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Give Akuffo Addo a fourth chance in the 2020 election

Give Akuffo Addo a fourth chance in the 2020 election

Mon, 16 Mar 2015 Source: Nyamekye, Kwabena

Despite all the corruption in the NDC administration, its failure to solve our energy crises, and increasingly hard times, nothing I sense at this time suggests to me that the Ghanaian voter is yearning to have Nana Addo as president. In 2008, with an excellent track record of economic stability and growth, and with original welfare policies, Nana Addo still lost the 2008 presidential election, in the process throwing away 4 swing regions and a big parliamentary majority. Since then the NPP has done everything to indulge his wish of becoming president. We have amended the party constitution to suit his wishes, we have had an early congress, and yet still we continue to sink into despair as he leaks votes and seats across Ghana and even more importantly he does this in our 2 main strongholds of Asante and Eastern regions. We have even chosen him for a third attempt, thus absolving him of any blame for the alleged rigging of 2012. Today the NDC, after getting a 30% increase in votes in Ashanti in the 2012 election, has the audacity to tell the world that it will win 1 million votes there. I am not surprised since the NPP under Nana Addo continues to fall out of favour with voters in that region. Moreover, for all its incompetence, the NDC is organized at the grassroots. Thus I ask myself if they have carried out surveys that make them state this with confidence? Your answer is as good as mine. But to get 1 million votes requires a 45% increase on what they have now. This is hard but not impossible and the way we are attacking the Asantehene, the fact that some voters in the Ashanti region are still aggrieved about the allegations members of Nana Addo’s camp have made about president Kufuor makes a 45% increase food for thought.

If, as I fear NPP loses again, what do we do? Some people say Dr Bawumia should lead. This is will not only deny us victory in 2020 but will ensure defeat for about another 4 elections. First, Bawumia will have gone in as a running mate on 4 instances and all 4 will have seen our slide in votes, regions and seats. To present him as president will make him probably the easiest meat for the NDC in its battles with us. He will be destroyed, spending all his time trying to explain why after 4 rejections he is now a different candidate for a higher post. Also he will be facing an NDC fresh face in 2020. Throw in the fact that his region is not even a swing region for us then my view is that unless NPP gets about 40% in the Northern region in2016, there is no dividend for Dr Bawumia as a candidate in 2020. Furthermore, what is of concern to me is that Nana Addo’s faction has set a precedent in the NPP and a dangerous one at that: once you get your hands on the nomination you can hold on for at least 3 attempts notwithstanding your performance. All you have to do is demonize your rivals and threaten that if you are not chosen your supporters will work against the NPP (no Nana no Vote!). A Bawumia candidacy means he can be in place until 2034, losing consistently yet not being able to be dislodged since he can get his supporters to scream “no Bawumia no Vote”.

So who does the party choose if it wants power in 2020? I am not so certain if Isaac Osei is young enough. He raised the issue of Nana’s age when Nana turned 70. In 2020 Isaac will be about 75. Same applies to Prof Frimpong-Boateng. I doubt if Alan Kyerematen can win the nomination. Nana Addo and his faction have ensured he is hated, blaming him for the 2008 defeat (this of course is nonsense as Alan played no role in organizing the beach parties and Lumba concerts that were part of the 2008 bungling and arrogant carnival-style campaign which ensured our defeat); Apraku is finished and will also be too old. Who in the younger generation is presidential enough with nation-wide recognition? Look at those who ran for flag bearer: Addai-Nimo will not fly as he dared to anger Nana Addo’s faction by challenging him for the leadership; Asamoah-Boateng and Joe Ghartey in my view just do not have the weight outside the party to be elected president in 2020. I say so because to this day I am yet to hear anyone say they can be our president.

So there is a quandary for 2020 and my solution is simple – give the nomination to Nana Addo again. Of course he will lose but there will be no worse injury done to his already bruised feelings. The advantage for us is that during this period we can build up a small pool of candidates to take over from Nana. They will be groomed to look and act like leaders and senior statesmen. Most probably when they throw their hats into the ring in 2024 the NDC will have burned itself out and Ghanaians will accept our candidate as someone who is electable. We should have replaced our flag bearer after 2012 (maybe even after the 2008 defeat). We did not do so and thus we have lost a generation of presidential candidates to Nana Addo’s ambition. We must suffer for this. Too much is riding on the energy crises for our victory. No condition is permanent and if NDC gives a semblance of dealing effectively with the problem then we are heading for a well-earned loss. To enable a true re-building, we need to ask Nana Addo to hold fort for the 2020 election after 2016, while we get an electable candidate for 2024.

Kwabena Nyamekye

Columnist: Nyamekye, Kwabena