The political season is here with us once more and the two major parties; the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are already preparing to meet each other boot-for-boot in the 2020 general elections.
While the governing NPP is set with its presidential candidate and running mate in the persons of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Alhaji Dr. Muhamadu Bawumia respectively, same cannot be said with the NDC.
Several names have been thrown around as probable candidates that the NDC flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama can select to partner him in his bid to re-capture political power from the NPP.
Mr. Mahama is tight lipped on the issue but The Ghana Report can authoritatively say that the former president has already made a decision as to who will best complement him for political battle next year.
Ghana adopted the presidential system of government in 1979 with presidential elections scheduled to be held at periodic intervals.
The country adopted the American model of executive governance structure but without a second legislative chamber in 1979. This was repeated with a few, inconsequential modifications under the 1992 Constitution.
Ghana, since 1979 has had two major parties; one left-inclined and the other leaning more to the right. This is important because it directly reflects the tenor of the ethnocentric accusations here.
The Peoples’ National Party (PNP), led by Dr. Hilla Limann, won the election held in June,1979 with Prof. Joseph William Swain de Graft-Johnson as Vice-President, the first in Ghana’s history.
The other major party was the Popular Front Party (PFP) led by Victor Owusu with the Tolon-Na, Alhaji Yakubu Tali, as his running mate.
In his autobiography ‘’The River in the Sea’’, Mr. Akenten Appiah-Menka, a PFP stalwart at the time said, the party leader had promised the running mate position to the Eastern Regional Chairman of the PFP, Mr. E.R.T. Madjitey, who was the first African head of the police in the First Republic.
During this period, whoever won the party leadership primary was required to announce who his running mate would be immediately afterwards. For the PFP, Mr. Victor Owusu was prevailed upon to abandon his promise after Madjitey had done his part by getting the Eastern and Greater Accra votes for Mr. Owusu.
The party chairman, the Tolon-Na was selected because the main party in opposition to the PFP, the PNP, had chosen a northerner in the person of Dr. Limann to be their leader.
The idea then was to split the northern support for Dr. Limann and not a north-south balanced ticket. In the words of Appiah-Menka, ‘’Tolon-Naa can give us our needed block votes from the north.’’
For the PNP, they chose the Central Region indigene, Prof. de Graft-Johnson, to partner Dr. Limann as his choice was a gift to the party chairman, Nana Okutwer Bekoe, to reward him for accepting the chairmanship position of the party.
The story in the Fourth Republic has not been too different since 1979. The left leaning NDC, led by Jerry John Rawlings from the Volta Region won two terms in 1992 and 1996 with running mates, Kow Nkensen Arkaah and Prof. John Evans Mills respectively, all from the Central Region.
This was the first time a presidential candidate and his vice were all from the south albeit from different regions.
The NPP, led by John Agyekum Kufuor, from the south won the 2000 presidential elections. His running mate at the time was Aliu Mahama, an indigene of the Northern Region of Ghana.
The two served fully for two terms in office, i.e. 2000 – 2004 and 2004 – 2008.
Prof. Mills lost the 2000 presidential election with his running mate, Martin A. B. K. Amidu, then Deputy Attorney General, a northerner. He lost the 2004 notwithstanding selecting Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni also from the north as his running mate.
The NDC returned to power with Prof. Mills after defeating Nana Akufo-Addo in the 2008 polls. Mills, from the Central Region selected John Mahama from the Northern Region to partner him in that election.
Following the demise of John Mills, John Mahama, then Vice President, was sworn in to take over as President as stipulated by the 1992 Constitution.
Mahama, upon assumption of the presidency selected Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, from the Central Region as Vice President and maintained him as his running mate in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.
On the other hand, Nana Akufo-Addo, from the Eastern Region selected Dr. Bawumia from the Northern Region to partner him in the 2008 as well as the 2012 general elections. Akufo-Addo maintained the same ticket in the 2016 presidential election which saw the duo chalk a rather convincing win – the biggest in the country’s fourth republic dispensation.
The choice of Dr. Bawumia as running mate to Akufo-Addo, especially in the 2012 and 2016 elections has moved political campaigning to another level.
Dr. Bawumia’s background as an economic mogul and the manner with which he is said to have ruffled feathers in the NDC government with his series of lectures detailing how poorly managed the country’s economy compelled John Dramani Mahama to select somebody of his trait in the person of Amissah-Arthur, then governor of the Central Bank and former boss of the NPP’s “Economic Messiah” to counter most of his economic claims.
Dr. Bawumia’s contribution to the electoral success of Akufo-Addo and the NPP in the 2016 election cannot be swept under the carpet as even in government, the ‘Walewale’ Adam Smith, as nicknamed by the NDC themselves, is still a thorn in the flesh of the largest opposition party.
Some have proposed several names within the party with sound economic background, including Prof. Kwesi Botchwey, longest serving Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, former Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and former Finance Minister as well as Dr. Johnson Asiamah, former Deputy Governor of the BoG.
Other names including Betty Mould Iddrisu, her brother, Alex Mould, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, Julius Debrah, Victor Smith as well as Johnson Asiedu Nketiah have also come up as prospective running mates to Mahama.
It is clear from what has emerged as a pattern in the last two republics and in recent time that the NDC flagbearer will still play the north-south card and with him being a northerner, The Ghana Report can state without any equivocation that he will select a southerner who may likely have an education, economics and or finance background to partner him for the 2020 polls.