- "So stop appealing to overly arousing your core base. Boycotting will just arouse your core base only, but saying that I don’t approve of it... I won't show up there, endears you to election kingmakers. If you are interested in future elections then these are some of the things you must be thinking of doing."
Professor Ransford Van Gyampo, a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana, has said that the former president John Mahama’s decision to boycott President Akufo-Addo’s inauguration was a sign of political immaturity.
Gyampo believes being present at the ceremony would not have changed the stance of the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in connection to the outcome of Elections 2020.
Speaking on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Friday (8 January), Professor Gyampo said turning up at the national event would have won Mahama a great deal of respect.
“It is not good for us, so for me, I think it wouldn’t have spoilt anything. It would have rather made you politically mature in the sight of many Ghanaians,” Gyampo argued.
He added: “Politicians must stop appealing to their core support base. If the 2020 general election is anything to go by, it must teach lessons to politicians.
“Oftentimes what they do does not appeal to election kingmakers. New Patriotic Party people think all Ghanaians are NPP; National Democratic Congress people think all Ghanaians are NDC.”
National interest first
Professor Gyampo urged politicians to desist from appealing solely to their supporters, if they really want to win elections.
“It is not a wise thing to do: to always do things that appeal to your support base. They are not enough. The people who voted for the NDC to get the seats in Parliament, they are all not NDC supporters: there are some who were sitting on the fence.
“The people who voted for Nana Akufo-Addo in 2016 to give that monumental defeat to the NDC, they were not all NPP supporters.”
He argued that politicians must always focus on the national interest.
“So stop appealing to overly arousing your core base. Boycotting will just arouse your core base only, but saying that ‘I don’t approve of it … I won’t show up there,’ endears you to election kingmakers. If you are interested in future elections then these are some of the things you must be thinking of doing.”
However, Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, the head of law centres at the GIMPA Faculty of Law, believes that Mahama may have boycotted the inauguration to avoid endorsing the outcome of the 2020 election.
“To the outside world and foreign dignitaries and all that, it sends a kind of message to your base. For instance, to the outside world and those who may be sitting on the fence, fine: you have shown maturity and all that.
“But remember, inasmuch as you need those on the fence to win, you actually need first and foremost your base to turn out.
“So it is possible that you can appeal to those on the fence but what if your core base also decides to sit it out?” Agyeman-Budu said. “Can you win with the middle vote alone?
“So I am not saying that it is right or wrong that he did not go, but I am sure he did not want to lend credence to the fact that … maybe for propaganda purposes.”
NDC MPs also boycotted the inauguration. Last week, Mahama petitioned the Supreme Court over the outcome of the 2020 general election.