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Election 2024: The dilemma of choosing running mates 

Social News Election 2024: The dilemma of choosing running mates
FEB 25, 2024 LISTEN

With barely 10 months to the 2024 General Elections, pressure is mounting on presidential candidates of the various political parties to choose a running mate to complement their candidature.

None of the political parties that have settled on a candidate, including the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has announced a running mate yet.

Although the decision to choose a running mate is the prerogative of the candidate, it must be approved by the parties' council of elders and leadership to ensure that the choice fits into the party's campaign agenda.

Anxiety
Since the commencement of the 4th Republic in 1992, the announcements of running mates by the two leading political parties – NPP and NDC – has been characterised by anxiety and excitement.

Usually the political parties strategically delay the announcement of their preferred running mates to get an idea of the candidate their opponent would present to inform their strategic choice.

Discussions surrounding the suitability and acceptability of candidates has often been centred on regional, religious, and ethnic balance, gender, integrity, achievements, ability to pull resources and attract voters, among other considerations.

The recent twist to the running mate discourse has been the candidate's appreciation and understanding of the economy as a potential head of the famous Economic Management Team as Vice President.

Mahama, Bawumia dilemma
Former President John Dramani Mahama is already on the road campaigning following his election as flagbearer of the NDC in May 2023.

The former President, who chose Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as his running mate for the 2020 General Election, has given a hint of the identity of the person he has settled on for the 2024 General Election.

Speaking during his #BuildingGhana tour in the Bono East Region in November 2023, Mr Mahama hinted that the likely running mate is someone who had served in his government as a minister and discharged his/her duties effectively.

He added that his running mate to be is a humble person who has the interest of the people at heart.

Sources within the NDC say Mr Mahama had “already” settled on a running mate and would announce the person “soon”.

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the presidential candidate of the NPP, in December 2023 asked the Party to grant him more time to consult broadly to come up with his running mate for the 2024 General Election.

The NPP's National Executive Committee granted Dr Bawumia's request, waiving the Party's Constitutional requirement, which mandates the selection of a running mate at least 12 months before a major election if the President is not the candidate.

It is not clear when Dr Bawumia will announce his running mate two months on.

SWOT Analysis
In an interview with the Ghana News Agencies, Professor Seidu Alidu, Head of the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, said both former President Mahama and Dr Bawumia must conduct a “SWOT analysis” on their candidature and choose a running mate that can best compliment their strength and weaknesses.

He said the identity, experience, understanding of the economy, and the ability of the person to pull resources as well as gender and regional considerations were key indicators to selecting the right running mate.

Prof. Alidu said he believed that the two leading presidential contenders already had their preferred candidates but the acceptability of the candidate among stakeholders of the parties and appeasing interested parties that may be disappointed were among the issues that usually contributed to the delays in announcing the candidate.

He said as part of the political and campaign strategies the flagbearers could delay the announcement of their running mates in anticipation of what their opponent would present.

“Both Bawumia and Mahama have groups that they appeal to and groups that they do not appeal to and a serious candidate must do a SWOT analysis of his candidature. So the kind of groups that you appeal less to, you pick your running mate from that group so that he can appeal to them.

“So even if they don’t like the flagbearer, because of the candidate that you’re choosing as a running mate will resonate with their identity and character and force them to come on board,” Prof. Alidu said.

Complex situation
With clock continuously running down to December 7, every passing day counts for the presidential candidates to make a decisive step and announce a suitable running mate.

The delays in the announcement somewhat suggest that it is not a straightforward decision and that indicates the complexity of the issue and the competitive nature of the 2024 presidential elections.

GNA

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