Now that President John Dramani Mahama has been massively endorsed by the NDC in the recently held Presidential primaries, the focus has shifted to the urgent but strategic question of running mate for the 2016 general elections.
So far, there are two blocks of opinions on this urgent question of who partners Mahama in 2016.
One group is already openly campaigning. And that is the group that is championing the retention or maintenance of the status quo. These people are riding on the bandwagon of “we don’t change a winning team”.
They want President John Mahama to make Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur an automatic running mate in 2016.
This group of “Maintain Amissah Arthur” campaigners are focusing on the easiest way to maintain power in 2016 and they think Amissah Arthur is a sure bet.
This group appears to be championed by the General Secretary of the NDC Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah.
In a recent Press conference after the Presidential primaries, he demanded that the President name his running mate before the end of December, as if it is in his power to make such demands.
However there is another group which includes yours truly who believes that such a pronouncement from the NDC General Secretary amounts to stampeding the President into taking the path of least resistance and which is not necessarily in the present-future interest of the NDC.
Some of us think that choosing a running mate for the NDC in 2016 should go beyond the short-term objective of winning 2016 elections. It is also important to consider a succession plan for the NDC leadership to maintain power in the future after President Mahama or to lead the party back into power in case the NDC goes into opposition after 2016 – unless they think NDC winning 2016 elections is automatic. Some of us don’t think so.
Can Vice-President Amissah-Arthur lead the NDC in opposition? Can he lead the NDC to recapture power in the near future? Does he have the broad appeal to succeed President Mahama? These are questions that should occupy the minds of all those calling for the maintenance of the status quo.
Apart from that, the decision of the President must take into consideration the dynamics in the opposition NPP.
There are all indications that the opposition NPP could change their flag bearer due to the failing health condition of Nana Akuffo Addo. If this should happen, the person chosen to lead the NPP may inform President Mahama’s choice of his running mate as well. There is therefore more reasons why the President must take his time to think through before coming out to name his 2016 running mate.
It will be prudent for the President John Mahama to take his time, adopt a wait and see posture to give him ample time to make the best decision in the interest of Ghana without bowing to needless pressure from General Mosquito & Co.
History is there to guide us. President Rawlings was allowed to choose his running mate Prof. Mills against the will of many party people. President Mills also was not stampeded into choosing John Mahama as his running mate. Why should Asiedu Nketiah, the NDC General Secretary try to bulldoze the party power structures instead of allowing internal democracy to play? Is it because of personal interest, national interest or party interest?
It is important if not crucial for His Excellency the President of Ghana to resist this seeming stampede on his choice of running mate and look at the massive talents available in his government and the NDC party and choose somebody with that stamina, charisma, experience, popularity and mass appeal to lead the NDC after his exit.
Some of us will not sit down and allow any imposition of a running mate from some people in the party who think that they know it all. The NDC is a Democratic congress. If Asiedu Nketiah and his cohorts want to campaign for any candidate of their choice, at least let them wait for a signal from the President and not rather be the ones giving signals to the President.
Whoever the President ends up choosing as running mate for 2016 should not be in order to satisfy the whims and caprices of some individuals, but for the future good of the NDC and Ghana.
If you ask me, Vice President Amissah Arthur should be allowed to rest. We need a real thorough-bred leader after President Mahama.