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Opinions Fri, 22 Aug 2014

A Referendum On The NPP Bawumia

...Selected Speeches and Brief Profile of NPP Dr Mahamudu Bawumia- the two-times New Patriotic Party (NPP) Vice-Presidential Candidate and the Prophet Elisha in Contemporary UP Politricks

ABSTRACT

Historically; as it had always been, there are currently, two huge political eagles perching on two olive branches of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) political Baobab Tree or should I say, the United Party(UP): The Popular Front Party (PFP) and the United National Convention (UNC). According to Statesman Akenten Appiah Menka; the U.N.C. was essentially, a combination of the Progress Party “Walk Outs” from da Rocha’s law office and most of the Gbedemah’s N.A.L. Party members notably Okudjeto, Osei Nyame, Dr. Obed Asamoah, Dr. Agama and few outsiders including Peter Ala Adjetey, Prof Adu Boahen, Harry Sawyerr and unbelievably, General Afrifa. “The battle for the dirty mudslinging had begun between P.F.P. and U.N.C. The result was the second round Presidential election between Hilla Limann’s P.N.P and Victor Owusu’s P.F.P. As the U.N.C. came third with their political stalwarts of Paa Willie, N.Y.B. Adade, Prof. Adu Boahen, Afrifa, R.R. Amponsah,Yaw Manu, Ala Adjetey, Dr. Agama, Sam Okudjeto, Obed Asamoah and Harry Sawyerr, ignored their political roots of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition and opted for the P.N.P. of the C.P.P. ancestry. This enabled Limann Win the Land slide victory over the PFP victor Owusu in Round Two. Thus the Danquah/Busia/Dombo houses divided against itself, fell in 1979 and the builder had to wait for over twenty years to put it back in 2001.”[1] Are these NPP’s [mis]fortunes before Bawumia- the first UP non-Akan leader?

INTRODUCTION

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia made a strong case and repute for himself when he mounted the witness box at the Supreme Court of Ghana in his party’s legal bid to unseat the president-elect John Dramani Mahama on allegation of the 2012 presidential election fraud and irregularities. He was nearly killed in a car accident at the time John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, was seeking the support of president-elect, in his bid to become WTO boss. What many are puzzling are: what if Kyerematen- a former Minister of Trade, Industry and Presidential Special Initiatives, had triumphed in his bid to become the next World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General, in which according to the Reuters News Agency, he was at the time in close-contest with candidates from Brazil - Roberto Azevedo, Taeho Bark of South Korea, Herminio Blanco from Mexico, Mari Pangestu of Indonesia and not least, Tim Groser of New Zealand?

COMMENTARY

On Friday, 31st of August 2014; Special Electoral College of the main opposition NPP will be confronted with a historical continuity or a reform. If our projections were to be true, the contest shall remain with the known faces of Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyerematen. If Alan wins, then obviously, it might represent a generational leadership change that shall require some political ground-breaking and diplomatic patchwork aimed at healing wounds and fractures. A landslide success for Nana Addo, might herald not only a crucial political rematch over “disputed crown”, introspection and consciousness but also, NPP’s reoccurring succession disputes and political future of Bawumia.

Beaming like one of the unblemished contemporary political Elijahs in Ghana who seems to have even succeeded in pinning one of his once bitter critics- the former Member of Parliament for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa Constituency- Paul Collins Appiah-Ofori, on his political apron, I’m tempted to conclude that politically, Bawumia is well positioned. No wonder, he has become a political bargaining-chip in NPP’s leadership apolitriks. As to how Bawumia- an economist and banker, and perhaps, with fainted foot-prints on the ideological tracks of Grant-Danquah-Busia-Dombo traditions, travailed from the end-tail of UP electoral struggles to the forefront of NPP politicking, baffles many minds.

Born on 07 October 1963 to the Convention People’s Party (CPP) politician- Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia [Chairman of Council of State (1992-2000)] in Tamale, critics like PC Appiah-Ofori, had had doubts as to whether the former Deputy-Governor of the Central Bank of Ghana, was ideologically, fit enough to become a vice-president in an NPP-led government in the Republic. Bawumia is the 12th of his father’s 18 children and the second of his mother’s [Hajia Mariama] five. With this big family, it is speculated that majority of them lean on the NDC rather than on NPP.

Yet Africa Watch, alleges in one of its articles that , Nana Akufo-Addo and his Akyem sympathizers, view Bawumia as someone who could succeed him after his tenure if he became President, and that the continuity would serve well to frustrate his main political rival- Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen?s dream of becoming President of Ghana any where soon [2]. More recently, the Daily Guide quoted Nana Akufo-Addo as saying: “By God’s willing if everything goes well for me, I’m very prepared to keep that team again for the 2016 elections.” Nana Akufo-Addo said this during an interview on Tamale-based Justice FM, after he was given a rousing welcome to the Northern regional capital [3]. But from Ghanaian mindset, many are of the opinion that it cannot be fathomed how soon after John Mahama, Nana Addo, if successful as president, could groom a “Northerner” as an NPP presidential candidate.

Although we are all born different and could accordingly, not be tied up to perpetuity, the ideologies or political leanings of our parents or relatives, others make a comparative reference to presidential competences of Dr Hilla Limann and John Mahama. I construe this as weak political misconceptions without linkage to Bawumia’s political future. Yet you might agree that the August Referendum is not to test the popularity of Nana Akufo-Addo within the rank and file of the NPP and to the larger extent, to evaluate his reasons for the 2012 presidential election petition but Bawumia- the unrivalled NPP “Star Witness”- who coined the term- “You and I were not there”, at the televised hearing at the Supreme Court of Ghana, that sprang him to political prominence within the teeming NPP presidential hopefuls?

By all political calculations, it could be predicted that this might be Nana Akufo-Addo’s final bid at the NPP flagbearership and the presidency, and if per adventure, he fails at the NPP primaries then that could be the end of Bawumia. So many are puzzled why Bawumia had failed to present himself like many others. As at the time of going to press, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, John Alan Kyerematen; Joe Ghartey- all of them, ministers of state under President Kufuor’s government, not forgetting Francis Addai-Nimoh- the MP for Mampong and MP for Asuogyaman- Kofi Osei Ameyaw have filed to lead NPP. But like Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia, who became Prime Minister after Okatakyie Akwasi Amankwa-Afrifa, of the National Liberation Council (NLC), Bawumia, who now walks under the shadows of Nana Akufo-Addo, is deemed as the NPP’s crown prince after Nana Addo.

As the Deputy Governor in charge of financial stability in Ghana, Bawumia- a product of Sakasaka Primary school and Tamale Secondary School is said to have successfully maintained oversight over the soundness of the Ghanaian banking sector. The New Statesmanonline report[4] that Bawumia, was instrumental in the opening up of the banking sector to competition, resulting in the increase in the availability of credit to the private sector from 12.5% of GDP in 2001 to 28.5% of GDP in 2008. “Dr Bawumia also led Bank of Ghana’s technical negotiation team with the World Bank and IMF that successfully ended Ghana’s dependence on IMF assistance, allowing Ghana to pursue more independent policies. Dr Bawumia was responsible for drafting the financial sector component of the Millennium Challenge Account Compact which resulted in $547 million worth of projects for Ghana.” [4]

After graduating from Tamale Secondary School, Bawumia went to the United Kingdom where he studied banking and obtained the Chartered Institute of Bankers Diploma (ACIB). He took a First Class Honours Degree in Economics at Buckingham University in 1987. He then obtained a Master’s Degree in Economics at Lincoln College, Oxford, and obtained a Ph.D. in Economics at the Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1995. His areas of specialization include Macroeconomics, International Economics, Development Economics and Monetary Policy. He is credited with numerous publications. He was also responsible for the strategy for accessing the international capital markets with a debut $750 million dollars, which was four times oversubscribed. [4]

From 1988 to 1990, Bawumia worked as a lecturer in Monetary Economics, and International Finance at the Emile Woolf College of Accountancy in London, UK. He also served as an economist at the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, USA. Between 1996 and 2000, and as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University, Texas, USA, where he also received the Young Researcher Award in 1998. Bawumia was listed in "Who is Who Among America’s Teachers' in 1999. He returned to Ghana in 2000 to work as an economist at the Bank of Ghana and rose from Senior Economist to Head of Department, and subsequently as Special Assistant to the Governor of the Bank. According to unconfirmed reports President Kufuor, discovered young Dr Bawumia in one of his conferences where Bawumia spoke. He appointed him as a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana in June 2006 at the prime age of 42.

But there seems to be contestations and doubts within the NPP family as to whether or not the continuous vice-presidential domination of the better-half of Samira Bawumia- a product GIMPA and BA Social Science in Law and Sociology at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), not forgetting Mfantsiman Secondary School, is attracting any floating-voters from his native Kpasenkpe, in the West Mamprusi District, Upper West Region and the northern regions perceived to be NDC strongholds. Although Akufo-Addo/Bawumia lost the 2012 presidential elections to incumbent John Mahama, NPP managed to hold on to ten (10) seats in the Northern Region which includes Yendi, Walewale, Yagaba– Kubore, Bunkpurugu, Bimbilla, Chereponi, Kpandai, Tatale– Sanguli, Tolon and Zabzugu, not forgetting Nabdam and Talensi Constituencies in the Upper East Region.

So politically, Bawumia could also be a force to be reckoned with in NPP’s strategic thinking. In the words of New Statesman [4], Bawumia was part of the team that designed and implemented the successful redenomination of the cedi which has been hailed globally, and played a key role in the design and implementation of the e-zwich common platform for all banks, savings and loans companies and rural banks. “More recently, with the African Development Bank, he has played a leading role in helping Zimbabwe to re-engage with the international community. He is married to Samira and they have three children,” the report adds. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, had been a presidential running mate to the NPP and for this matter Nana Akufo-Addo, since 2008. It appears that this might remain so in 2016.

With the current NPP’s Expanded National Delegates’ Congress pegged at some over 13,000 eligible voters, notwithstanding the overwhelming grassroots and official endorsement and the solidarity being accorded to the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia combined forces, political observers are prophesying a landslide victory for Nana Addo, on the 31st August Referendum, which is to be decided by some 800 kingmakers. If this comes to pass, it might raise a strong signal to the potential candidates to the 18th October Leadership Roll Call. In the 2010 primaries, Alan and Nana garnered some 90% of the total valid votes cast in a conservative proportion of 20 and 70. But Ben Ephson- the Managing Editor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper and the seemingly Akyem-Asante political and ethnic enthusiast, projects that with the recent open declaration of support for Nana Addo which he describes as an unfair advantage over his competitors, Ben foresees Nana Addo leading disjointed NPP if he were to win the impending race.

This could be true if Nana Addo fails to break his 2010 standard record that he has set for himself. Yet a win by any of the aspirants might also project a similar outcome, reasoning that many supporters of Nana/Bawumia who perceive Nana Addo as the winner of the 2012 presidential election and for that matter a challenge to his comeback as a ploy to deny him the same, might also run away with their ball. With the mammoth support and endorsements not being heavily valued by his opponents, who could also penetrate into the mind of Akufo-Addo/Bawumia, on his next line of action if the perceptions out there were to confirm that some NPP National Executives are not ready for political power in 2016 but in 2020? It must be noted that the Ghana Congress Party founded in May 1952 and which forms part of NPP’s history, was bedevilled with a leadership struggle between Nii Amaah Ollennu and Dr. J.B. Danquah.[6]

The National Reconciliation Commission notes that, Ollennu eventually left politics and joined the bench and the struggle continued with Dr. K.A. Busia and Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey. “Eventually the party broke up into two when Obetsebi-Lamptey broke away and formed the Nationalist Party. This break greatly reduced the strength of the GCP. In the 1954 elections Dr Busia was the only one to win a seat on the ticket of the GCP. The Nationalist Party achieved little prominence as it never really attracted a following outside Accra.” I mention in passing that it was Chief Simon Diedong Dombo’s Northern Peoples’ Party (NPP) formed in 1954 that saved the face of the UP tradition with some 12 seats in the 1954 elections. The Dr Busia-led Ghana Congress Party, notwithstanding its support from the UGCC, which was disbanded after a poor performance in the 1951 elections, not forgetting the conservative chiefs and the teeming intelligentsia, contested the 1954 election, winning only one out of 104 seats. [6]

The analogy here is that the NPP had had not only a scary historical precedent on its electoral score sheet but also, succession resolutions- the most recent one being 2007 where a navigational compromise eluded the 17 captains on a floating political ship. For all those who are worried about some of the causes of the emergence of one-party state of the 1960s; NPP needs your counsel on its chronic succession ailments and more recently, the nearly bloodbath described by Ex-President Kufuor as “alien, untraditional and thuggery”, at its National Headquarters, in Accra. “I call for calm from all who feel aggrieved in one way or the other…while we accord the national executive the necessary freedom and space to operate. “We should all return to the true tenets of the party which encourage frank exchange of views and accommodation of one another in healthy debate free from intimidation or fear,” Kufuor, who states those responsible for the melee, cannot claim to be true members of the NPP, had said. [7]

But how long could NPP continue to disown its self-inflictions? A careful study of a statement issued by Nana Akufo-Addo, might help uncover the seemingly Kufuor-Akufo-Addo political diplomacy: "I want to appeal to all NPP supporters and officials to remain calm and focused, and desist from actions that might undermine the unity of the party and compromise our chances for success in 2016. We are all members of one family and we should find a way to deal with our issues in a satisfactory manner. "I urge all NPP members to promote the things that bring us together and eschew those that seek to divide us. We must, always, be guided and guarded constantly by an uncompromising sense of unity, fellowship and greater purpose." Whereas Kufuor talks of “healthy debate free from intimidation or fear”, Akufo-Addo highlights on “actions that undermine unity and compromise NPP’s 2016 chances”. [8]

THESIS

In Economics, Bawumia states if you play propaganda with the economy, interest rate will expose you or “market forces shall rise up against you where the sampling baskets are missing?” Bawumia puzzled the Law Lords at the Supreme Court of Ghana on whether mathematically, a blank column on a pink-sheet or one with entry zero (0), could have the same meaning. He is indeed wealthy of honorary degree in jurisprudence- in relation to his definition for over-voting which prompted EC- Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan’s celebrated classical definition of the same. What then, could be predicted of the political future of Bawumia after Nana Addo? The answer might lie with NPP’s ancient history and modern practices.

Asante Fordjour authored this Compilation and Commentary

JusticeGhana

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References

Available On Request
Columnist: Fordjour, Asante