Alex Segbefia
Alex Segbefia

…As Blocks Emerges

The two main political protagonists and arch-rivals in Ghana, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) seem to have common and identical challenges going forward,? whether going into elections, managing the country?s economy or electing new leaders.

Less than six months since Ghanaians went to the polls to elect a President who is even yet to finish forming his government, leading members of the two major political parties who are nursing ambitions to become President have taken advantage of the election climate heats occasioned by the election petition at the Supreme Court to garner support ahead of the 2016 elections.

As unprecedented as this development may seem in both parties, especially when the Mahama-led administration has just marked its hundred days some few weeks ago and its legitimacy also under serious challenge from the defeated 2012 presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo and two others at the superior court, the prospective presidential hopefuls seem to have little or no interest in whatever the outcome of the court case may be.

Alban Bagbin
Alban Bagbin

They are rather busy but furtively working out theories and strategies that will aid them to lay their grips on the leadership slot of their parties in preparation towards the 2016 general elections.

Already, there are media reports of leading members of the NDC; with the support of their godfathers busily jostling to occupy top positions at the National level, to the extent that the various blocs in the party are said to be ?toasting? their preferred candidates to occupy some of the influential positions in order to smoothen the way when it comes to the selection of a flag bearer.

Interestingly, President John Mahama, who enjoyed a relative unanimous support from the rank and file of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) after the sudden demise of his former boss, the late President Atta Mills, may now face a stiff challenge at the party?s next congress to elect flag bearer for the 2016 elections.

Alan Kyeremanten
Alan Kyeremanten

Information gathered by The Al-Hajj has it that, unlike the 2012 flag bearer-ship contest in the ruling party where the ?fight? was a two horse race between Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings, the wife of the founder of the NDC and the late President, Prof Mills, who had an overwhelming support from the party, the next flag bearer-ship race of the ruling party may see the incumbent President facing it off with his entire party.

Without prejudice to the outcome of the court case, factions; deeply dependent on ethnic and religious support base according to reports, have suddenly emerged in both parties, with the NDC said to be fragmented into four blocs; all having formidable party gurus with strong financial mettle and thick grass root base.

On the part of the opposition NPP, who have since time immemorial been divided along Ashanti/Akyem? factions, a new entrant, the Northern caucus has also emerged; this time, working to take the front seat of the party after being relegated to the back seat for decades.

Hon. Isaac Osei
Hon. Isaac Osei

The ruling party now has the Fante caucus, the Volta bloc, the Northern faction,which has no links to the President and? another cabal, made up of an amalgamation of some formidable forces in the party who are based in the capital city, but have support and influence across the country.

Prior to the declaration of President John Mahama as the sole candidate for the 2012 elections, names bandied around in the ruling party as possible candidates to contest him for the position of flagbearer included, Hon Kwesi Ahwoi, current Interior Minister; Ekow Spio Gabrah, one time flag bearer aspirant of the party and now President of Dominion University.

Though both have strong ties to the Fante caucus, the latter seemed at some point not to be in the good books of some of the godfathers of the Fante bloc. However, according to a source very familiar with the ongoing political poker game, there is the possibility of a political reconciliation, with the notion that, President Mahama is now the common adversary who has to be dethroned by whatever legitimate means possible, having relegated everybody who matter in the party to the background and dealing only with his ?alien? appointees.

The source was unable to say who was initiating the reconciliatory moves between Dr Spio Garbrah and the Fante Caucus, but said, he is aware that both sides are moving for a re-union to form a formidable force to replace the sitting President and ?end the seeming disrespect and contempt the various stakeholders of the party are facing from their own government?.

Mr. Alex Segbefia, the former Deputy Chief of Staff, who has not personally disclosed his presidential ambition on any platform, except that his name came up when the position of vice president became vacant following the unfortunate demise of the late President Mills, according to a source close to the Volta caucus; is seriously emerging and being considered as representative of the electoral ?World bank? of the NDC.

Proponents of the highly articulate former Deputy Chief of Staff argued that he is relatively younger and has also garnered tremendous experience in governance after emerging as one of bold faces of the Mills administration. His astuteness as a lawyer with a gift of oratory and persuasive argument against his opponents on various platforms was also seen as an added advantage.

Suprisingly, two other names that popped up, both hailing from President Mahama?s own backyard are, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, former MP for Kunbumgu who has been nominated as Secretary General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, and Hon. Alban Bagbin, MP for Nadwoli West and a member of the ?three wise men? to coordinate the implementation of Presidential priority projects.

A name likely to shock many but conspicuously missing, and or, did not feature in any permutation at the time, is the MP for Dadekotopon and former Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Fisheries, Nii Amasah Namoale. It is however, unclear if the Dadekotopon MP has any links with any of the factions.,

Though agenda 2016 was a raging storm blowing against Nana Akufo-Addo from the day he was elected in 2010 to lead the NPP into the 2012 elections, the situation has now even become more complex and fluid with the re-entry into the race by Alan KwadwoKyeremanten, who missed out the top post at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

A source told The Al-Hajj that, individuals behind the plan to deny Akufo Addo another opportunity in 2016; have now swung into full action and are now impressing on the leadership of the party for an early congress.

With the possibility of losing out in the court case and eventually closing? a chapter on his childhood dreams of one day becoming the President of Ghana , Nana Akufo-Addo, a backbone of the Akyem bloc, according to our information is expected to back his prot?g? and the MP for Okere, Dan Kweku Botwe in any future presidential race, to represent?his interest in the party.

Two other names, ex – president Kufuor?s former spokesman, Mr. Kwabena Agyepong and Hon. Isaac Osei, MP for Subin and one time flag bearer aspirant of the party, who are also strong members of the Ashanti cabal, have taken a center stage in the internal NPP discussions on who should lead the party in the run up to the 2016 election, this paper has been told.

Also scheming to take over the leadership slot of the NPP is the 2012 running mate of the party, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, whose henchmen from the North are also seriously courting their grassroots supporters to shun away from the usual Ashanti/Akyem politics and give a northerner the chance to lead the party.

Drawing from the performance of Dr Bawumia, who is the star witness in the ongoing election petition at the Supreme Court, political analysts have begun touting him as the heir apparent and de facto arrow head of the NPP; capable of leading them into the 2016 elections.

To drum home this northern agenda, a group, ?We Support Dr. M Bawumah for President 2016? has emerged on social media to oil the political wheels and soften the grounds for the smooth entry of Dr. Bawumia into the hall of fame of the New Patriotic Party.

What is however not clear is how Dr. Bawumia will combine his flag bearer ambition with his new appointment as the head of the Uganda Office of the African Development Bank.

As at the time this report was gathered, our source close to the Ashanti cabal of the NPP hinted that, the choice of Kwabena Agyepong was agreed at the time Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen was in serious contention for the position of Director General of the World Trade Organization.

But now that he has missed out on the WTO job, we are yet to unravel what new development has unfolded within the Ashanti bloc; either Kwabena Agyepong will put a hold on his ambition and allow Alan Keyerematen an easy ride or the latter endorses him to contest.

It appears arriving at a favorable and unanimous decision in the Ashanti bloc will prove difficult, especially when Kwabena Agyepong has whispered his presidential ambitions to lots of people to the extent that his wife, who is studying for her PhD was heard telling close friends how she has started schooling herself on the rudiments of flag bear?s wife and eventually, first lady.

Source: A. A. Yayra (The Al-Hajj)

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