After several months of denial by government spokespersons, President Akufo-Addo has finally confirmed The aL-hAJJ’s May 2, 2017, publication that he will not seek re-election after serving his first term in office.
Without mincing words;; leaving his Ministers and party supporters dumbfounded, President Akufo-Addo openly announced his disinterest in leading the party into the next presidential election in 2020.
At his maiden encounter with the media, the President said he was unsure if he will extend his stay in power after serving four years in office, even though the constitution allows him to seek re-election.
Responding to threats by some illegal miners (galamseyers) that, they will vote him out in 2020 if he continues his fight against the menace, President Akufo-Addo retorted “first of all, it is not clear that my name will be on the ballot paper for 2020 and if I will contest, this threat will not stop me from fighting galamsey in the country".
However, hours after the President dropped this bombshell which left many NPP supporters and sympathisers troubled and confused, Information Minister, Mustapha Abdul Hamid, perhaps, to assuage the people’s hurt, told the media that President Akufo-Addo will contest the 2020 elections.
The Minister was however quick to add that, the President’s decision to seek re-election is subject to God’s will and also if he is in good health and still alive at the time of the next presidential elections.
“Insha Allah, he will be on the ballot paper in 2020 if he is alive and in good health; he will go…People live and die by the minute, it happens every day, and, so, a president cannot come and stand before a whole country and beat his chest and say: ‘Yes, I’ll be on the ballot paper in 2020.’ If he did that, we the Muslims would wonder whether he is God. That’s why Muslims always prefix whatever they say with Insha Allah – God willing – so that is what he meant because it is too premature to be talking about 2020 when we don’t even know what will happen before that time,” he explained.
The aL-hAJJ on May 2, 2017, publication reported that President Akufo-Addo and his advisers have concluded on a discreet succession plan to cede the leadership of the governing party after his first term to Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Though NPP members privy to this plan has been tightlipped, the President early this year inadvertently gave a hint of his unwillingness to contest the 2020 election when he dared illegal small scale miners who are threatening to vote him out; to carry through their plan.
“…I have been told some of the people engaged in illegal mining, have threatened to vote against the NPP in 2020 if I crack the whip on the culprits. I am more concerned about fulfilling God’s purpose and devising measures to propel the nation’s development. That’s my focus and not election related issues,” President Akufo Addo called the bluff of illegal miners.
The President, who was speaking at the commissioning of an ICT Center at Suabe in the Eastern Regional town of Akyem Wenchi said, he is unfazed by these threats and that, he will not allow some citizens to endanger the lives of the entire population with their unlawful activities.
Two weeks ago, President Akufo-Addo again called the bluff of some peeved galamseyers when he stated that he will “put his presidency on the line” to root out the menace which has led to the destruction of the environment.
Though some leading members of the NPP including former Member of Parliament for Upper Denkyira West, Benjamin Kofi Aryeh, have raised concerns about the President’s daring comment, fearing it could affect the fortunes of the party in the next election, President Akufo-Addo would have none of that.
Perhaps, to allay the fears of NPP bigwigs overly worried about how he will perform in the 2020 elections, President Akufo-Addo openly announced that he will serve for only one term.
In order to keep the hopes of party supporters wishing he seek reelection alive, President Akufo Addo said, in his absence, there are equally competent and formidable persons in the NPP to lead the party into the next general elections.
There are reports that President Akufo-Addo’s decision not to seek reelection is known to some senior government officials and NPP top brass.
This is said to have emboldened Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyeremanten; Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko, and former MP for Mampong, Francis Addai Nimo to be lacing their boots in readiness to step into the shoes of the president.