Ghana’s 2016 General Election: Accounting for the Monumental Defeat of the National Democratic Congress (NDC)

Ghana is now seen as a thriving African democracy after having gone through
seven presidential and parliamentary elections, resulting in three overturns
of political power in 2001, 2009 and 2017. The 2016 election was another
crossroad for Ghana’s maturing democracy. In this election, the incumbent
National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost to the opposition New Patriotic
Party (NPP). The margin of defeat suffered by the ruling NDC was puzzling
and unprecedented. Using voter behaviour as a theoretical taxonomy, this
paper attempts to explain the monumental defeat of the NDC in the 2016
general election. It poses the question: what factors led to this defeat and
why was there such a monumental difference of over one million votes? The
paper argues that firstly, the defeat was due to regime fatigue anchored in the
two-term regime cycle of change and voting based on party identification.
Secondly, the defeat was monumental because of poor economic performance;
corruption on the part of some government ministers and attempts to shield
them; unpopular last minute decisions; the gross display of arrogance by some
ministers of state and party officials; a more appealing campaign message
of hope from the main opposition party; poor branding and communication
of NDC’s campaign promises and ideas; abuse of incumbency; voter apathy on the part of ruling party supporters and the general call for change across the world. The study concludes by offering some useful recommendations.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: defeat, democracy, democratic consolidation, elections, Ghana, National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP)
journal of african elections vol16 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa