With barely eight months to go into the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, many political pundits, as well as some stalwarts within the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), have raised concerns about the inability of the party’s flagbearer, former President John Dramani Mahama, to name his running mate.
After over a year of his election as the presidential candidate of the opposition party, Mr Mahama still appears dithering on the issue of picking and naming his running mate. Delegates of the NDC, on February 23 2019, elected former President John Mahama in a landslide victory to lead them into the December 2020 polls.
To the dismay of many, the General Secretary of the opposition party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has attributed the delays in choosing a running mate to partner the former president into the December elections to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Asiedu Nketia’s excuse comes at the back of countless Facebook live videos the former president has done, attacking the Akufo-Addo government, mostly with unsubstantiated allegations and pure untruths.
Country at war
According to the General Secretary of the NDC, the country is currently at war with the novel coronavirus, which has globally overwhelmed health facilities and brought economies on their knees, hence the party’s inability to select a running mate.
“If the economy is in bad shape, it affects every sector. We have an emergency situation so we must pay attention to it.”
The NDC scribe said, “if we are all sick or running away by December because of coronavirus, how can you go for elections?”
“If the President lifts the ban on public gathering and normalcy is restored, we shall do normal things,” he stated in a discussion in an interview.
“If the time comes we shall name the running mate but, for now, the President said we should fight the coronavirus so that is our focus,” he added.
Mr Asiedu Nketia’s excuse may certainly not to go down well with some Ghanaians, considering the fact that the whole Covid-19 issue came up after almost 10 months after the election of Mr Mahama as the party’s flagbearer.
Some stalwarts of the NDC such as the former Central Region Chairman, Bernard Allotey Jacobs, have said that Mr Mahama has been unable to select a running mate because Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has raised the bar for the opposition party.
“The greatest problem my party is facing is that, up till now, we have not nominated our running mate…so Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia is raising the bar; he is really raising the bar and it will go to the extent that we would have to get someone with his pedigree to interface with him,” Mr Allotey Jacobs stated a couple of months ago.
“You see, he has in a way roughly driven into our political space. Right now, from 2017 till now, he is occupying almost two-thirds of our political space because we popularise him by criticising him every day. The more you mention him, the more he resonates with the people and that’s the mistake,” Mr Allotey Jacobs said of Vice-President Bawumia.
Three names pop up
Meanwhile, the Daily Statesman’s insider sources in the NDC have revealed that “three final names have been penciled for consideration, and one of them likely to be nominated for the slot” by May.
The three names, we understand, have been arrived at with permutations to the 2024 general elections, rather than the upcoming December elections.
The three are the accomplished daughter of the party’s Founder and Member of Parliament for Klottey Korle, Dr Zenator Agyeman-Rawlings; former Minister of Finance in the late Mills’ administration and former Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Kwabena Duffuor; and former Deputy Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for Ajumako Enyan Essiam, Cassiel Ato Forson.
According to our sources, the three are being considered because Mr Mahama is said to be considering a personality who could, somewhat, match the pedigree of Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, as demanded by his party elders, “but with no potential to upstage him as far as Agenda 2024 is concerned.”