Ghana’s Ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Selects a New Leader

Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) announced the victory of Vice President Alhaji Dr. Muhammadu Bawumia in the primaries held Saturday, November 4, 2023. Bawumia won 118,210 votes representing 61.47 percent of the votes as against 71,996 (35.52 percent) of his closest rival, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong. The two other contestants Owusu Afriyie Akoto and Francis Addae Nimo won 1,459 votes and 781 votes respectively. Unlike the super-delegates conference that was contentious, the primaries were held in an atmosphere of unity and peace. Bawumia’s election makes him the new leader of the NPP. Bawumia’s accession to the presidency would be historic as the first Northerner to be elected leader of the party and president of the country.

The defeat of former minister of Trade and Industries, Mr. Alan Kwadwo Kyeremateng in the super delegates conference and his subsequent resignation soured the tone of the oncoming primaries. What characterized the super-delegates conference was acrimony and suspicion as such candidates as Messrs. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong and Alan Kyeremateng accused the party of violently attacking their agents in some parts of the country. Subsequent campaigns were laced with insults and language unbecoming of political leaders.

Amandla concludes that the elections to choose party leaders this year have been more acrimonious than ever and did not measure up to party unity and the NPP’s so called character. We fear that the campaign for the 2024 general elections may not receive the needed support and cooperation of party leaders even as the four contenders made promises to cooperate with the vice president. The party has so much work to do to patch up its differences, because breaking the eight-year pattern could be a challenge. At a meeting of Mr. Alan Kyeremateng and President Akufo-Addo after the 2015 primaries Alan said that it was customary in the NPP to compete fiercely during the primaries but cooperate in a spirit of party unity.

Amandla decries the incidence of monetization of politics in the NPP. In fact, claims to have obtained evidence of dubious financial transactions tied to vote buying. That media outlet also claims to have in its possession videos and audios from the Ayensuano constituency in which party executives were fighting over monies disbursed by Vice President Bawumia’s campaign office. Other aspirants, including Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, have also confessed to have made shocking payments to constituency executives.

In the early 2000s vote buying in the NPP became an issue and there seemed to be a consensus to proscribe it but it persisted. Led by the NPP North America, a movement called One Man One Vote (OMOV) suggested to political parties in Ghana to work to prevent vote buying. Then Chairman of NPP North America Dr. Kofi Boateng argued vociferously against the practice making strong representations to the party’s leadership. To achieve that, the NPP should allow all qualified contestants in internal elections to contest in order to stop or reduce vote buying.

We find it reprehensible that vote buying has once again become an issue. Indeed it is a perennial issue and not just an NPP matter. It is a national issue. What we describe as “voter galamsey” (gather and sell) compromises law makers and the presidency, and in the process, stymies national development. OMOV needs to be revisited to stem vote buying that has become the norm.

In his acceptance speech as the flagbearer of the NPP Dr. Bawumia acknowledged the difficulties and the economic hardships Ghanaians face. He assured the “energetic youth of the NPP and Ghana to deliver on their aspirations and called on their support for the campaign ahead. The new party leader did not leave out the media and the clergy, traditional rulers, the Ulama for their prayers and encouragement. He paid glowing tribute to his late parents as well as party followers who lost their lives to the cause of the party.

The Vice President thanked President Akufo-Addo for being consistent in his trust in his three elections, including his first failed attempt. He also beseeched his fellow aspirants to join together to “break the 8.”

Amandla thinks Alhaji Dr. Mahammudu Bawumia has been the most conspicuous vice president Ghana has ever had. The America constitution does not define any role for the vice president other than acting on the president’s behalf. So does the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. Dr. Bawumia has however, redefined the role of vice president. The officially recognized role of the vice president is his job as the Economic Management Team where he has managed, among several others, the digital transformation of Ghana that has earned him the accolade Mr. Digital. Thus far, not many vice presidents have been as impactful as Alhaji Bawumia.

Dr. Bawumia stands out as a reliable and efficient technocrat who has given his all to his nation beyond his constitutionally assigned role. Both critics and observers believe he is an asset to his country.

Posted by on Nov 12 2023. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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