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Who will be the next New Patriotic Party Leader?

Sun, 1 Sep 2013 Source: Jeffrey, Peter

Following the Supreme Court judgement that reaffirms the December 2012 Presidential election results, this writer feels the 2016 Presidential elections, that is likely to be the current sitting president and NPP’s Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten, Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy or Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, will set the pace for a more vigorous campaign.

New Patriotic Party has only has a leader for the last five years and thus has had a limited change for leadership.

In most countries, leadership of a political party is a combination of several things. The most important aspect of leadership is one that provides focus for the party and its supporters nationwide.

A party leader is often labelled as the most powerful person within a political party. The anointed leader not only commands respect and loyalty of those within the party but also presents his or her alternative agenda to govern to the country. This person has the important role of also presenting party policy, including alternative strategies to voters and stake holders. As the NDC and NPP gear themselves up for the 2016 election battle, this writer will take a look at the likely candidates.

Late President Mills change the NDC strategy of traditionally having a concept of hierarchical leadership (under Rawlings) for the concept of grassroots leadership of Convention Peoples Party. Mills ensured internal governance and strategy is the role of the executive committee headed by the party’s secretary general – Johnson Aseidu Nketia. This was the same set up of Peoples National Party of late President Hilla Limman under the leadership of its secretary general, Dr Ivan Addai Mensah.

President John Mahama will be the candidate for the ruling NDC party for 2016. Because of his status in the party, his influence is no doubt vital for NDC to retain the presidency in 2016. President Mahama’s strong links to the Nkrumaist groups also matter. Mahama, having been the vice President under Mills for almost 3 and half years, has gained vital leadership qualities to lead both party and country for two terms.

Mahama’s likely challenger for the December 2016 presidential elections will either be Alan Kyerematen or Arthur Kobina Kennedy.

Dr Kobina Kennedy, against the current government, has been vocal and strategic in his moves. On merit, Kennedy is well qualified for NPP leadership role. A brilliant Physician and tireless worker, Kobina Kennedy became one of the leading voices for more inclusive membership of NPP, both in Ghana and in Diaspora, however on national stage, he remains to be seen as possessing leadership qualities. Kobina Kennedy’s quiet demeanour can be interpreted as passive – many in the party prefer a leader who is outspoken and confrontational on issues.

Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, popularly known as Alan Cash, is likely to be NPP’s party leader and presidential candidate for 2016. A lawyer and technocratic by profession, he has tremendous task of reviving the once vibrant New Patriotic Party. NPP has failed to heal the fragmented relationships it has carried through the last two elections. Internal rivalry and disputes has left the party in tatters.

Word on the street is that Alan has been groomed for the position of party leader and presidential candidate by the former president, John Kuffuor. Like President Mahama, Alan is a product of prestigious Achimota College, can count on support across the country. Alan’s candidacy is supposed to be the work of those who have been tirelessly supported the party since the early 1990s. Like John Mahama and Kobina Kennedy, Alan Kyerematen is a hard worker and comments a lot of respect within his party and country wide and again like Mahama, Bawumia and Kennedy, he is also one of the new generations (post independence) of leaders of Ghana. However, having lost twice to the departing leader, Nana Akuffo Addo, there are voices within the party calling for a new leader to provide a new strategic direction for the party. After losing two elections and a landmark court case, many in the party feels like they are, to some degree, stagnating. These dissenting voices who support the candidacy of Dr Bawumia, are saying that, picking the right leader might prove the key to winning the presidency in 2016.

Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, is a former Governor of Bank of Ghana and twice the running mate of the departing leader, Nana Akuffo Addo. Like Kyerematen and Kennedy, Bawumia is well qualified for the party leadership.

Bawumia, the presumed front-runner, is well-liked by pretty much everybody in the party. The leadership role would give Bawumia an added national profile, which would to the advantage of the party. Coming from the North as the current president, he is likely to offer quiet strong ideas about how to eradicate poverty in the country. Since he was parachuted on to the national stage, Bawumia always struck this writer as being focused primarily on doing the job well. Many in the party see the former Bank of Ghana Governor and academic as a good choice.

Columnist: Jeffrey, Peter

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