The battle to succeed Akufo-Addo

BY: Mr Kobby Asmah — Editor, Daily Graphic

Though, per its constitution, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) still has nearly three years to go before the party decides who wears the flag bearer crown, it appears the battle to succeed President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has long started and an interested contender will have himself or herself to blame when he or she fails to dance to the tune.

With the 2020 polls over, it is not surprising to see some political stalwarts showing interest to contest the 2024 presidential candidacy of the NPP.

More recently and quite intriguing, attention is gradually shifting to the 2024 elections and what possible outcomes they may bring to the NPP. This is because, interested party stalwarts, are tactically positioning themselves to win the flagbearership race of the party in 2024.

Similar moves and interest are also taking place within the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and it is another growing development worth observing.

Political watchers

In view of these developments, many political watchers are keenly watching how the political parties will navigate through this delicate process to remain relevant and united to contest Election 2024.

When one considers the fact that President Akufo-Addo will end his constitutional tenure of office in 2024, it should not surprise any political watcher to see some presidential campaign posters already out in the public domain. This is also giving an impression that many interested contenders are tactfully lacing their boots to contest the race.

17 candidates

A similar development happened in 2008 when the NPP went to the congress with 17 presidential aspirants. They were Nana Akufo-Addo, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, Alhaji Aliu Mahama (then Vice-President), Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Dan Botwe, Papa Owusu Ankomah and Hackman Owusu-Agyeman.

Others were Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, Prof. Mike Aaron Oquaye, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Boakye Agyarko, Felix Owusu Adjapong, Kwabena Agyepong, Barfuor Agyei-Barwuah and Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy.

2024 NPP slot

Today, within the NPP, interesting names such as Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice-President; Mr Alan Kyerematen, Trade Minister; Mr Boakye Agyarko, former Energy Minister; Mr Joe Ghartey, former Railways Minister; Mr Dan Botwe, Local Government Minister; Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, a former Campaign Manager of President Akufo-Addo, and more recently Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Agric Minister, are all out there in the public space as likely contenders for the NPP flagbearership slot.

Though they or their assigns have denied any knowledge of any presidential intention or why some of them have their posters in the public domain, the development is raising some brouhaha within the NPP circles, with some saying the timing is so wrong and others insisting that the early bird catches the worm.

Journey to 2024

Unfortunately, it appears the journey to 2024 will not come easy for any of the two leading political forces, (NPP and NDC) in particular and if the process is not managed carefully, it could dearly cost their fortunes.

With the outcomes of Election 2020 in mind, a hung parliament with 137 representatives each and the election of six- time Member of Parliament for the Nadoli Constituency, Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin of the NDC, to the high office of Speaker of the Eighth Parliament, it will be very difficult to easily comprehend the outcomes of the 2024 election.

As a result, one of the critical challenges that both the NPP and the NDC will face is the race to select the presidential candidate for Election 2024.

The question to ask the NPP is whether this is the best time to consider who replaces President Akufo-Addo who is currently in his third month of his second four-year rule. The question becomes even more necessary considering the fact that some of his ministers were recently approved by Parliament to take office.

Interested contenders

I seriously do not mind interested contenders discussing their presidential ambitions as and when it becomes opportune within the party, but it will be so wrong to initiate vigorous campaigns prematurely and ultimately erode the development agenda of the ruling government as well as undermine the well-being of the party.

My view is that the NPP in particular must quickly come up with regulations to, among others, deter interested contenders from openly campaigning and engaging in political discussions on the matter on the various airwaves.

Yes for certainty, the NPP at this stage cannot tickle itself and laugh. By all means there will be expressions of presidential interest by some aspirants. But there must be decency, appropriatenesss and a lot of wisdom to guide the process.

Writer’s email: [email protected]