02.08.2021 Feature Article

Only the President Is Kingmaker of Local Chief Executives

Only the President Is Kingmaker of Local Chief Executives
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Historically, the Central Region has been categorized as a “Swing Region,” which means that, by and large, the voters in this part of the country constantly shift their loyalties to either major political party in the country, namely, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), based on which of these two ideological establishments is perceived to be more responsive to the needs, interests and aspirations of the denizens of this region. For the most part, however, the Central Region has been electorally more NDC-leaning than it has been towards the New Patriotic Party. And the obvious reason well appears to be that since the inception of the Fourth Republic, the National Democratic Congress, especially under the leadership of the late former President Jerry John Rawlings, has been more closely associated with the political empowerment of Central Region-born politicians and leaders of the NDC in ways that cannot be said of the Asante- and the Akyem-dominated New Patriotic Party.

For example, both two Vice-Presidents of the National Democratic Congress under the tenure of the half-Ewe and half-Scottish President Jeremiah John Rawlings, namely, Mr. Ekwow Nkensen-Arkaah, late, and Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, late as well, were of Fante ethnicity from the Cape Coast-Anomabu littoral. As well, the late Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur would partner the Gonja-born President John Dramani Mahama in the 2012 Presidential Election, in the wake of the “mysterious” death of the then-President John Evans Atta-Mills. And just like the widely rumored frigid personal and working relationship between President Mills and Vice-President Mahama, the relationship between the latter and his Vice-President, Mr. Amissah-Arthur, the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, was equally known to be irreparably icy, as was publicly and intemperately attested by Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur at the funeral and memorial service of her deceased husband.

Nevertheless, in what well appeared to be a marriage of convenience, in the leadup to the 2020 Presidential Election, Candidate Mahama decided to select an ethnic Fante, this time, in the dubious name of feminist/female empowerment, as his running-mate. That Vice-Presidential Candidate, of course, was Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, the first woman Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, this time, from the Cape Coast-Elmina littoral. Once again, like the second outing with Mr. Amissah-Arthur, Mr. Mahama would decisively lose the 2020 Presidential Election to the proverbial “Little Man from Kyebi,” to wit, an incumbent President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, just as the notorious professional kleptocrats – in the evergreen words of Chairman Jerry John Rawlings – had lost the 2016 Presidential Election to a third-time-running Candidate Akufo-Addo.

The contention here is that short of an electoral process, the ultimate decision of who becomes Chief Executive Officer or Metropolitan Chief Executive of Cape Coast effectively and incontestably belongs to none other than the democratically mandated President of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), to wit, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, contrary to what self-proclaimed party kingmakers like Mr. Justice Oboh Mensah would have the rest of us believe (See “Cape Coast: Tension Brews as NPP Group Vow[sic] to Reject Re-Nomination of Disrespectful MCE” 6/7/21). As present rules and regulations stand, there is absolutely nothing that disgruntled local party chieftains or executives like Mr. Oboh Mensah can do in the event of a decision by the President of the Republic, as many a Ghanaian citizen is wont to say, to renominate Mr. Ernest Arthur, the incumbent Metropolitan Chief Executive of Cape Coast, for another four-year term or tenure.

Not even a legitimately constituted court of law can force President Akufo-Addo to select and/or appoint a nominee for the job against the decision and will of the political prime mover, in this particular context. At the very worst, all that inveterate enemies and Ernest Arthur political opponents can do is to melodramatically sign themselves out of the New Patriotic Party, just as Mr. Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, the current Trade and Industry Minister, did with barely four months before the 2008 Presidential Election. Thankfully, however, there may very well be that proverbial light at the end of the messy tunnel of the virtual migraine or acute headache that is the quadrennial Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives’ selection slugfest. For example, just a couple, or so, days ago, I came across a news article that seemed to fortuitously suggest that, finally, a more broadly acceptable process for the selection of MMDCEs may have been arrived at. And guess what, Dear Reader? It was the same “ballot-box” or “balloting” process that I have been vigorously and strenuously pushing for quite some time now!

At any rate, Mr. Oboh Mensah does not seem like the type of local party executive that a formidable and winsome New Patriotic Party may be in dire need of. You see, the man sounds more like a pathological loser and a loose cannon. Nearly every one of his defamatory grievances against Mr. Arthur clearly appears to be predicated on hearsay or grapevine gossip than first-hand experience or evidence. A kingmaker of the “swingers” of Ghana’s most unpredictable swing region, maybe.

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

July 21, 2021

E-mail: [email protected]

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