In Ghana, a third way is trying to exist in the face of the two heavyweights of the political arena

Ghanaian political history and the most recent polls leave him with little chance of satisfying his ambition

In Ghana, a third way is trying to exist in the face of the two heavyweights of the political arena

Ghanaian political history and the most recent polls leave him with little chance of satisfying his ambition. But, in a country which, for thirty-two years, has established two-party politics, Alan Kyerematen, 68, intends to represent a third way in the presidential election scheduled for December. On April 17, he brought together eight political or civil society groups around him, on the stage of the auditorium of the University of Professional Studies in Accra. A first for an independent candidate in Ghana.

“We are beginning a process that will redefine the architecture of political governance in our country,” Alan Kyerematen promised to his supporters during the formation of this union, called the Alliance for Revolutionary Change. A government of national unity, made up of different political parties, unions, members of civil society, among others. »

The former executive of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – the party currently in power which he left in September 2023 due to not being able to wear his colors in the next presidential election – garners 7.5% of voting intentions, according to the Global Info Analytics April survey. Enough to place him in third position, but far behind the candidates of the two main parties: the current vice-president Mahamudu Bawumia of the NPP at 34.9% and, above all, the former president and favorite of the December 7 election, John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), at 54.3%.

“In its current composition, the Alliance for Revolutionary Change will not allow Alan Kyerematen to win the election,” said Mussa Dankwa, analyst at the Global Info Analytics polling institute, pointing out the low popularity of the parties that run it. compound.

“A solid foundation”

Bringing out a third political force in Ghana remains a challenge due to voting habits: “Voters can choose based on their religion, but especially based on their ethnicity,” explains Jonathan Asante Otchere, political scientist at the University of Cape Town. Coast. The Ashanti region in the west of the country votes predominantly for the NPP; when the Greater Accra region is more favorable to the NDC.

As a result, politicians who have run outside their original party have so far failed, no matter how influential they may be. In 2016, Nana Rawlings, wife of former President Jerry Rawlings, left the NDC to run as an independent candidate; Sixteen years earlier, it was Charles Wereko-Brobby, a former NPP executive, who tried his luck. Both candidates did not exceed the 1% mark.

Another obstacle: the electoral system which gives full powers to the winner. In Ghana, "the winner takes all", with the elected president appointing national, municipal or local executive representatives. This gives “total domination over the governance of the nation,” underlines Jonathan Asante Otchere. And leaves no chance for candidates from smaller groups to make themselves heard. »

“The case of Alan Kyerematen is different from other independent candidates,” explains Kobby Mensah, political scientist at the Ghana Business School. During his years in the NPP, he ran in several primaries to represent the party in the presidential election [in 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2023]. This allowed him to bring together a solid base around him. »

Ghana, in default of payment since 2022

The one who, in 2012, was an unsuccessful candidate for the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), especially distinguished himself in his country as Minister of Industry and Trade: from 2003 to 2007, under the chairmanship of John Kufuor; then from 2017 to 2023 in the government of Nana Akufo-Addo.

A second ministerial experience where he piloted the “One District One Factory” program: an economic development policy, which in six years enabled the installation of 200 new factories and the creation of 170,000 jobs. , according to the Ghanaian government.

This record might seem more flattering than that of Mahamadu Bawumia, the NPP candidate who served in the same governments. Ghana has been in default since 2022, the currency lost 30% of its value against the dollar that same year and inflation still exceeds 20% today, after a historic peak of more than 50% ago less than two years.

If, according to the Global Info Analytics poll, 7% of NPP voters would be ready to vote for Mr. Kyerematen, it will be much more complicated to seek votes from the NDC side. “John Dramani Mahama voters are very loyal to the party,” explains Mussa Dankwa. If he wants to increase his chances, Alan Kyerematen will instead have to knock on the doors of the undecided, who represent 18% of voters. »

The chances of victory are slim, but a third place finish could give Alan Kyerematen a role as kingmaker if neither heavyweight wins in the first round.