Who will Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah, Ghana’s “King Maker” endorse for 2012 polls?
The woman, who could hold the key to success in Ghana’s presidential elections in 2012, Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah, daughter of late President Nkrumah, is remaining tight-lipped over which candidate she will give her backing to.
Meanwhile in the opposition New Patriotic Party, the war of words between Nana Akuffo Addo and Alan Kwadow Kyeremanten has stepped up a gear since beginning of the month.
Nana Akuffo Addo, like Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah (the daughter of an ex-president), comes from one of the handful of families that have dominated Ghana politics for generations. His father, late President Edward Akuffo Addo stood beside Samia’s father, late President Dr Kwame Nkrumah during the struggle for independence.
Bar a miracle, NPP’s 2008 Presidential candidate Nana Akuffo Addo would be elected as his party’s nominee for the presidential election, setting up a likely showdown in 2012 with his long time political rival and friend, current President John Mills.
Nana Akuffo Addo is re-launching his candidacy as he emerges from accusations of packing the NPP Electoral College with his supporters.
Nana Akuffo Addo, 65, and the party’s national chairman, Jake Lamptey, denies any wrong doing.
The conservative Nana Addo and the social liberal John Mills have dominated Ghanaian political news since the early 2000s, sometimes battling one another and sometimes forming agreements that have protected their positions as party leaders.
Nana Akuffo Addo and President Atta Mills have both managed to maintain control of their parties, with great success while maneuvering to keep would-be challengers off ballot.
Though Nana Addo has not officially become the candidate of his New Patriotic Party, he is widely expected to be elected as NPP nominee with a huge majority. Both Nana and President Mills are well marketed, are honest politicians and beyond reproach. While the media were openly critical of former NPP ministers by the time they left office, alleging widespread corruption, no one can say that of Nana Akuffo Addo.
In December 2008 presidential elections Ghana’s Electoral Commission refused to declare a winner after 229 out of 230 constituencies were counted and had to re-run one constituency in early January, which Mills won on 50.13 of the total vote versus 49.87 percent for Nana Akuffo Addo of NPP.
Current opinion polls indicate that there is a close call between President Mills and his most likely challenger, former Foreign Minister and current leading candidate of NPP Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo.
The endorsement of the Nkrumaists’matriarch, Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah would determine who Ghana’s next President in 2012. Already, Ms Nkrumah has ruled herself out of the 2012 race, stating that she needs to rebuild her late father’s party and position it as Ghana’s party of choice for 2016.
In the 2008 elections majority of the Nkrumaists groupings threw their support behind John Atta Mills and he was duly elected.
Samia hasn’t indicated who she will endorse. When she was interviewed by the world press early this year she said she will remain neutral in the race and rather concentrate on helping the rural and urban poor folks, including the slum dwellers, those she often referred to as “my constituents”.
The influential syndicated voice media, led by Adom FM and its affiliates is not endorsing any candidate in the 2012 elections. The group said, with Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah ruling herself out, they’ve decided not to push for any special candidate so that voters freedom to choose would not be impeded. One presenter at Adom FM has urged voters, come 2012 to make the right decision in choosing a candidate.
On a recent visit to her home region, Western Region, Samia Nkrumah said “God has given each one of us the power of choice and we shall use this to elect the right candidate”. The Nkrumaists matriarch said her supporters are free to choose their candidates since she does not impose her personal choice on them.
In another sign of growing momentum for Samia (although she is not contesting the presidential elections in 2012) Nkrumaists candidates for parliamentary elections are calling on her to endorse them.
One leading commentator said, “Samia Yaba Nkrumah is exactly the kind of a strong leader we want to contest the 2012 elections. We can trust Samia to stand up and defend our country and promote clear development agenda. Samia has proven we can trust her to stand strong on her principles regardless of Nkrumaists being the third party”.
On the Nkrumaists unity debate, one PNC leading member said, “I am proud to stand with Samia Yaba and I urge all true Nkrumaists, regardless of who they have been supporting, to unite behind her”.
In a three way race, polls conducted across the country finds Samia winning with 45% of the vote compared to 30% for Mills and 25% for Nana Akuffo Addo. The difficulty for Mills and Akuffo Addo is the impact of Samia effect on their support.
Samia Yaba Nkrumah is playing on her reputation for honesty, contrasting herself with past leaders whose administrations were beset with corruption and nepotism scandals.
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