WEEKS AFTER GYE NYAME CONCORD first reported that some top brass of the ruling NPP are head-hunting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the 2008 presidential elections, the UK-based AFRICA ANALYSIS magazine has reported that the World's No 1 civil servant has accepted the offer.
But he's added a caveat, reports the fortnightly bulletin on political and financial trends.
According to the UK-registered online edition of AFRICA ANALYSIS, the UN boss, who emerged unscathed barely a fortnight ago from another attempt by hawks in the US Congress to sour his reputation, has indicated that he would only accept the offer to run for the NPP uncontested.
Africa Analysis was founded by the late Richard Hall, the historian, author and internationally acclaimed correspondent on Africa.
Significantly, there were intelligence indicators last week suggesting that Kofi Annan had indeed accepted the offer.
First was the denial of any interest in the presidency by Dr Sam Jonah, President of the Anglogold Ashanti mining conglomerate.
Earlier unconfirmed reports had indicated that Dr Jonah, who personally chose to step down as an enviable executive President of the multi-million dollar mining firm for a non-executive post, might run if Annan chose not to.
Though his relocation has been interpreted in some circles as being aimed at softening the ground for the take-over of the NPP race by Annan, Dr Jonah last week denied any such move.
Speaking to JOY FM last week, Dr Sam Jonah denied any ambition for the presidency and insisted that his decision to relocate has more to do with his personal business interests.
His decision to relocate to Accra, he said, was to enable him take care of his business interest and serve as a consultant, partner and advisor to investors seeking to invest in Africa.
Kofi Annan's job as head of the UN comes off next year – December 31, 2006 – giving him enough time to anchor for the NPP job.
The name of the respected Ghanaian has been touted as a possible redeemer of the NPP in 2008, following the belief that his candidature could counter that of the respected but twice-defeated presidential flag-bearer of the NDC, Professor John Evans Atta Mills.
Mills would run for the third time if advocacy by some leading members of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to maintain him is successful, though close aides say such a decision might not be good for his health.
They point to the significant impact his loss in the Western and Central regions had on him during last December's elections and suggest that he should retire from partisan politics.
Though credible intelligence picked up by this paper suggest that President Kufuor is privy to the head-hunting of Kofi Annan, his Press Secretary, Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, told GYE NYAME CONCORD when reached on phone the last time that he was unaware of such moves.
“I've never heard of anything like that”, he tersely said, when reached few weeks ago.
Deep throat sources say Annan's ticket is also expected to serve as a counter to Mills' Fante background and a possible turn-around by the Central Region if he is maintained.
Though the respected NDC flagbearer lost massively in his own home region in the 2004 elections, many analysts and NDC insiders insisting on his retention for the 2008 ticket, say the Central Region would not repeat what they term a “mistake” with Mills again.
A Fanti, Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi on April 8, 1938 and began his first degree at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, from where he proceeded to complete his undergraduate work in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A., in 1961. He also studied at the Institut universitaire des hautes études internationales in Geneva and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Annan's father was the Ashanti Regional Minister in the short-lived civilian administration of Kofi Abrefa Busia.
The question now is how his candidature would be sold for the other key contestants, as well as the automatic contestant, Vice President Aliu Mahama to accept him.