07.04.2008 NDC News

Ghana`s political parties choose their presidential candidates but run into...Running Mate Blues!Ama Benyiwa-Doe suggested for NDC

07.04.2008 LISTEN
By Accra Mail

Last week Mrs. Rawlings gave vent to the kind of frustrations Ghana's political parties are going through in the search for running mates to partner their presidential candidates in the general elections which are now only eight months away.

The woman was on Accra radio stations firing noisily away about a choice NDC presidential candidate Prof. Mills had settled on.

The name of John Mahama had been speculated all along but last week, the state-owned Daily Graphic gave it a definitive ring. Mrs Rawlings, whose husband is considered the founder of the NDC, so resented the idea that she could not contain her anger and her outbursts, according to observers may have done the Mills campaign much damage.

The law professor is faced with a dilemma. He either goes with his own choice and lose support from the very powerful president of the 31st Women's Movement or succumb to her pressure and lose face completely with large swathes of the electorate writing him off as a poodle without the kind of guts needed to run a country, which would certainly lead to a third loss.

A source close to Professor Mills told ADM that “Professor Mills is very angry.” The source accused Mrs. Rawlings of wanting to impose a female running mate on the professor, which the source said the professor would resist even if it would lead to the destruction of the party.

With only eight months to the elections, that cannot be good news for the party. The NDC is divided in the middle and until they can come up with a compromise candidate, the problem could dog them all the way to Election Day. “What of Ama Benyiwa-Doe”, suggested a wag.

He told the ADM that “if it is a woman they want, she is one and she has probably defended the NDC more robustly than any woman in the party – not even Mrs. Rawlings can measure up to Benyiwa-Doe's loyalty.

Which of them could have stood up to Kweku Baako the way she has all these eight years?” Much food for thought there...

With the ruling NPP, it is the axiom of being hoisted on one's own petard or shooting oneself in the foot coming home to roost. From 2001 when it came to power, all the way, seven years later, when it embarked on the search for a successor to President Kufuor the party/administration has more or less treated the office of Vice President with what can mildly be described as contempt.

That attitude's persistence saw close to twenty people running against a sitting vice president in the succession race. Strange ideas were even thrown up to devalue further the importance of the office of Vice President in justifying the large number of presidential aspirants. Some members of the party argued and continue to argue that a vice president must pack and leave with the president once the president's term is over.

Last week, a senior advisor to presidential candidate Akufo-Addo told the ADM that “if you want to become president, you should not accept to be a running mate.” He was damn serious!Though this unconstitutional and rather pedestrian way of looking at the office of Vice President may not be Nana Akufo-Addo's own outlook, but it does capture the kind of thinking going on about the person to choose to partner him in the elections. All the names being mentioned have so far been unable to fly and Vice President Aliu Mahama's name has been cropping up in discussions as a possible compromise! It is a sign of desperation which some people close to the Vice President regard as the ultimate insult.

The Convention Peoples Party (CPP) and the Peoples National Convention (PNC), two members of the so-called Nkrumahist family are locked in negotiations about pooling resources with the PNC providing the running mate in the person of Dr. Edward Mahama, the PNC's presidential candidate.

It is a delicate balancing act between the two parties because it is conceivable that if the NPP had not ceded some seats to the CPP, the party would never have had any seats in parliament. The PNC on the other hand has always managed on its own steam to maintain some presence in parliament.

It is an argument the party has always held up in its negotiations with other Nkrumahist parties to show its supremacy over the others. Would Dr. Mahama invoke the same argument this time round? He just may, but not only that, he has also given a clear indication that his party would not go into any alliance with the NPP should there be a run-off.

Dr. Ndoum still retains residual loyalties to the NPP and would be more amenable towards an NPP alliance. Already, then, the portends of an Dr. Ndoum/Dr. Mahama ticket do not look very promising...

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