A recent study by the Centre for Decentralization Advocacy (CeDA) revealed a stark reality: Ghana’s grassroots elections, often perceived as non-partisan, are deeply intertwined with the political machinations of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The study, initiated on September 11, 2023, delved into the intricate dynamics of local politics, scrutinizing the political affiliations of candidates at the grassroots level and political party machinations.
CeDA’s research data sheds light on the extensive dominance of the NPP and NDC in grassroots elections, signalling a political landscape strongly tethered to these major parties.
The study, which focused on candidates participating in grassroots elections, unveils compelling statistics that paint a vivid picture of the political scenario unfolding at the grassroots level.
A staggering revelation from the research led by Kwadwo Afari-Yeboah, indicates that major political parties, particularly the NPP and NDC, overwhelmingly shape the outcomes of grassroots elections. Of the 18,755 candidates, a whopping 8,846 (47.16%) identified with the NPP, while 8,474 (45.18%) were affiliated with the NDC. This near-equal split underscores the tight grip these major parties hold on local politics.
CeDA’s meticulous analysis also points to the nuanced ways in which political affiliations are communicated at the grassroots level. Beyond blatant party logos, the study uncovered a more nuanced form of political influence – the colour scheme of campaign posters. Red, white, and blue for the NPP, and green, black, and red for the NDC, have become understood signals of party allegiance, demonstrating the pervasive influence of parties in shaping voter perception.
Furthermore, the study exposes the active involvement of political party functionaries at the electoral area level, with 65% of candidates identified as such. These individuals, serving as Electoral Area Coordinators, Polling Station Executives, Branch Executives, and Ward Executives, contribute to the formidable presence of major political parties in grassroots politics.
CeDA’s research strongly suggests that grassroots elections, often perceived as non-partisan, are intrinsically intertwined with the political fabric of the NPP and NDC. The political parties not only play a crucial role in candidate selection but also conduct elections within various electoral areas, consolidating their influence at the grassroots level.
As Ghana approaches grassroots elections, the findings from CeDA’s research present a compelling narrative of the deep-rooted political dynamics shaping the local governance landscape.
The study prompts a reevaluation of assumptions surrounding the non-partisan nature of grassroots politics, urging stakeholders to recognize and understand the prevailing political undercurrents.