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Is Alan Kyeremanten Going Independent Foolhardy or Bargaining Chip?

Feature Article Is Alan Kyeremanten Going Independent Foolhardy or Bargaining Chip?
TUE, 26 SEP 2023 LISTEN

By Kofi Ata
If I had not listened to his speech live, I wouldn’t have believed it if I heard or read of it from someone or somewhere. Though rumours were rife that Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten, a leading member of the ruling New Patriotic Pary (NPP) was planning to resign and stand as independent presidential candidate, I never believed it. Then I heard it from his own mouth live on Citi Fm yesterday afternoon. This brief article is analysis of the decision and its potential implications for him as a politician and for NPP as a party.

I am not a Political Science expert, in fact, I never studied Political Science in School and therefore I seek your indulgence for some elementary and common-sense approach to the subject. When I heard Alan on his resignation from NPP and his decision to stand as an independent presidential candidate for the December 2024 presidential election, I could not believe what I heard for a number of reasons.

First, Alan has no political base outside the NPP that he could use as a launch pad for a new political movement to mount a successful and effective national campaign for a presidential election. Second, he had resigned from NPP once and it did not go well, so he rejoined the party. Outside NPP, he was almost like a fish out of water. Third, the current political environment of two-party system dominated by NPP and NDC in Ghana, a third force has no real chance of success, unless one had a well-oiled and financed political strategy and machinery. Moreover, with President Nana Akufo-Addo’s stronghold on NPP from national to district and the determination to break the 8, the likelihood of another Danquah-Busia tradition being successful as an independent candidate is almost zero, Finally, with the first past the post system in Ghana, no third candidate, whether party or independent has made any meaningful impact on Ghana’s presidential elections since the Fourth Republic.

For the above reasons, I am of the view that either Alan is being politically naïve, committing political suicide or he is up to something that some of us do not know. Of course, I am aware that in politics anything can happen, and a new entrant has beaten candidates of the two leading parties to become president as Emmanuel Macron did in France in 2017. However, such victories for political neophytes are the exception and not the norm.

Though Alan rejoined NPP after resigning for the first time, I do not believe that the current crop of party apparatchiks has forgiven him because most felt that he deserted the party when the going was tough for a juicy international appointment and only rejoined on realisation that the party was likely to secure political office. This could account for how he has been treated by the party leadership during the NPP’s presidential primaries, resulting in his withdrawal from the contest, his subsequent second resignation and going independent.

But what is Alan seeking to achieve? Victory or something else? I am tempted to believe that Alan knows very well that victory is not his ultimate objective, though every politician says, I am in to win. Observing from afar, my candid opinion is that there are a number of potential scenarios or outcomes.

The first is that he is using this as a bargaining chip to something bigger in the future. That is, the NPP elders will approach him and ask him not to stand as an independent president candidate. In this scenario, Alan could make a number of demands, including his usual mantra, “it’s my turn”, next time so that should NPP not win in December 2024, he will be the clear favourite in December 2028.

Second, Alan is really peeved by the treatment given to him and therefore is bent on damaging the chances of whoever emerges as NPP presidential candidate in December 2024 by taking votes away from the party’s candidate. This is based on the hope that voters in Asante and Central regions where his parents are from will be sympathetic enough to give him their votes. Alternatively, independent voters who are fed up with both NPP and NDC but do not have confidence in the smaller parties may vote for him. However, I do not see him making any inroads into NPP stronghold, Asante region, where both the NPP Regional Chairman and the Regional Minister are very strong. Alan as an independent presidential candidate has no chance of denting NPP votes in any region that could hurt the party’s presidential candidate in December 2024.

The other scenario is a repeat of 1979. Those of you who are old enough as me should remember that when William Ofori-Atta (Paa Willie) failed to secure the Popular Front Party’s (PFP) presidential candidacy, he broke away from the party, formed his own party (United National Convention -UNC), contested as its presidential candidate and therefore hurting the PFP’s presidential candidate, Mr Victor Owusu. To add insult to injury, William Ofori-Atta asked his supporters to vote for the People’s National Party’s (PNP) presidential candidate in the run-off between Victor Owusu and Dr Hilla Limann, giving victory to the PNP.

The Busia Danquah tradition never forgave Paa Willie for what was regarded at the time as an act of treachery until Nana Akufo-Addo became a leading force within the NPP and finally won the presidency in December 2016. In fact, Nana Akufo-Addo left the PFP to join his uncle’s party and campaigned for him.

The question is, is Alan’s action pay back for Nana Akufo-Addo, who is determined to make his vice, Dr Bawumia NPP’s presidential candidate? If so, why indirectly at Dr Bawumia? In fact, this is most likely to backfire on Alan because voters in the northern regions could see him as betraying a northerner and therefore not secure votes from them.

Whatever is up the sleeves of Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten for resigning his party membership to contest as independent presidential candidate for the December 2024 presidential election, it will either end well with a third political force in Ghana or go horribly wrong and end his political career. He could also become the King Maker in the future if my prediction that this a ploy to use as bargaining chip becomes a reality.

As at today, the future is unknown for Alan, and anything can happen, but this decision is more likely to end in premature political suicide and for me Alan is just about to throw a political improvised explosive device in the annals of Ghanaian politics with potential casualties. Therefore, watch this space.

Kofi Ata

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