The choice of a parliamentary candidate in general elections conspicuously does not come as luck would have it. In the subconscious mind of the voter, some criteria is evaluated and the identification, assessment and adherence to those criteria with respect to individual constituencies cannot be downplayed in elections. The fact that some parliamentarians that made it to the Top 10 Most Vocal Members of Parliament (MPs) report published in May 5, 2020 by Edwin Appiah did not get even the nod from within their own parties to continue representing their constituents gives credence to the science of voting and further shows that, going into general elections, candidates underestimate the key roles and values of these facts at their own peril.
The significant roles of the following MPs in their constituencies namely Hon Alban Sumani Bagbin (fmr MP, Nadowli West); Hon Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh (Majority Chief Whip, MP, Sunyani East); Hon Haruna Idrisu (Minority Leader, MP, Tamale South); Hon.Shirley Ayokor Botchwey (MP, Anyaa-Sowutuom); Hon Kwame Governs Agbodza (MP, Adaklu); Hon Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu (Majority Leader/ Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, MP, Suame); Hon Kennedy Agyapong (MP, Assin Central) and recently Hon Dr. Zanetor Rawlings (MP, Korley Klottey) among others were/ are not merely coincidental. They were not by chance, they worked for it.
Theoretical models that explain the electoral behaviour namely— sociological model of voting behaviour, psychosocial model of voting behaviour and rational choice theory literally addresses “what voters want to hear, know and see”. The criteria are outlined and require detailed analysis as a guide to candidates.
- The Connection/Accessibility to voters (In Community building, social gatherings etc.)
- Community Relationship (demonstration of respect/concern/humility/empathy)- non-financial
- Legislative Impact (if already in Parliament) e.g. ranking, voice heard in chamber etc.)
- Lobbying Skills (believed to be connected to top hierarchy to influence position/ assistance/developmental projects)
- Management of Propaganda/Outright lies
- Affluence (financial base, outspoken, charisma, education e.g. legal/ a professional)
- Regional/Societal Dynamics (voters’ occupation, religion, literacy levels, needs/wants)
- Moral Character (honesty, integrity, decency, trustworthiness etc.)
- Attitude towards work (energy in the candidate)
NB: Weights attached to these criteria are constituency specific as will be determined.
A candidate that benefits from a critical assessment of the above and a corresponding adherence to the findings established can be deemed to be safe, ceteris paribus.
Yeboah G. Joseph
President- Intellectual Patriots
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Lazarsfeld, P. F., Berelson, B. & Gaudet, H. (1944). The people’s choice: how the voter makes up his mind in a presidential campaign. New York: Columbia University Press.