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Opinions Thu, 31 Jan 2019

Nana Addo-Mahama: The battle against a one-term presidency

The New Patriotic Party’s best shot in the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections is His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, and the best shot for the National Democratic Congress is His Excellency former President John Dramani Mahama.

Presently, these two, are Ghana’s best shots. These two, are the ones the masses will fight for any time, any day, anywhere. These two, are the ones the citizens will form long queues in the scorching sun to vote for, and most will do so on empty stomachs, and will only eat after the declaration of electoral results. These two, party fanatics will be willing to shed their blood (hopefully not literally) for in exchange for power.

?On December 7, 2020, in rural and urban communities in Ghana specifically, on the continent of Africa, and the world over, among literates and illiterates, young and old, rich and poor, these two; Nana Akufo-Addo and John Mahama will be the topic for discussion from dawn to dusk.?

Looking through both parties, it is extremely difficult, seemingly impossible for anyone to beat these candidates in any current or future elections in their respective political parties.

The debate is on who wins in the 2020 elections? Who rules for two terms? And who rules for one term? Who is going to be permanently tagged “one-term president”? Who becomes the laughing stock after the 2020 presidential election? Who sets the record neither of the two is willing to set?

Then-president John Mahama beat the then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in the 2012 elections and ruled for one term which expired after 4 years. The table turned and then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo beat then president John Mahama in the 2016 elections. NADAA went into 2016 elections as candidate, JM went as incumbent president, JM will go into 2020 as candidate, NADAA will go into it as incumbent president. Interesting!

Going into the 2020 elections is a rematch for NADAA and JM sorts of. Both would have ruled for one term. Their next encounter determines and decides who the real winner is. It will be a fierce electoral battle between the duo. It’s going to be unarguably one of the best electoral moments in the history of Ghana’s 4th Republic.

It is early days yet to predict the outcome but it will be hard for the NPP to retain power and harder for the NDC to recapture power. JM knows this, NADAA knows this. It looks more difficult for JM than it looks for NADAA. Political gurus know this, only babes will argue. However, until after election results are declared, no one can speak authoritatively and conclusively.

Whatever the past Mills – John Mahama NDC government did to retain power in 2012, and whatever the then Kufour – Aliu Mahama NPP government did to retain power in 2004, and whatever the then Rawlings – Kow Arkaah NDC government did to retain power in 1996, the current Akufo-Addo – Bawumia NPP government will likely do same. The outcome of the 2020 elections however will be dependent on the remaining two years ahead of us.



I was alarmed when I came across the ages of some current African Presidents.

Beji Caid Essebsi 92, Tunisia; Paul Biya 86, Cameroon; Allasane Ouattara 77, Ivory Coast; Muhammadu Buhari 76, Nigeria; Emmerson Mnangagwa 76, Zimbabwe; Boubacar Keïta 74, Mali; Akufo-Addo 74, Ghana; Cyril Ramaphosa 67, South Africa; Abdel Fattah El-Sisi 65, Egypt; Paul Kagame 62, Rwanda.

African Presidents are too old? Then I proceeded to check the ages of some current presidents elsewhere.

Reuven Rivlin 80, Israel; Tabaré Vázquez 79, Uruguay; Sheikh Khalifa 78, UAE; Sergio Mattarella 77, Italy; Ram Nath Kovind 73, India; Donald Trump 72, USA; Jaroslav Kubera 72, Czech Republic; Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa 70, Portugal; Ueli Maurer 68, Switzerland.

Other mention can be made of Greece’s Prokopis Pavlopoulos 68, Russia’s Vladimir Putin 66, Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier 63, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro 63, and UK’s Prime Minister Theresa Mary 62.

These are just a few examples, who are highly likely to contest in the next elections. And I observed that many world leaders are actually old, very old folks! And I realized HE Akufo-Addo was not too old as many people would want to make us believe when he won his first term at 72 years as the 5th President in Ghana’s 4th Republic.

I now fully understand the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan of blessed memory. I now fully comprehend what the greatest, illustrious, selfless, most respected African to have walked the earth surface was preaching in his last days on earth.

I now understand that he was not only addressing Africans with his preaching that people should elect younger individuals as presidents. It’s not an African problem, it’s a global one. Sadly, we are not close to fighting it now or any time soon, maybe later.

And then John Dramani Mahama too came to mind. There was a quick flash in my mind’s eye like a flash of lightning preceding thunder strike on the unusual rainy-sunny stormy day. And then, there came a full blown flashback of how things unfolded in the very recent past.

Permit me to take you back into the recent past on a brief history of the presidents of Ghana’s 4th Republic.

John Agyekum Kufour became Ghana’s president at 62 in 2001, won his second term bid at 66 in 2005, and left power at the age of 70 in 2008. John Evans Atta Mills of blessed memory won power at 64 in 2009, was preparing for his second term bid at 68 in 2012, when death laid its icy hands on him. May he find eternal rest!

After having had military ruling for 11 years plus exhausting his constitutionally allowed 8 years in office as Ghana’s president, John Rawlings is on record to have said he wished to become Ghana’s president again. He ruled Ghana for 19 years, from 1981 to 2000. He said this in 2018, 18 years after handing over power, at the time when he was above age 70.

If 19 years uninterrupted ruling as president did not satisfy Jerry John Rawlings, what makes you think 4 years reign as president will satisfy John Dramani Mahama? If at 70 years, John Rawlings wanted to come back as president after handing over power some 18 years back, what makes you think that at a much lesser age of 66 years, John Mahama will wish otherwise after handing over power only 8 years back?

If John Kuffour contested and won his second term bid in 2004, at the age of 66, what makes you think John Mahama will be too old and weak to contest the presidential elections in 2024, at age 66, should he lose the 2020 elections?

If President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo won his first term at age 72 and he’s ready to contest again at 76 in 2020, what makes you think John Mahama is not fit and does not qualify to contest in 2024 at 66 years should he lose the 2020 elections?



The biggest mistake NADAA will make in his political career is to refuse to contest the presidential elections in 2020. He will be intentionally handing over power back to the NDC. And the biggest mistake JM will make in his political career is to refuse to contest the 2024 presidential elections should he lose in 2020.

It’s a public secret that Alan Kyeremanteng, the Minister for Trade and Industry in the Akufo-Addo government stands the greatest of chances of becoming the NPP flagbearer in 2024 and beyond. Even two weeks old embryo in the womb of an Ashanti woman knows this. Unless the unexpected happens. And he will contest not once, maybe, not twice granted he’s medically fit.

Rawlings’ vice president Atta Mills became an elected president, Mills’ vice president John Mahama became an elected president. Kufour’s vice president Aliu Mahama of blessed memory contested in the NPP presidential primaries when Kufour’s regime was about ending. It is only fair, honorable and reasonably good for a vice to want to be main when his boss’ reign expires.

Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia appears to have already lost some credibility in the eyes of Ghanaians and that does not augur too well for his presidential ambitions if indeed he wants to take over the steering wheel from his boss HE NADAA. It’s good he creates his own path and makes his own history and the best, honorable way to do that will be for him not to contest in any NPP presidential primaries.

Alan Kyeremanteng who is affectionately called Alan Cash by many, is a solid, strong contender. The NDC must not play or joke with him else they will experience a nightmare. With all his influence and integrity coupled with many promises, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo still needed the endorsement of Alan Cash to become president.

If you doubt, ask about an internally strong group within the NPP called GAKE (Get Alan Kyeremanteng Endorsed) and find out what its members do. Sometimes, politics can be murky and dirty.

Granted the NPP loses or wins in 2020 – whichever way – in good health, Alan Cash will be the NPP’s flagbearer in their future elections, unless the unexpected happens. Granted the NDC loses in the 2020 presidential elections, in good health, which of these personalities stands the greatest of chances to win them power in 2024?

Alban Bagbin, Professor Joshua Alabi, Dr. Ekwow Spio Gabrah or John Mahama – Your honest unbiased guess is as good as mine.

Truth is hard to tell especially in our part of the world. Worst of it all, in political discourses. NADAA and JM are of their own class. And the others mentioned above are also of their own class. I respect their individual achievements. But they don’t belong to the NADAA – JM class.

It appears none of these individuals will be able to defeat NADAA or JM on any day.

Should the 66-year-old JM decide to contest in 2024, who will defeat him? Will it be the 71-year-old Ekwow Spio Gabrah? Or the 67-year-old Alban Bagbin? Or the 66-year-old Joshua Alabi? – among these folks, JM is still the youngest! The Professor is older than him in months.

Should the NDC present the 66-year-old JM in 2024, will the NPP’s 69-year-old Alan Cash be able to defeat him?

Columnist: Edward Aloryito