columnBy Stephen Odoi-Larbi
"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a big fall;
All the King's soldiers and all the King's men;
Couldn't put Humpty together again."
Friday December 7, 2012 was decision time. It was a time where 11,246,982 out of the 14,158,890 eligible voters exercised their franchise by electing a president out of the nine presidential hopefuls and 275 members of Parliament to govern the country for the next four years.
Aside this, the general elections was also a test case to see which party really did well in terms of organisation. In other words, it was a test case to see which party looked more appealing to the masses.
In all, seven political parties, namely the National Democratic Congress (NDC); New Patriotic Party (NPP); Great Consolidated People's Party (GCPP); Progressive People's Party (PPP); Convention People's Party (CPP); People's National Convention (PNC); and United Front Party (UFP) fielded presidential and parliamentary candidates to contest the general elections, in addition to an independent presidential candidate.
The presidential candidates include John Dramani Mahama, NDC; Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, NPP; Henry Herbert Lartey, GCPP; Papa Kwesi Nduom, PPP; Kwasi Addai, UFP; Hassan Ayariga, PNC; Abu Sakara Foster, CPP; and Jacob Osei-Yeboah, independent.
Countrywide, the polls should have ended at 5:00 p.m. after opening at 7:00 a.m., but due to delay in supply of election materials and the breakdown of some verification machines, polls at the affected polling stations were adjourned to Saturday, December 8, 2012.
By Sunday 10:00 p.m. the Electoral Commission (EC) had collated all the results from the 26,002 polling stations nationwide, and at one go, officially announced the winner of the presidential race. That of the parliamentary race was determined at the constituency level.
John Dramani Mahama of the NDC was presented to Ghanaians as the winner of the presidential race, polling 5,574,761, representing 50.70%, to topple his closest political rival from the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, who polled 5,248,898, representing 47.74%.
Right from the start, the polls were generally centered on the two main political parties, the NDC and NPP. It was, therefore, not surprise that the two garnered the majority of the total votes cast.
Aside the two political parties, inside observers were keeping tabs on the performance of the Dr. Sakara-led CPP and Papa Kwesi Nduom's PPP.
Papa Kwesi Nduom had contested the presidential race on the ticket of the CPP with Dr. Sakara as his running mate in the 2008 general elections, but due to internal bickering, resigned from the CPP to form his own party, the PPP.
Though not much was expected from the CPP and PPP, what was more interesting was which party would outdo the other to become the third force in the country's political system.
After the official pronouncement by the Chairman of the EC, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, it became evidently clear that the PPP had overpowered its parent party, the CPP.
The PPP polled an overwhelming 64,362 of the total valid votes cast, representing 0.59%, against 20,323, representing 0.18% garnered by the CPP.
The performance of the PPP against the CPP did not come to many as a surprise, since the CPP, after the overthrow of the country's first president in the 24th February, 1966 coup d'état, had been hobbling along on one leg.
In 1997, the CPP heaved a sigh of relief after it won five parliamentary seats in the Second Parliament of the Fourth Republic. It was the first time the CPP was contesting in a major election after it was proscribed from doing so in 1969.
The five parliamentary seats won by the CPP were cut short to one in the Third Parliament of the Fourth Republic, which was inaugurated on January 7, 2001.
In the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic, the fortunes of the CPP in the country's legislature improved a bit, when it won three seats, but not well enough to become a third force.
Surprisingly, that of the three seats was cut short to one in the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic, following the introduction of Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom as its presidential candidate in the 2008 general elections.
Dr. Nduom brought life into the CPP, and was more appealing to the youth than the party has ever had since the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
The Jomoro Constituency seat, won by Samia Yaaba Nkrumah in the 2008 parliamentary election, gave the party some sort of hope as a force to reckon with in the 2012 polls.
With her ascendancy to the Chairperson position of the CPP, loyalists to the party were assured of a better performance in the 2012 polls than ever before.
This assurance was further rekindled, when the party elected Dr. Abu Sakara Foster as its presidential candidate to compete with the likes of John Dramani Mahama and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
However, that hope was dashed when the party performed abysmally at the just-ended polls. What was more worrying was the loss of its sole parliamentary seat, which was being occupied by Samia Yaaba Nkrumah. The iron lady could not hold on to the portfolio which she managed to win from the NDC in 2008.
From all indications, the signs of the CPP falling down were boldly written on the wall, but none of the party's stalwarts could see that.
From the Second Parliament of the Fourth Republic, through to the Fifth Parliament, all the seats lost by the party went to the NDC.
When the NDC launched an aggressive campaign to win the Jomoro seat back, Samia was busy fighting Papa Kwesi Nduom as to how the party should be directed and managed.
The other day, I heard Dr. Sakara attributing the party's abysmal performance to the logo used by the GCPP. That was a complete fallacy. Is Sakara implying that followers of the CPP were educated to look out for the cockerel symbol on the ballot paper than his own picture embossed on it? Is he also implying that after performing excellently at the IEA debate, Ghanaians were not familiar with his personality than that of the party's logo?
Anyway, let us do a simple calculation and see whether his allegation is true or not.
In the just-ended elections, the GCPP polled 38,223, representing 0.35% of the total valid votes cast while the CPP polled 20,323 votes, representing 0.18%.
The two figures put together will give you 58,546 votes against that of the 64,362 votes polled by the PPP. With this simple calculation, one could see that there was a shortfall of 5,816 votes.
Dr. Sakara is entitled to his opinion, but with the above simple calculation, he should be bold to recognise the PPP as third force political party to reckon with.
How could he expect his party that campaigned on weak structures to surpass a new born party that had all the money to spend, and was attracting more of the youth into its fold?
In other words, how can a party that filed 145 parliamentary candidates compete with a party that filed 211?
Political parties are run from the grassroots, and if you don't establish base with the people at that level, just consider it over.
The abysmal performance of the Samia-Sakara led CPP is an indication that the party, born and conceived by the First President of the land, is absolutely dead.