic group during its eight-year hold on power.
But speaking on Hot Issues on TV3 Saturday May 28, Mr Amidu said: “They [comments] sound good on the campaign platforms but across the length and breadth of this country, if you go and talk to the ordinary people in the villages, in the markets, it is the reality of their everyday experiences in most cases that informs the decision as to whether they want to vote for Party A or Party B.”
He added: “That is not to say that there are not situations where people vote on: ‘This is how our family has traditionally voted or this is how our clan has traditionally voted.’
“It may make for catchy listening but my personal opinion is that very few people go out to vote on the basis that, ‘This is my religion.’”
Mr Amidu, however, noted that these comments, although may not have direct bearing on the pattern of voting, are an affront to the 1992 constitution.
STAR-Ghana is a donor-pooled funding mechanism (DFID, DANIDA, EU) to increase the influence of civil society and parliament in the governance of public goods and service for all Ghanaian citizens.