Politics Tue, 31 Aug 2004

NDC Running Mate Saga

The search by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for a running mate for its presidential candidate for the December presidential election has taken an interesting turn with a new name popping up with perhaps the best outsider's chance.

The latest name to surface is that of the former Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Seidu Iddi.

Alhaji Iddi, in his early 50s, who served previously as deputy Regional Minister for Food and Agriculture in the PNDC era and later Volta Regional Minister, is an agriculturist and currently lectures at the University for Development Studies in Nyamkpala.

The Chronicle intelligence sources said this latest addition to the names already making the rounds, was to satisfy the northern and the Moslem factor. Alhaji Iddi is a Gonja from Bole, the same town as Mr. John Mahama who is one of the leading personalities under consideration for the position.

Recently, the demand of a section of supporters for the selection of a Moslem to partner Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills has complicated the NDC's search for a running mate.

Mr. Mahama, who appeared the most likely candidate, is not a Muslim and there is the fear that picking him might reduce NDC's strong support base amongst the Muslim community.

Prof. Mills is expected to announce his running mate after holding consultations with National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party today, August 30. Serious permutations and analysis are currently going on which have left the Prof in a dilemma as to who to pick.

Meanwhile, The Chronicle's inquiries at the Electoral Commission indicate that the filing of presidential and parliamentary nominations has been shifted from the middle of September to the end of September. This might give the NDC a breathing space to solve the dilemma of choosing a suitable presidential running mate.

Previously the names of Mr. Mahama, the party's director of communications, Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni, party parliamentary spokesman on constitutional and legal affairs and Mr. Baba Kamara, former deputy national treasurer, were said to be foremost in the mind of the flag bearer.

According to some party officials The Chronicle spoke to, most Northerners were solely behind Mr. Mahama and it did not matter whether he was a Muslim or not; the most important thing was that he hailed from the north.

The officials, who did not want to be identified, declared their unflinching support for Mr. Mahama and described him as "a young man with leadership skills who commands a lot of respect in society."

Meanwhile, Prof Mills is keeping his cards close to his chest. He had earlier been reported to be considering naming his running mate in August. This sparked some controversy in the party, as some top members preferred an earlier date.

Rumours about who will get the Professor's approval will, however, end sooner than later as the presidential aspirant gets ready to announce for everyone to know, who he wants to run with him.

Source: Chronicle