Columnist: Emmanuel Opoku
In 1992 the National Democratic Congress led by Jerry John Rawlings as the flag bearer selected Kow Nkensen Arkaah as his running mate after the Progressive Alliance between National Democratic Congress, EGLE party and National Convention Party. Jerry John Rawlings was from Volta Region (Minority tribe) and Kow Nkensen Arkaah an Akan (Majority tribe) from Central Region. Prof Adu Boahen then flag bearer of New Patriotic Party selected Lawyer R. I. Alhassan (Former Tolon MP) as his running mate. In 1996 after the alleged punched-up between Jerry John Rawlings and his Vice President Kow Nkensen Arkaah, selected Prof.
Atta Mills as his running mate. Kow Nkessen Arkaah (Stubborn cat) became the running mate to John Ageykum Kuffuor (two akans) after the Great Alliance. In the 2000 elections John Agyekum Kuffuor picked Aliu Mahama but Prof Mills the NDC flagbearer picked Martin Amidu (now Special Prosecutor) as his running mate. In 2004 John Agyekum Kuffuor maintained Aliu Mahama but Prof Atta Mills changed his running mate, Martin Amidu but selected Muhammed Mumuni from the Northern part of Ghana as his running mate.
In 2008 Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo the flagbearer of NPP picked Dr. Bawumia as his running mate, Prof Mills the flag bearer of NDC once again changed his running for the 2004 elections but picked John Dramani Mahama from the Northern part of Ghana. In 2012 after the demise of Prof Mills, John Dramani Mahama picked P.K. Amissah Arthur from Central Region as his running mate, he went on to maintain him for the 2016 elections. Nana Akuffo maintained Dr Bawumia for the 2012 and 2016 elections.
NDC is the only political party that has elected their flag bearer, the immediate past President John Dramani Mahama. Now, who Partners John Dramani Mahama as running mate for the 2020 elections? I have heard and read a lot of arguments proposing some potential names for running mate to John Mahama. Some advocates even proposed a running mate from then Volta Region (Both Oti and Volta Region).
In the fourth Republic the only time we had both flagbearer and running from the majority tribe (Akan) is J.A. Kuffuor and Arkaah in 1996 after Great Alliance but they lost the elections. Since 1992 the flag bearer running mate combination had mostly been Minority/Majority tribes or the South/North combination. The NDC under the fourth Republic has always had an Akan from Central Region (Fante) either as Flag bearer or running mate;
Jerry John Rawlings/ Arkaah (Fante) 1992 elections
Jerry John Rawlings/Atta Mills (Fante) 1996 elections Atta Mills (Fante)/Martin Amidu 2000 elections
Atta Mills (Fante)/Muhammed Mumuni 2004 elections
Atta Mills (Fante)/John Dramani Mahama 2008 elections
John Dramani Mahama/P.K. Ammisah Arthur (Fante) 2012 elections
John Dramani Mahama/P.K. Ammisah Arthur (Fante) 2016 elections.
It could also be established from the above analysis that H.E. John Dramani Mahama (from the North) the flag bearer of the NDC will definitely pick the running mate from the south (Akan) and that has already taken out somebody from Greater Accra and Volta Region. It could also be inferred from the analysis above that, the NDC flagbeaerer will not pick an Akan from Central Region again. That leaves him with the options to pick the running mate from either Ashanti Region, Brong Ahafo (Bono East, Ahafo and Bono), Western Region (Western North and Western Region) or Eastern Region.
Brong Ahafo Region (Bono East, Bono and Ahafo).
The Brong Ahafo Region have had a greater chunk of representation in NDC in recent times with Asiedu Nketia securing his fourth term. In the current National executives, Brong Ahafo Region have taken significant positions in the party, the General Secretary, Women’s Organiser and National Communication officer respectively. The former first lady and the potential first lady in 2021, H.E. Lordina Mahama, the wife of H.E. John Dramani Mahama (flagbearer of NDC) is also from the Brong Ahafo Region. Regional balance is very important in Ghanaian politics, for that matter picking a running mate from Brong Ahafo Region will disadvantageously intensify the dominance of Brong Ahafo Region in the party. That notwithstanding, there are good materials from Brong Ahafo Region.
Until recently the Eastern Region have not had a much representation in the party at the higher hierarchy. In the Current National executives the National Chairman (Ofosu Ampofo) and the National Youth Organiser (George Opare Addo) are from the Eastern Region. Though there are some people from Eastern Region who may be lobbying for the running mate position but that will be detrimental to the regional balance proponents. In the scheme of things the party and the flag bearer will likely not pick the running mate from Eastern Region.
Western Region (Western and Western North)
Western Region NDC can pride themselves with the likes of the Ahwois (Ato, Kwesi and Prof Kwamina), Totobi Quachie etc. who are a huge block in the NDC. Apparently, they have had and maintained their influence in NDC for a very long time. However, nobody from the western Region had occupied the National Chairmanship position, the running mate or the flag bearer before. I have read and heard some advocates from Western region lobbying for the running mate position for the 2020 elections. I wish them well but I doubt it will be their turn at this time.
Ashanti Region is the largest Region in Ghana now, with 47 constituencies. The political dynamics in Ashanti Region is very diverse and complex. The NDC in recent times have done so well in Ashanti Region. The NDC percentage votes in Ashanti Region has dwindled from 34% in 1992 to 23% in 2016 (33% in 1996, 22% in 2000, 25% in 2004, 27% in 2008, 28% in 2012, and 23% 2016). This trend will be discussed thoroughly on another platform. NPP believe that they can win elections with Ashanti and Eastern Regions in Ghana. They have in the past provided mechanisms to strengthen their holds in these two Regions especially Ashanti Region.
Ashanti Region NDC can pride themselves with the likes of the former first Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, P.V. Obeng, Kwame Peprah, Betty Mould Iddrisu etc. but like Eastern Region they haven’t occupied the National Chairmanship, the running mate and the flag bearer positions respectively in NDC before but Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and Betty Mould Iddrisu both from Kwabre constituency in Ashanti Region had unsuccessfully contested for Flagbearer and National chairman respectively in the party before.
I have read and heard about possible names to be considered for the running mate position from Ashanti Region. Strategically it will enhance the already deep seated democratic credentials of NDC in terms of regional balance. It will be the first time NDC had considered a running mate from the main strong hold of NPP in Ghana.
Many political pundits believe that it will go a long way to enhance NDC’s electoral fortunes in the 2020 elections after all the last an Ashanti was very close to power in NDC i.e. Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings they managed between 32 to 34% in percentage votes. But that’s not really relevant now, the NPP will definitely suffer some voter apathy in Ashanti Region. People in Ashanti Region are so much disappointed in the Akuffo Addo led NPP government and these disgruntled party people or voters may not turn out to vote as they did in 2016.
There is also some despondency of the Ashantis in NPP as the ‘Akyem caucus’ led by Nana Akuffo Addo have vowed to build both financial and political empire to take full control of the party (The extension of old ‘fight’, Danquah/Busia factions). Will the NDC take advantage of this ‘incumbency disadvantage’ to pick the running mate from Ashanti Region?