Isaac Osei
Isaac Osei

Leaders must not be chosen based on tribe, religion — Isaac Osei

A former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Subin in the Ashanti Region, Isaac Osei, has described as ‘wrong and divisive,’ the thinking that promotes the practice in the country where the election of a presidential candidate or the selection of a running mate is based on their tribe or religious affiliation. 


He said while that might be ideal for politics, for the national psyche and cohesion, that was not the best.

“While for the purpose of real politicking it would be ideal for parties to seek a balance between the two major religions in the country, I do not think it is a big deal if a party has either two Christians or two Muslims on a ticket, “he said, adding that “though it is good to have regional balance, tribe should not be a factor in choosing a running mate. 

Mr Osei, who is also a former Presidential Candidate of the ruling NPP, was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Kumasi at the weekend. The 73-year-old former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, is one of four men and two ladies whose names are making the rounds as contenders for the position of running mate to NPP’s 2024 election flag bearer, Alhaji Dr Mahammadu Bawumia.

Ethnic stereotyping

Mr Osei, said rather than using it when it was convenient to sow seeds of divisiveness, politicians must at all times, use their influence in society to unite the country and inspire social cohesion.

He said Ghana had never had a problem with ethnicity as it was those diversities that made the country rich and unique, and that the problem was rather tribal stereotyping which sought to make one’s tribe as more superior to the other.

“Our problem, as a country, is not ethnicity, per se; our problem is ethnocentrism. Tribal stereotyping does not make sense. Nobody is intrinsically good or bad, wise or foolish because of where they come from. At any rate, nobody chooses where or to whom they must be born. Ethnocentrism must be fought till it has no place in our politics,” he said.

Running mate

Asked whether he was aware that his name had come up for consideration as the running mate to Dr Bawumia, Mr Osei said he was not; “neither have I eagerly looked forward to it.

“Though I would serve if I get appointed, I have never lobbied for a position. Rather, as I have done all my life, when I get appointed to any position, I give it my best shot. I thank my God that my businesses have gone well. I have served my country in various capacities and it has been up to my appointors to evaluate my performance,” he said.

He advised running mate aspirants to recognise that it was useless to suddenly start raising personal profiles, fawning or bootlicking just to be considered for that office, adding that it was not an office to be competed for by trying to catch the eye of the presidential candidate, engaging in eye-service or resorting to oft-discredited, underhand public relations gimmicks.

“That position is in the bosom of the presidential candidate, and he (the flag bearer) is looking for someone he can bond with, someone who can secure his back when he is not in the jurisdiction. It is, therefore, not a contest of popularity, not even competence, but a test of compatibility,” he said.

Citing examples within the NPP, he said, “as J. A. Kufuor brought in Aliu Mahama and Akufo Addo brought in Dr Bawumia, without contests, without campaigning, so should we allow Dr Bawumia to bring in his man or woman in whom he is well pleased,” Mr Osei stated.


Besides Ambassadorship to the UK, Mr Osei was Managing Director of the Ghana Cocoa Board during whose tenure Ghana put in measures that culminated in producing one million tonnes of cocoa for the first time.

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