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NPP ties its political fortunes to Akuffo Addo yet again


With his overwhelming nomination as the party’s presidential candidate, the NPP has once again tethered its political fortunes to Nana Akuffo Addo, a perennial election loser. Addo, who predictably bested his opponents including the pugnacious Alan Kyerematen in the party’s presidential primaries has vowed to defeat the “incompetent” President John Mahama”in 2016.

For now, the internal squabbles that threatened to weaken the party before the 2016 general elections have temporarily been set aside for the greater good. Chairman Paul Afoko and communications director, Kwabena Agyepong, have been forewarned to keep the peace or be sidelined. There is a revival of hope and a strong belief that electoral victory is within the party’s grasp.

But, electoral triumph for the NPP has been elusive in recent times, which explains why thechoice of Addo to once again lead the troops into battle is befuddling. It will be a bloody battle, no doubt, given the current administration’s resolve to retain power and its commitment to see its economic agenda through.

Addo’s nomination has once again revived arguments that the party is struggling with a narrow pool of presidential candidates, the likes of Kyerematen, Arthur Kennedy, and el al, notwithstanding. But the pressing question on the minds of political pundits is: are members of the party so out of touch with reality that they would continue to stick with an individual who lacks charisma and whose inability to convince voters nationwide that he is a capable replacement for Mahama have cost the party time and time again?

Beyond his tribal base in the Eastern region and a smattering of support in Ashanti region, Addo has always found it a herculean task to muster enough support to win presidential elections. He failed miserably in 2008 and 2012. Voters just didn’t trust him to be a capable custodian of the nation’s fortunes.  Ghanaians, short of his supporters, did not buy into his electoral promises of change and prosperity.

Upon his nomination as the NPP’s presidential candidate, Addo dug into his political bag of tricks and came up with one that has been tested before …..his choice of Dr. Mohammed Bawumia as his running mate, yet again….an apparent desperate attempt to appeal to northern voters. The uncomfortable truth that the party has consistently failed to confront is the fact the NPP is still regarded by many in the three northern regions as a bastion of unadulterated tribalism.

Bawumia, many contend, is just a token, a giveaway, an appeasement to northern members of the party who have railed, however subtly, against its oft-neglect of qualified northerners ….the puerile and crass treatment of the late Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama is a painful reminder.

To their throng of supporters, Addo and Bawumia are a dynamic duo….capable of turning around the fortunes of the country. One is viewed as a father -figure who has the nation’s interests at heart and would go to the end of the world to make living conditions better for citizens. The other is constantly touted as a brilliant former banker and a renowned economist?….he is yet to win the Nobel Prize for Economics….which will be a triumphant climax to his years of “hard” work in the  field.

It is fashionable to heap praise on our political idols; we laud them as much as we can, but in doing so, we often lose sight of the fact that ruling a nation is several times different from running a political campaign. Once a politician gains power, realities set in and instantly the conversation changes…campaign promises are thrown overboard and policies are not implemented, or they are at all, it is done haphazardly.

So, the question is, will the “dynamic duo” should they win power in 2016, be capable and competent leaders, but above everything else, will they be able to revive the struggling economy, create jobs and reduce the jobless rate? These are huge problems that would take a lot of imagination, tinkering, creativity and consultation with foreign partners and global financial institutions to solve.

When a nation-state is in difficult financial straits, it invariably seeks out the assistance of international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. Mahama did just that and was relentlessly excoriated by the opposition.  Both Addo and Bawumia were quick off their guns to criticize President Mahama for seeking help from the IMF.  They thought going to the IMF was a sign of capitulation. I strongly disagree. Where exactly did they want Mahama to go? To the Chinese who are very lax on their loan requirements and are known to tacitly turn a blind eye to the pervasive corruption and graft in African nations? Or to the Europeans who have their own deeply entrenched economic problems to deal with? The IMF was the right choice given its global financial reputation for strident requirements on loans that include among other things, weeding out corruption.

Conditions are ripe for a change in the nation’s political leadership, but the NPP and its opposition allies have a fight on their hands.  They have two opponents; the Ghanaian voter and the ruling NDC. The former, the Ghanaian voter, has to be nudged, cajoled and convinced that good times are ahead if only the NPP is elected and the latter, the NDC, will not easily give up power without bearing its teeth, especially not when the lethargic economy is beginning to show signs of growth. I can’t wait for 2016; it is going to be full of fireworks.


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