President Akufo-Addo’s recent controversial response to a question during an interview in Kumasi where he is currently on a tour has been described as a “tricky one” by Dr John Osae Kwapong, a fellow at the Centre For Democratic Development, CDD Ghana.
Analysing the president’s response during an interview on TV3 on 18th October 2022, Dr Kwapong said “the president’s response is a tricky one in the sense that he has that luxury in saying that because he is not on the ballot paper in 2024 and so what he was trying to reflect without directly saying it is in his mind he is thinking in 2024 he will not be on the ballot paper so therefore don’t threaten to vote against me because I won’t be on the ballot but I think his party will be on the ballot and I think it creates a bit of tricky situation for his party”.
Dissecting the import of the President’s response Mr Kwapong expressed concern at the fact that he made this statement in the party’s stronghold. “Typically, in party strongholds tend to be a bit forgiving of the bleeps party people commit. And within the context of a stronghold, the voters can choose to stay home to punish than vote for the opposition but beyond the party stronghold this a very concerning statement in the sense of it can be held against his party if It cannot be held against him”.
Per stipulation in the law, Dr Kwapong indicates that “the president is right in saying voting is a choice and we choose the party we want to vote for but I think in politics the way you communicate such messages can be a political liability and for me, that is what his party has to now manage in any possible political fall out from the statement”.
Dr Kwapong also in reiterating how the New Patriotic Party could be affected added that “because the message can be seen as doing what you want to do I do not think that is the message you want to convey when you are thinking of what happens to your party when your term is over and if there is to be any fall out it is up to whoever will succeed him to find a way of managing a fall out from the message”.
A seeming trend Dr Kwapong noticed amongst politicians he could not gloss over showed that when an incumbent crosses the first term mark and gets the second term heading to his full tenure of the office they begin to take certain liberties in things that they previously could have been very careful about but such caution, unfortunately, get missing.
He further expressed worry about this trend saying “this is because there will not be a possible political punishment to you the individual exhibiting such attitude as you make such a statement but sometimes what incumbents should think about is the consequences for their party and their possible successor on the next ballot because if voters decide to punish they will punish your party or whoever is seeking to succeed you”.
The thoughts expressed by Dr Kwapong stem from the recent response of President Akufo–Addo to a question on Otec FM where he told the party members in Ashanti Region “If you decide to vote for the NDC in the general election, it is your choice and that is not my problem. No one will force you to vote for someone.
“No problem. I am saying people make those kinds of threats; me they don’t frighten me.”
This response has generated a whole national discourse as some do not see anything wrong with such a statement but others are not taking it lightly ascribing different interpretations to the said response.