A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE SYMBOLISM OF GHANAIAN POLITICAL PARTIES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE ELECTORATES
1.1 Background of the study
The Gold Coast became the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1957. Ghana was selected as the name for the new country to honor Ghana’s historic kingdom, which formerly spanned most of western Africa. At independence in 1957, Ghana chose a new national flag with red, gold, green, and a black star. The red signifies the blood poured in the fight for freedom, the gold represents Ghana’s mineral riches, the green represents the fertile agricultural fields, and the black star represents African liberation, according to Theodosia Salome Okoh’s design. Political parties in Ghana date back to the year 1957, when the country gained independence. United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), United Party, and Convention Peoples Party were among them (CPP). The parties were established mainly to compete in competitive elections throughout the country, according to Mongabay (2008). Those parties chose emblems and colors that distinguish them from one another. As stated in Ghana’s then-drafted independence constitution of 1957, the victor of contested general elections was given a mandate to govern the nation for a length of time. For many years following that, several military administrations (including the NLC, NRC, SMC, and AFRC) intervened. After a ten-year prohibition by Rawlings’ PNDC military administration, which seized power from a democratically elected government (PNP) in 1981, political party creation and activity resumed in mid-1992. According to data from the Electoral Commission of Ghana on Political Parties (2012), there are now 27 registered political parties in Ghana’s fourth republic, with the 23NDC winning presidential and parliamentary elections in 1992, 1996, and 2008, and the NPP winning elections in 2000 and 2004. The CPP and the PNC, on the other hand, have yet to win a general election since 1992. In Ghana, registered political parties may identify themselves in a variety of ways. One of these methods, according to Gyekye (2003), is the employment of symbols and colors in various shapes, styles, and patterns. For the people of Ghana, political party emblems have a profound historic and current importance. As a consequence, many Ghanaians support or join any of the political parties. The significance of the emblems and colors on the different paraphernalia employed by political parties for their political operations is, however, lost on the majority of these electorates.
1.2 Statement of research problem
To make political activity apparent and prevent misunderstanding, political party emblems and colors are employed. Political parties use symbols and colors to identify themselves in various areas of the globe. Political parties were established in order to take part in national elections and promote democracy. Ghanaian electorates have aligned themselves with one political party or the other based on a variety of criteria such as a party’s emblems and colors, its flag bearer, its ideology, and so on. During elections, electorates are expected to vote for their favorite candidates. All of these political parties have different symbols and ideas behind them, but they all have the same national objective in mind: to grow the country (Ninsin, 2001). These political parties define themselves in a variety of ways. The usage of registered party emblems and colors is one of these identifying techniques or approaches. One political party is distinguished from the other by its emblems and colors. Because not every electorate is literate, the symbols selected must be readily understood, recalled, and recognized by the ordinary voter. Additionally, the voter will have an idea of the party only by seeing the sign. Because symbols and colors are so significant, most political parties are still identifiable by their emblems and colors. Political parties are intended to be identified by symbols and colors so that its members may vote in elections. Furthermore, voters should be aware of their party’s distinctive emblems and colors. This significant issue of symbol knowledge, symbolism, and political roles, among other things, is a concern in Ghana’s democratic system. These factors may have contributed to the high number of electorates who failed to vote properly.
However, in Ghana’s democratic dispensation, knowledge of the identification of party symbols, their use on paraphernalia, their symbolism, the effects of the symbolism on electorates’ political lifestyles, and electorates’ ability to effectively use such knowledge to vote for their preferred parties has been a problem. The consequences of the described issue may have accounted for the high number of electorates who erred in their voting decisions, as disclosed by the Electoral Commission (2012), which reported a total of 205,438 rejected votes in the first round of the 2008 presidential election in Ghana. In light of the preceding discussion, this research becomes very important and crucial in that regard. As a result, the purpose of this research was to look at the symbolism of Ghanaian political parties and their effect on voters.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The primary objective of the study is as follows:
1) To examine why political parties in Ghana use symbols as a means of identifying their political party
2) To find out how many political parties are in Ghana and how much Ghanaian knows about these political parties and their symbols
3) To find out the history of political parties in Ghana
4) To assess the effect of the symbols and colours on the decision making by
voters during general elections in Ghana.
1.4 Research questions
The following questions have been prepared for the study
1) Does political parties in Ghana use symbols as a means of identifying their political party?
2) how many political parties are in Ghana?
3) Is there a history behind the creation of political party in Ghana?
4) effect of the symbols and colours on the decision making of voters during general elections in Ghana?
1.5 Research methodology
The method of this research is qualitative method and our means of Data collection will be primary and secondary sources. This work will be discussed in five chapters which includes why political parties in Ghana use symbols as a means of identifying their political party. how many political parties are in Ghana. find out the history of political parties in Ghana. Find out how symbols and colours affect the decision making of voters during general elections in Ghana. Summary conclusions and recommendation.
1.6 Significance of the study
The significance of this study cannot be underestimated as:
l This study will examine a critical analysis of the symbolism of Ghanaian political parties and their impact on the electorates
l The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, security operatives, political parties leaders and academia.
1.7 Scope of the study
This study will examine a critical analysis of the symbolism of Ghanaian political parties and their impact on the electorates. Hence the study will be delimited to selected political parties in Ghana.
1.8 Limitations of the study
This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:
just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data
Financial constraint , was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires
Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher
1.9 Operational definition of terms
Symbolism: the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.
Political party: an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a specific country’s elections
Electorate: all the people in a country or area who are entitled to vote in an election.