A decade-long spending binge has driven Ghana back into an IMF austerity programme. As elections loom this November, why is it politics as usual?
Seven political parties are registered to contest the next elections, but unless a political earthquake happens only the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), have any realistic chance of winning the presidential poll. Between them, the two parties have won every election since the fourth republic began in 1992.
Incumbent president, John Dramani Mahama of the NDC, was returned unopposed at his party's congress last year. Things have not been as rosy for the NPP. A fierce internecine warfare engulfed the party, which resulted in the suspension of the party's chairman and some leading members. Also, the Western Region's acting regional chairman of the party, Benjamin Kwa, died of a heart attack.
All that notwithstanding, the party's perennial presidential candidate, Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo easily won the presidential slot. The greatest drama was enacted in the tiny Convention's People's Party (CPP). The once formidable Kwame Nkrumah's party that led Ghana into independence, has been reduced to a shadow of itself --it polled just 0.18% in the last presidential elections.
The CPP held a bruising primary that has left the party in tatters. Nkrumah's daughter, Sarnia, who is also the CPP's sole MP, apparently convinced of the support of the party's Young Turks who adore her, was certain that the primary would be a mere formality endorsing her candidature.
As it turned out, she lost badly to the party's secretary-general, Ivor Greenstreet, who garnered 64% of the vote to her 29%. Stung, she resorted to bullying, accusing Greenstreet of being a stooge of the ruling party.
Her outburst led party chairman, Professor Delli, to intervene: "I'm not going to tolerate indiscipline in the CPP. The name of my flagbearer cannot be put into disrepute, no matter who the person is. We don't tolerate indiscipline in our party. I give her the last warning, let her come again, and she must render an apology to the party and if she does not render it, I'm giving her 48 hours, she will be hauled before the disciplinary committee of the party and dealt with according to the rules and regulations of our party.
"She is not special. She's like any member of the party ... why should she go on trying to put the name of the party into disrepute, when she...