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19.08.2004 NDC News

Race For NDC Running Mate

By LENS RESEACH DESK

The NDC flagbearer anytime soon will, in consultation with the party gurus, be announcing his choice of a running mate. The whole nation waits in anticipation while wild speculations are understandably making the front pages of many newspapers. What makes the task of Prof Mills so arduous is the fact the NDC is so awash with so many men and women of substance and quality that choosing one among the many becomes such a Herculean job.

One person must however emerge among the lot. Much as the choice is the prerogative of Prof Mills we wish to seize this opportunity to bring a few facts to his august consideration.

The overwhelming consideration must be given to the running mate's capacity to bring along a significant number of votes all over the country to add up to what Prof Mills will garner himself to enable the party emerge victorious at the polls. All other considerations must be secondary to this.

In this respect, whoever will be the running mate must be an individual who is well known by many, admired by many, who has a proven track record of competence and who commands respect especially among undecided voters.

The truth is that for the overwhelming majority of core NDC supporters, the party is paramount so regardless of who is running mate they will still vote for the party. But for most voters who are on the fence, the attractiveness of the running mate, adds lots of weight to their decision to vote for a particular candidate or otherwise. Better still if the individual in question can appeal strongly to especially the youth and the women.

So, Competence, Attractiveness and Capacity to deliver additional votes outside of the votes already in the bag of the flagbearer should be the first and most important consideration.

Since the above qualities can be found in leading NDC sympathizers both in the southern and Northern parts of Ghana, the second major consideration must be the quest for some regional balance and equilibrium. Regional balance in our consideration, must for purposes of the NDC divide the country into 2 sectors of 5 regions each. The Northern sector will include Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, and the three Northern Regions. While the remaining five will constitute the southern sector.

The third consideration should be not Religion but rather Age. The running mate should have a fine blend of experience and youth on his/her side. This is because in the event of Prof winning elections both in 2004 and 2008 as is the expectation of most NDC sympathisers, his running mate would have accumulated such experience and also be of such age as to take the helm, as is currently the case of John Kerry, the opponent of President Bush, choosing the young, intelligent and articulate John Edwards to be his running mate- and what significant boost that is giving his campaign.

The NDC as a party should not allow itself to be forced to play the religious card as is being urged by a few for their own sectional interest. The NDC has demonstrated time and again that it has absolute respect for all faiths and religions. The Islamic religion in particular has been very close to the heart of the NDC as a party hence the relentless efforts made by the party while in power to ensure that for the first time in the history of Ghana, our Muslim brethren get two holidays as a show of the party's recognition of the importance of the religion.

Ghana is a secular country and therefore it would be a dangerous path to take when religious backgrounds are pushed above other considerations that embrace people of all faiths and creed. In the Southern part of Ghana can be found Christians, Muslims, Traditionalists, Hindus, Buddhists and people of other beliefs as well. The same applies to the five regions that constitute the northern sector of the country. Positions should be competed for by all these people purely on the basis of their abilities and to a lesser extent which sector they hail from for balance development purposes.

Religion, language spoken and other such considerations must not be encouraged to create needless disharmonies amongst us. Instead of looking for individuals who belong to specific religious groups, we should instead look for people who have a healthy respect and consideration for all our various religions and will therefore pay attention to the needs of the adherents of our various faiths. So then both for flagbearer and running mate is not a Christian or muslim or traditionalist but rather a God fearing open minded individual.

We have done a bit of survey among people of various religious persuasions and we can unequivocally state that the overwhelming consideration of these people is in respect of who will help Mills win the polls as opposed to which religion the person identifies with.

Final advice to Prof Mills- please take a leaf from your colleague flagbearer in the US. He went for competence, Regional balance, Charisma and fine looks for good measure. We back you all the way as you choose for us, a competent individual from the Northern sector, a charismatic fellow who has youth and vitality on his side and why not a dashing good-looking running mate who can make especially the youth and voters of the opposite gender go 'waooooo' and say, "What a fantastic Running Mate!"

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