"Ah! You only ever ask me questions about what cream I use on my forehead..."
My boss is voting for one of the Big Two parties. When I ask him why, he smiles and tells me that he has never before voted for a losing team.
He could be saying any, some or all of the following:
a) that he has a good eye for choosing a winner
b) that all the parties are the same so why not vote for the one most likely to win anyway?
c) that he will not waste his vote by voting for a party he knows will loseIt is the last of these that interests me.
One observant reader recently picked up on how my commentary is restricted to (and critical of) the two leading parties, the NPP and the NDC. For the record, I am not necessarily a CPP supporter. I just feed on the excess of attention the Big Two receive from both the media and the general public. If I don't poke enough fun at the CPP, it is because I don't hear so much about them. Which is strange given that I work down the road from their headquarters.
In all honesty, I think all the political parties are fair game. Dan Lartey's GCPP in particular. Watching that man host his poorly-organized/attended press conferences and state his standing a chance in hell of being the next Ghanaian president is like watching a reality show contestant refuse to believe that his tone-illiterate singing is nothing short of musical brilliance: makes for great entertainment, but little more. Organizations that take themselves as seriously as our political parties do deserve to have fun poked at them. Especially given all the fuss they create to make up for a lack of substantive differences or ideas.
One would think that Nkrumah's old party would have a stronger standing but I guess years of coup d'etats (preceded by some Mugabe-ist tendencies...) took us on another trajectory. Nduom keeps an informative website and given my unashamed lack of loyalty to any particular party, I can appreciate a man serving in the government of a party of whom he is not a member. Nevertheless, I am pretty sure that Ghanaians - with our collective NPP/NDC obsession - are not going to vote in a third party.
What will be interesting to find out is why not.
I doubt it will be because of a fear of splitting the vote and bringing in an unwanted party by accident. Are we really that sophisticated yet? All of us? So soon? Call me a pessimist but I think that most voting Ghanaians will not even consider the CPP, primarily because the party hasn't thrown enough money around, be it at the media or at the people. The CPP just do not seem big enough and, when it comes to politics, Ghanaians like big.
Maybe the CPP need a change of tactics:
Third parties really work when they are single-issue parties who highlight causes (sidelined or not taken seriously enough) by the mainstream two. Enough votes away from the mainstream towards such a party could put a voter's least favorite party in power in the short term, but it would force the losing mainstream party to recognize that issue in the next election.
Does that sound like a wasted vote?