The Flagbearer of The NDC for the 2024 elections John Mahama has mentioned that he will chose his running mate next year. Having said that there’s already been commentaries and rumours within the rank and file of the party as to who the running mate of JM should be.
Some are of the views that JM should maintain Prof. Jane Nana Opoku Agyeman to rechoe gender balance, feminism and affirmative action that formed the basis for choosing her as running mate in 2020. Some also are of the view that JM should chose a party Stelwart who can leverage for votes in Ashanti and Eastern and other Akan dominated Regions for the reason that the NPP has elected a Flagbearer from NDC strong hold.
In putting these assertions and views under analysis and hypothesis, The decision to choose Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman was more influenced feminism and affirmative action and more so NDC as a democratic Party, the US Democratic party choice of a woman Kamala Harris as a running mate to Biden had a bearing on ÑDC choice of woman as running mate in the Hope that it could have bearing on the electorates. It paid off in the US but not in Ghana meaning the dynamics of affirmative action and feminism in the US and Ghana are not sàme.
In there circumstances of the above, let me reiterate that the prevailing circumstances and situation that got Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman to be chosen as running mate of JM in 2020 are not the same now. 2024 elections would not be about feminism or affirmative action. It about activism, proactiveness and political strategy.
Ghanaians have witnessed bad governance and economic mismanagement under the Akuffo Addo and Bawumia government so change is Eminent. Ghanaians are looking up to a Leader who when elected would be more resilient and pragmatic in addressing the sustainable livelihood development, social and economic needs of the people in a short term and long term and it is more likely that JM could bridge that gap based on his track records. But to accomplish this the NDC must first win the 2024 general elections and the choice of running mate could have bearing on the fortunes of the NDC in 2024.
The elections in 2024 requires activism and participatory hence a running mate that has a political clout, mobilizer, grassroot oriented and have served the party at all levels not forgetting the loyalty to JM, and who comes from NPP strong holds could be more appropriate to champion the Course of victory for the NDC. This sterns from the fact that the NDC needs more votes in Ashanti and Eastern regions to win the next year general elections. 30% plus as against 27% in Ashanti and 42% as against 36% in Eastern regions in 2024. So, neither affirmative action nor feminism could leverage for these votes in these regions for the NDC
The NDC need a running mate that can leverage votes NDC in the NPP strong holds and Akan dominated Regions at all cost. . This is because the dynamics of Flagbearer has changed with the NPP. It was initially anticipated that the NPP is an Akan Party so the next Flagbearer could come from Ashanti after the Akyem led government of the NPP. So, by electing Dr. Bawumia as Flagbearer, the NPP has broken the myth that NPP is an Akan Party. The NPP now have a Flagbearer from the north, the Strong hold Of NDC where JM comes from.
So, Whether the NDC likes it or not Bawumia and the NPP will make impact in the north like they did in 2020 especially in the Muslim dominated communities. Ethnicity will also play a role, Mamprusis and Fulanis where Dr. Bawumia and the wife hails from. So, on the balance of probabilities, if the NDC is serious about winning the 2024 general elections, they must also chose a running mate from NPP strong holds (Ashanti and Eastern) who also have strong ethnic background In the South and who has a political clout and acumen, and Can be identified with the grassroot and the rank and file of the party. The one who can mobilize and neutralize NPP votes in their stronghold regions is the best choice for running mate.
So, In fairness and objective analysis I don’t see these qualities in Prof. Jane Nana Opoku Agyeman although she’s a seasoned academia of good standing, credible and competent figure by all standards. The dynamics will not favour her as running mate. This is because even in 2020 though the NDC Won more Parliamentary seats in the Central Region where Jane comes from, the NDC lost the presidential elections in central region. Thus, how could her personality leverage for votes for NDC in the NPP strong holds looking at the posture of the NPP to break the 8 at all cost? That not withstanding, let’s leave the decision to the conscience of JM, National Executive Committee and Council of Elders to decide.
Dr. Michael Richmond Smart-Abbey ( Security, Political, Policy Analyst, Writer and Author)