The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the London-based Economist Magazine is predicting victories for Ghana’s opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and former US Secretary of State Hilary R. Clinton, as the two countries go into crucial general election later this year.
Ghanaians are expected to cast their ballots to either retain or change incumbent John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on November 7, while the US general election is slated for the following day when Mrs. Clinton, a Democrat and former first lady, will battle it out with Republican candidate Donald Trump.
The EIU special reports concluded last month, separately prepared on country-by-country analysis ahead of the elections and released from London over the weekend, said Nana Akufo-Addo will become the eventual winner and President of Ghana after an ‘acrimonious’ contest in the November general election, while Mrs. Clinton will defeat Mr. Trump in the US polls.
An opinion poll conducted by the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) early this year also indicated that Nana Akufo-Addo is in a poll position to run away with victory in the November elections, confirming the EIU report. Earlier EIU report in the year had also recorded the elections in favour of the opposition NPP leader.
According to the report, which tackled almost every sector of the economy in Ghana, President Mahama’s supervision of an economy in shambles was going to cost him power as he loses grip of the fundamentals with rising inflation and debt burden.
No Time For NDC
“There is little time for Mr. Mahama and the NDC to turn the economy around before the November elections,” the report indicated, adding, “We therefore expect Mr. Akufo-Addo and the NPP to be victorious.”
The report however, cautioned the NPP of complacency, saying “The outcome is by no means a foregone conclusion, however, with the results likely to be close. The NPP will need to work hard to attract votes from outside its heartlands in central Ghana while maintaining internal unity.”
It said that the NDC “will continue to enjoy strong support in the east and north of the country, owing to historical and tribal allegiances,” and predicted that “Greater Accra, historically a swing state, will be a key battleground, and so tensions in this economic hub could disrupt business operations.”
Hilary vs Trump
The report said “EIU expects Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 presidential election. The Democrats are likely to win back a majority in the Senate, but the Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives.”
It predicted that policymaking in the next presidential term in the US “will remain sluggish and adversarial.”
“Ms Clinton will benefit from the broad unpopularity of her opponent, Donald Trump. She will make successful attacks on his suspect temperament, bullying manner and mixed business record,” adding, “She will receive very strong support from African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American voters. The stabilisation of the economy under the Democratic administration of Barack Obama will also be a supportive factor”
Turning to Ghana’s future elections, the EIU said whichever party wins in 2016 is expected to preside over an improving economic situation “and this will bolster its support in 2020, making re-election the most likely outcome.” It added, “However, Mr. Mahama would be constitutionally barred from standing again if victorious in 2016, so the NDC could face a damaging internal battle over who will succeed him, which may play into the hands of the NPP.”
“If Mr Akufo-Addo is victorious in 2016, he would be eligible to stand again in 2020, but would be 76 years old by then and so could face challenges from within his party,” it said further.
It further predicted an acrimonious contest between the ruling NDC and the opposition NPP in November saying, “Ongoing economic weakness at a time of approaching elections will expose Ghana to a notable risk of political and social instability early in the forecast period.”
“The NPP goes into the election period unhappy with the management of the Electoral Commission, which it believes is biased in favour of the NDC. The NPP is therefore likely to dispute the results, if the NDC is victorious. A disputed election would be decided by the courts, as happened in 2012. At that time all sides accepted the verdict. However, in 2015 the judiciary was hit by major corruption allegations (albeit unrelated to political judgements).”
The report said, “Mistrust in the judiciary makes a refusal to accept any 2016 election case verdict more likely, increasing the risk of instability. Given these political tensions, there is a notable risk of significant political instability and potentially even social unrest during late 2016 and early 2017.”
NDC National Organizer Kofi Adams last Friday pointed out what he called ‘inconsistencies’ in the report and said President Mahama and the ruling party were not perturbed about the EIU’s prediction.
Moustapha Hamid, an aide to the NPP flagbearer, reacting to the report, said he and his party did not need the report of EIU to know that the governing party would be humiliated in the upcoming elections.
He said he just returned from a five-day regional tour with the party’s vice presidential candidate and can say without any equivocation “that there is no way the NDC will beat us.”
He continued, “I have been involved in political campaigns since 2004 but have never seen this groundswell of support for the NPP…this is the year the people of Ghana are ready to change course,” he told Joy FM.