Tribal Vote in Ghana?

This is the Electoral Map of the 2004 elections, blue for NPP, green for NDC. As you can see distinct areas of the country support different parties, eg. the central part of Ghana was predominately NPP and the north and the east mostly voted for NDC. As it happens, these geographical areas broadly converts into ethnic groups or tribes.

This year there has been a concern that the ethnic vote will create violence and confusion and this possibility has been met with not less than three campaigns: (1), (2), (3), to stem eventual violence. However, when I have talked to people, this is not a big concern. Some say, former presidents have been from different tribes; Ashanti, Ewe, and the main contestants this time around are from yet other tribes; Akyem and Fanti, so we have nothing to worry about. Others talk about an Electoral commission that is competent and independent, so who can then meddle with election results?

Even so, the majoritarian, winner-takes-all political system Ghana shares with USA has the disadvantage of leaving minorities unrepresented. Maybe Ghana, as a country with many ethnic groups would be better served with a multiparty, consensual political system? Read Eric Kwesi Bottah's insightful article for more arguments for a multiparty system in Ghana.

On Sunday the Ghanaian general elections are on, and the question is how Ghanaians will vote this time?

Map from excellent elections' site


Uli said...

Interesting. It's funny that such geographical distributions always create a 'tribal' vote concern in Africa. Germany's vote map looks similarly divided. The north is protestant and social democratic and the south is catholic and conservative...
so i guess: same, same but different.

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

I believe that nothing changes except gradually in Ghana. Ergo, the voting pattern should remain largely the same.

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Uli, "tribal voting" is of course also an occurrence of other parts of the world, like Germany evidently...even though it is called something else. But interestingly this aspect cancels other reasons for political choice it seems. For instance class politics are simply not an issue in Ghana where the class divide, as we all know, is as deep as it gets.

Nana Yaw, I agree, likely, the pattern will remain.

posekyere said...

Hi Kajsa,

It is such a pity that after 51 years of independence and statehood, Ghanaians are still making decisions on who to vote for based primarily on ethnic sentiments.
Whilst there may be historical reasons for such a tendency, the inability to break with purely tribal voting patterns is rather a sad reflection on our understanding of true patriotism.
Surely Ghana must come before any tribe.
As far as national stability is concerned, I don't think that the elections will end in violence despite the attempt by some to warp up emotions.

uli said...

yep, completely agree, Kajsa. just wanted to draw attention to the fact that debates in (but more worryingly ON) africa seem to be unhelpfully dominated by the notion of 'tribes'...

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