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Kyerematen Can Defeat Mahama in 2016

Tue, 3 Sep 2013 Source: Pryce, Daniel K.

Ambition and courage are stellar qualities that propel visionaries to pursue “diadems” that may be beyond the reach of mere mortals, but ambition and courage ought to be amalgamated with sound judgment to reach decisions that are far-reaching, constructive, and prudent. Alan Kyerematen is a brilliant man. Alan Kyerematen is a visionary. Alan Kyerematen is made of sturdier stuff. Alan Kyerematen will make an effective president, which is why I call on him to announce immediately his candidacy for president in 2016, via the platform of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The Atuguba-superintended panel of justices of the nation’s highest court has just thrown out the conflated post-Election 2012 lawsuit filed by the NPP, so nothing should prevent Alan Kyerematen from declaring his intentions to seek the Ghanaian presidency. Moreover, Kyerematen’s announcing his intentions early will impel his party’s bigwigs to coalesce around him and prevent the party from the drudgery of having too many presidential contestants, who, like incubuses, would have little to offer but plenty to take away from the party’s need to present a unified front early in what will be a tough test in December 2016.

This writer did not frown upon the pivotal decision of the bigwigs in the NPP to contest the results of Election 2012; after all, if there were irregularities during the voting process, then Ghanaians had a right to know exactly what happened. Indeed, had the NPP bigwigs done nothing in the aftermath of Election 2012, it would have amounted to a peccant dereliction of duty to party devotees. The time has come for the NPP to move on, however, and the best way for the party to prepare for Election 2016 is to select its flag-bearer early to prevent fissures from developing within the upper echelons of the party.

Now to the nub of my article: the need for the NPP to turn to more popular, progressive candidates for future presidential contests. Fitting this bill of popularity and progressiveness is Alan Kyerematen, who probably has a better chance of defeating John Mahama in 2016 than any other NPP presidential material. In fact, Kyerematen, in September 2007, had called upon the NPP to elect him flag-bearer of the party, but his plea went unheeded, which, perhaps, was a relevant decision at the time, as the more popular Nana Akufo-Addo would go on to win the party’s internal contest and become flag-bearer for Election 2008, a feat Akufo-Addo would repeat four years later. Things are different today, however, and Akufo-Addo’s advanced age and recent health scare are two compelling reasons why he needs to both retire from active politics and encourage younger, more popular, less confrontational leaders to seek to lead the NPP to battle in 2016 and beyond.

With the results of Election 2012 upheld on August 29, 2013, by the Ghana Supreme Court, it would be in the best interest of the NPP to support Alan Kyerematen for president in 2016. In reality, Kyerematen’s appetite for the Ghanaian presidency was whetted by his inability to get the World Trade Organization’s top job that President John Mahama had ardently lobbied for on behalf of his ideological nemesis and likely political adversary, which means that the John Kufuor protégé will devote his undivided attention to a presidential run, if he receives strong support from the NPP’s bigwigs.

Dr. Bawumia may have served as Nana Akufo-Addo’s lieutenant in both Election 2008 and Election 2012, but I am certain that he is not the preferred choice of the NPP’s bigwigs to lead the party in 2016. I have argued elsewhere that Bawumia’s greatest mistake was his decision to leave the country shortly after the NPP’s unsuccessful attempt to win Election 2008, only to return shortly before Election 2012, which exposed him as a cunning opportunist. The fact that Bawumia did not remain in the trenches with Akufo-Addo post-Election 2008, when the party went through a rebuilding process, makes him the wrong man to lead the NPP in Election 2016. Pit Bawumia against Mahama and the latter would be re-elected with minimal effort.

The brouhaha that engulfed Election 2012 was due to the weaknesses in Ghana’s electoral laws, so our legislators must act to close the gaps before the next presidential election takes place in December 2016. Our legislators must address the NPP’s post-Election 2012 concerns, which should lead to comprehensive reforms in Ghana’s electoral practices. The government must also put in place measures to reform the Ghana Electoral Commission, beginning with the appointment of a new chairperson no later than December 2014, to give the new head of the commission enough time to learn from Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and his experienced lieutenants.

I suspect that John Mahama’s affirmation as the nation’s lawfully elected president by the highest court in the land would only strengthen his political pillars in many Ghanaian communities, which is why the NPP must begin its 2016 campaign for the Flagstaff House immediately. The Mahama administration has done very little for the country, despite having at its disposal several revenue sources: oil, gold, cocoa, timber, and bauxite. Ghanaians are yearning for a true leader, in the mold of Kwame Nkrumah, who will put nation first, fight corruption with every unit of energy in his body, and work selflessly to sustain the nation’s peace and tranquility. John Mahama is yet to show that he has the qualities of such a leader, which means that a Kyerematen run for the presidency should give hope to the nation’s largest opposition party that it has the right man to send Mahama into early retirement in December 2016.

Unless the Mahama administration begins to plough the fields of the Ghanaian economy immediately, with the eventual goal of reaping the crops of development, it risks becoming the most hyped, yet least accomplished administration in the annals of the nation. Presently, arsonists are having a field day, armed robbers remain a constant source of terror, politicians continue to pilfer our meager resources, and the economy is teetering on the verge of irreparable collapse. Many talented Ghanaians remain on the fringes of the economy, simply because they identify with the wrong political party. If Ghana is to achieve middle-income status by 2030, politicians must make a concerted effort to nip cronyism and nepotism in the bud.

Not to digress, those naysayers who questioned the merit of the post-Election 2012 lawsuit, which, arguably, portrayed Nana Akudo-Addo and his lieutenants as fastidious, malevolent politicians determined to destroy the noted peace and tranquility Ghana has enjoyed since the advent of our Fourth-Republican democratic engagement, should now bow their heads in shame, as the specter of doom they predicted would engulf Ghana has not happened. Akufo-Addo, in fact, has distinguished himself in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling, placing a call to and congratulating the sitting president on his victory, a move that may have averted skirmishes around the country.

Ghanaians ought to thank Nana Akufo-Addo for displaying genuine statesmanship, which should place the former NPP presidential candidate in the pantheon of Ghana’s most accomplished men and women. Akufo-Addo’s display of grace and maturity on August 29, 2013, when he quickly accepted the Court’s verdict and urged all Ghanaians to rally behind John Mahama, may have prevented the transmogrification of Ghana’s sociopolitical vista. Never forget that, dear reader!

© All rights reserved. The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, can be reached at dpryce@cox.net. He may be followed on Twitter: @DanielKPryce. He invites the reader to join the pressure group “Good Governance in Ghana” on Facebook.com, which he superintends. “Good Governance in Ghana” is a group that emphasizes the preservation of democracy, justice, equity, and law and order in Ghana.

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.