Is all set for Akufo-Addo to swerve Mahamadu Bawumia?

By Michael J.K. Bokor, Ph.D.
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By Michael J.K. Bokor, Ph.D.

3/9/2012 1:15:45 AM -

Thursday, March 8, 2012

As is often observed, still waters run deep. I have a funny feeling that despite all the outside “show-show” being made by those who matter in the NPP to suggest that everything is working well for them to dislodge the incumbent NDC government from power, the situation isn't so.

The still water that constitutes their party's internal workings runs too deep for their comfort. I want to stick my neck out on this score and will definitely incur the displeasure of the NPP's followers; but I reck little of their tantrums.

I have restrained myself from doing so for many months now, hoping that something would come from Akufo-Addo to prove me wrong. But he hasn't been forthcoming to curtail it, his dilly-dallying holding everybody (including his own party's fanatics) in a painful suspense.

Some are asking: So, can't Akufo-Addo choose his Running Mate for us all to know, less than 9 months to Election 2012? What is holding him up if not the stiff opposition from the real power brokers in the NPP (the Council of Elders and moneybags bankrolling the party's operations) to his preferred choice who—we've heard for more than the umpteenth time without anything from Akufo-Addo to confirm—is Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, the political paperweight whose partnership for the 2008 polls didn't yield anything to put Akufo-Addo in power?

Let nobody deceive himself that Akufo-Addo isn't doing so because he is waiting for the Woyome scandal to have its full negative toll on the Mills-led government before breaking the silence (as Ben Ephson would vacuously tell us). What is it about corruption that is strange in this Woyome case to warrant its being trumpeted as President Mill's swan song?

The most pointed question is rather: Why can't Akufo-Addo make up his mind on who his Running Mate is? There must be something more terribly wrong than anybody will persuade me to accept as the cause of this hiccup. We've heard rumours on numerous occasions regarding when he would make the announcement; but those days have elapsed without anything coming from him.

Some may wonder: After all, with the current nose-dive that the Mills-led government has taken to deepen its credibility problems, isn't it obvious that the electorate have already made up their minds to go for Akufo-Addo and his NPP whether he names his Running Mate now or on election day? Or, considering the negative public impressions about the NDC government's performance, is there any compulsion at all for Akufo-Addo to name his Running Mate now to be able to garner public goodwill or as a prerequisite for making the NPP more attractive?

So optimistic of an Akufo-Addo victory are some of my NPP friends that they see Election 2012 as a done deal—an “Operation Cold Chop.” Is it not obvious that President Mills will be defeated, they often ask!

In other words, they see Akufo-Addo as already positioned at the vantage point to clinch electoral victory with little or no effort at all. Whether he announces his Running Mate now or not will not change his electoral fortunes, they conclude.

I see things differently. Despite all this noise being made about Akufo-Addo and the NPP's electoral fate, I don't think that all is well in that camp or that Ghanaians will necessarily go for him at Election 2012 to seal their anger at the incumbent's “poor performance.”

Akufo-Addo still has some high hurdles to jump. That is why when I hear his followers glibly proclaiming that with his “experiences,” he can solve Ghana's problems and will win the elections for that matter, I laugh out loud. Among others, the decision he makes on his Running Mate will definitely play a huge part in determining his fate.

So far, rumours point to Dr. Bawumia. The only reason being advanced in his favour is that he was Akufo-Addo's Running Mate for the 2008 elections and that having been exposed as such, he is already known and marketing him won't be as difficult as it would be for a new face. In this sense, then, “consistency” or “continuity” has been touted as the best principle to warrant his choice.

That is the most vacuous claim I have ever heard in politically motivated circumstances. Probably, it must have dawned on Akufo-Addo and his managers that reasons stronger than this “continuity” slogan should guide the decision to be made on a Running Mate; hence this delay.

Obviously, the most sensible factor to look for is whether the prospective candidate has any political constituency or personal capabilities to garner support for the party and its flagbearer. Again, such a candidate must have established good credentials in several domains other than what Bawumia is being credited with—as a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana.

This designation has instigated loud claims that he is an experienced economist (technocrat, for that matter) whose expertise will be tapped into by Akufo-Addo (a lawyer) for good and effective governance to facilitate Ghana's development. Nothing could be more preposterous!

Bawumia is nowhere near the big brains in economics who have preceded him in the management of national affairs. The country has had several substantive Governors of the Bank of Ghana (John Saka Addo, Godfried Kportufe Agama, Kwabena Dufuor, among them) and renowned economists (Drs. Amon and Gloria Nikoi and Robert Gardner, among others) who played very important roles in governance but couldn't be credited with anything significant that transformed the national economy or improved living standards. There are other economics heavyweights too. So, why elevate Bawumia to this height?

Whatever expertise he may have could be better used outside the Vice Presidency, if these NPP loud-mouths care to know. I suppose that Bawumia could continue to function his capacity as an economist in other spheres. It is not only when he becomes a Vice President that he can do so to the country's benefit.

Probably, the fact that he is a political paperweight who hasn't added anything new to the NPP's arsenal to enhance its politicking must be one major reason to detract from his chances. At this point, it beats my imagination why he chose to resign his position in that lucrative assignment in Zimbabwe to await Akufo-Addo's choice of him as his Running Mate. Whoever might have influenced him into taking that hasty action has done him a world of disservice. Or is he also already intoxicated with the potion that has made many a Ghanaian politician power-hungry and mindless of the landmines on the way to the Osu Castle?

As the dilly-dallying continues and the suspense persists, some inklings are beginning to emerge that Bawumia may not be Akufo-Addo's choice, after all. I am beginning to have a hunch that Lepowura, Alhaji JND Jawula may emerge as Akufo-Addo's preferred choice. If you doubt my hunch, just read between the lines to find out why Alhaji Jawula is all of a sudden full of vim, blowing hot air about the NPP's agenda for national development. He was at the University of Cape Coast over the weekend.

I don't think that he will be doing things just anyhow or that he is now trying to catch the power brokers' eyes. Like the proverbial blind man threatening to stone the one taunting him, he is stepping on a piece of stone. Something is in the offing to give him that confidence and optimism. After all, he is better exposed than Bawumia and will be a better candidate to garner some support for the NPP if chosen.

Many other developments point to him as a likely choice. As we wait for Akufo-Addo to make the announcement, after all, we will continue to suggest that he will be helping his own cause if he adds value to his team by choosing those who have already wetted their feet and know how to do politics. At this point, any talk of “continuity” is hollow. But I won't be surprised if that is what suits Akufo-Addo because, like the dog that is determined to run away from its master and, therefore, refuses to hear his whistle, he may be steeped in his stance and throw caution to the wind.

And if he does so, it will be the surest means to lose the Presidential elections again. Bawumia is a non-performing asset. For Akufo-Addo, the question is: To swerve him or not to swerve him? It is a tight knot for him to untie. How he does so will go a long way to affect his political ambitions this time round. He makes the wrong choice at his own risk. Does he have the guts to make that announcement soon?

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Disclaimer: "The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article." © Michael J.K. Bokor, Ph.D..

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