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23.12.2020 Feature Article

2020 Elections: The shock loss of NPP MPs and future role of Dr. Bawumia

2020 Elections: The shock loss of NPP MPs and future role of Dr. Bawumia
LISTEN DEC 23, 2020

Dear Nana Addo, Dr Bawumia and the Entire NPP Members,

I congratulate you for your hard win of the 2020 elections despite Mr. John Mahama and his NDC refusing to accept the reality and unduly causing security concerns and destroying properties. May the Almighty God give you the wisdom and energy to rule the country and continue to impact positively on millions of Ghanaians.

After 2016 elections, I wrote an article to highlight what Ghanaians would expect from NPP Government and how the win could present both opportunities and threats to NPP (please see: https://www.modernghana.com/news/742275/a-letter-to-nana-addo-and-npp-as-incoming-government.html ).

Despite the good policies such as free SHS that NPP implemented, NPP could not win the 2020 elections easily, that indicates there other factors that are more important to some electorates. While NDC has lost the 2020 elections, they performed far better than expected, particularly in the parliamentary. Accordingly, unless the relevant actions are taken by NPP from now to 2024, NDC may be able to come back to power in 2024.

While we are celebrating the 2020 hard-won victory, the scale that NPP lost some seats in the parliamentary in particular requires a serious introspection. Accordingly, in all my humbleness, please I will like to make the following suggestions to Nana Addo and NPP for your consideration, as they may improve NPP’s long-term electoral fortunes.

The method of selecting parliamentary candidates

If the 2020 election results taught NPP any lesson, it is the sheer scale of the NPP MPs who lost their seats to NDC. NPP membership in parliament has reduced from 169 to 137, with NDC gaining from all the reduction, except one to an independent.

One of the key reasons for the loss is that some NPP voters were not happy with the candidates who were imposed on them. For example, in Akwatia, Ms Mercy Adu-Gyamfi (Ama Sey) who defeated Baba Jamal of NDC in 2016 was replaced, which disillusioned the NPP support base and caused NDC to win in 2020.

Similarly, while in Fomena, Mr Amoko Asiamah was the favorite choice for the voters, he lost in the primaries as an incumbent MP. In early November 2020, NPP requested the Speaker of Parliament to sack him because he was standing as an independent. I am not sure the benefit and prudence in sacking him less than one month before the elections and about two months to the dissolution of Parliament. In any case, his refusal to be bullied has paid off as he won the seat.

Despite NPP has lost its majority in Parliament, I was shocked when I read a statement on 9 December 2020, attributable to Mr John Boadu (the NPP General Secretary) directing Mr. Asiamah that he could chose to apply to rejoin NPP.

Similarly, on 19 December 2020, Mr. Sam Pyne, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP, is reported to have stated that though the party needs people like Mr. Asiamah, the due processes must be followed to address what happened and only the National Executive Council (NEC) would have to decide on his fate.

I see no sense in Messrs. Boadu and Pyne making such statements in the media instead of allowing a private discussion to occur between NPP and Mr. Asiamah, given both NPP and NDC have won 137 seats each and Mr. Asiamah will carry the balance of power. Despite NDC tried to woo him to their side, I salute Mr. Asiamah for being faithful to Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition by announcing that he will sit with NPP, despite the humiliation he might have gone through.

In Australia for example, independent MPs play a crucial role in parliament because they carry the balance of power in the upper house (Senate) and any of the two major parties in government, usually negotiate with them to support their agenda. I believe it is time Messrs. Boadu and Pyne will recognise the difficulty NPP may face in the next Parliament and act accordingly, instead of offending Mr Asiamah further. The truth is, NPP needs him more than he needs NPP.

Fortunately, Mr. Mac Man, the NPP Campaign Manager has advised that NPP will review its system for selecting parliamentary candidates. I suggest the review should also cover the selection of the presidential candidate so that the mistake of 2008 may not be repeated.

In another development, Mr. Kwame Baffoe (Abronya), the Bono Regional Chairman for NPP has lunched a scathing attack on NPP supporters who voted against the party parliamentary candidates and Ms. Mavis Hawa Koomson has also criticised NPP supporters in her constituency who did not vote for her. In my view, these sorts of harsh criticisms have to stop otherwise they create bad image for the party.

Who succeeds Nana Akuffo Addo in 2024?

While it may seem too early to discuss who should succeed President Akuffo Addo as NPP presidential candidate in 2024, I have been astonished several news items and social media posts including two videos of Kumasi Market women, advocating for Dr Bawumia to succeed Nana Addo. Clearly, the Market women are more progressive and ahead of some of the NPP decision makers and delegates.

The results of the 2020 elections have cemented Vice President Bawumia as the clear favorite to succeed Nana Addo in 2024, to ensure that NPP will have a realistic chance of retaining power. Dr Bawumia helped NPP enormously to win in his home region of North East and NPP performance in the Northern Region was also encouraging, partly due to the hard work that Dr Bawumia and his wife performed there. It is important that NPP will allow Dr Bawumia to succeed Nana Addo, so that the gains achieved in those regions will be sustained. The election results show that NDC is just knocking at the door and the least opportunity they will strike and take over the country in 2024, despite they mismanage the economy.

Unfortunately, one of the NDC propaganda against NPP is that NPP is an Akan (dominated) party. One of the main reasons NDC uses to support their argument is that since the inception of NPP in 1992 or so, all the presidential candidates of NPP have been either an Ashanti or an Akyem (Professor Adu-Boahene, President Kuffour and Nana Akuffo Addo), and that is why NPP did not support the former Vice President Aliu Mahama to become the presidential candidate of the party. In any case, NDC has only chosen from the Fante, North and Volta as their presidential and running mates; so, they should also be guilty for choosing from only these three areas.

There is no doubt that the propaganda has caused some people to dislike NPP and that is why NPP continues to struggle in some regions. Accordingly, in order to defuse the NDC propaganda and widen NPP support base, it is important that NPP choses Dr Bawumia as its leader.

The NPP ideologies are based on the Danquah-Busia-Dombo traditions. Since the inception of the 4th Republic, NPP has chosen leaders such as President Kuffour and Nana Akuffo Addo, who represent the Busia and Danquah arms of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo traditions respectively. I believe it is time that a leader is chosen from the Dombo tradition. Interesting, all my friends who are NPP supporters have expressed the same view that Dr Bawumia should be chosen.

Accordingly, all others who have the ambitions to succeed Nana Addo have to suppress their ambitions for the sake of the party as Chief Dombo did in the 1950s, when the Northern Peoples Party (led by Chief Dombo), the National Liberation Movement (led by Dr Busia) and other minor parties merged. At the time of the merger, Chief Dombo’s party was the largest, yet he considered Dr Busia to be the best person to lead the merged parties and voluntarily surrendered the leadership to Dr Busia for the common good of the merged group.

Similarly, based on Dr Bawumia’s performance as a Vice President, many people that support NPP believe that he is the best to succeed Nana Addo. I am not a prophet but I can confidently predict that if Dr Bawumia is not supported to succeed Nana Addo, NPP will definitely go to opposition and may not come back for a long time. We must endeavour to avoid the sort of acrimony that characterized the selection of Nana Addo as the NPP presidential candidate in 2008 that contributed to the narrow loss of NPP in 2008.

Some have suggested that Dr Bawumia can chose Mr Alan Kyeremanteng or Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (Napo) as his vice presidential candidate in 2024, any of them will be a good complement.

Corruption

There is no doubt that one of the key reasons that NDC went into opposition in 2016 was the numerous and large scale corruption scandals that hit John Mahama’s Government including GYEEDA, SADA, bus rebranding, Ford gift saga and etc.; with President Mahama himself, directly involved in some of the scandals.

One of the main campaign message of NPP in 2016 was to fight corruption. There were many who voted for NPP in 2016 because they believed NPP was coming to fight corruption but became disappointed with some corruption scandals such as the missing of the seized excavators that thwarted the fight against galemsay. While some of the corruption allegations against NPP are false and propaganda by NDC, I cannot imagine how so many excavators seized from illegal miners could have gone mixing because they are bulky items and cannot be easily stolen or hidden.

Nana Addo started well by establishing the Office of Special Prosecutor, however, until his recent resignation, Mr Amidu did not achieve anything as the first Special Prosecutor. In recent times, NDC has tried hard to tag Nana Addo and his NPP Government as being corrupt, to extent of irrationally describing the 2016 campaign donation Nana received as a bribe he received in 2017, while he was a President.

With all due respect, Nana, any person that engages in behavior that will cause disaffection for your Government, please let the person be properly investigated. The fight against corruption means a lot to many people. There are many voters who don’t really care about free SHS for example, because either they do not have children in SHS or they could pay, but fighting corruption means a lot to them. They believe corruption impacts negatively on the country. Therefore, all credible allegations of corruption must be properly investigated including those John Mahama and his NDC committed, NPP appointees and civil servants will commit or have committed. I always say that I will consider the fight against corruption to be real if both government and oppositions members are duly prosecuted for their correct acts.

Furthermore, irrespective of the economic importance of some transactions, care must be taken that their execution will not bring unnecessary negative attention on the Government. I am referring to projects such as “Agyapa deal”, though the deal may be beneficial to Ghana, the timing of its execution was bad and the Government was also unable to explain properly the benefits of the concept to Ghanaians. It generated unnecessary criticism and accusation for the Government close to elections.

Reshuffle of ministers

Other than a few changes here and there, Nana has not changed much the composition of his cabinet and ministers. It may be relevant for Nana to reshuffle his ministers and if possible, reduce the size. This will ensure that the competent ones are retained and those not working hard enough are replaced or removed, and some ministries are combined, in order to increase efficiency and inject more vibrancy into the Government.

Conclusion

As stated earlier on, the NPP significant win in the elections present both opportunity and threat to the party in 2024 and beyond. Therefore, the way Nana and his team, as well as the party tackle the issues discussed in this paper and others including the fight against corruption will either promote NPP and cement it as the dominant party in Ghana or it may go to opposition in 2024.

Furthermore, promoting Dr Bawumia as the success of Nana Addo will definitely improve the fortunes of NPP in the North and make NPP more appealing to more floating voters. The intelligent and competent Bawumia is the one that can beat NDC if Mr Mahama decides to run again in 2024. Any other person will struggle to market himself to match Mr Mahama. I hear some saying there were people in the queue when Dr Bawumia joined NPP but that is an unrealistic statement because once he has become the Vice President, he automatically becomes most senior in the party after the President.

By Joseph Annor - Master of Business in Accounting and CPA

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