…Plots Succession Scheme of an Ofori-Atta/Bawumia NPP Presidential Ticket
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s cheeky overtures of nonchalance about the 2020 elections are not punctuations of power drunkenness.
The Republic has picked up that the indifference is a tell-up of how the President has been exorcised of power-lust and is looking forward to crowning the achievement of a lifelong dream of becoming President with a great legacy as swansong.
Nana wants to share the same galaxy with Ghana’s iconic first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, but does not have age and health on his side, and so he has settled on using the four years he has to make a magical imprint.
But the Akyem bloc of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) did not fight so hard and so long to only sojourn at the Presidency.
The Republic has picked up that a deliberate hegemony that the President has instituted with his administration is to be firmed up, rather than loosened, upon his step-down, as part of plans to make the NPP an Akyem heirloom for a long time to come.
Chief in the plans, within the short term, is that Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, will succeed Akufo-Addo as flagbearer of the NPP into the 2020 elections. In the detail of that succession plan, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia will be maintained as Running Mate.
However, a relegation of Dr. Bawumia to second fiddle position, after he has served as Vice President, will be a swim against the tide of public opinion, as it will highlight the Akan ethnocentrism of the NPP, which has been one of the party’s most un-complimenting traits.
To weather this, the Akyem bloc appears to have rallied behind another Northerner for the National Chairmanship position of the party.
Several months after The Republic reported President Akufo-Addo’s support of Alhaji Abdul Rahman Abubakari’s quest as NPP Chairman Aspirant, he has finally confirmed he will run for the post.
Alhaji Short, as he is affectionately called, has his posters in town already, even though the NPP has not resolved issues surrounding the indefinite suspension of Paul Afoko, as National Chairman.
And to ensure that Alhaji Short and a host of other people within the party, supportive of the Akyem bloc, are elected, the NPP, under President Akufo-Addo’s leadership, has come up with some interesting conditionalities.
On Monday, this week, the Ashanti Regional Delegates Conference of the NPP tabled and approved reforms that are seen to be favorable to the current leadership of the party, which has managed to kick out Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong, National Chairman and General Secretary respectively, perceived to be pro- Ashanti.
As part of the reforms, it has been approved that a precondition for eligibility to contest for a position should be that the prospective contestant has already served in an executive position before.
To qualify to contest for the position of Constituency Officer, the aspirant must have served as a coordinator for a polling station or electoral area before. For a regional executive position, the prospective contestant must have served as an executive of a constituency in the region before.
For a national executive position, the aspirant must have served in a regional position before. A Parliamentary primary aspirant must have served as an electoral area executive, a constituency executive or an elected assemblyman with NPP sympathies.
It was also approved for all party officers from the constituency, regional and national levels to be included in the party’s Electoral College to vote in elections for National Women’s Organizer, National Youth Organizer and National Nasara Coordinator.
In keeping with the new reforms, the Akyem bloc is believed to have carefully planned its candidate choice for the upcoming National Delegates Conference – Alhaji Short, who is being put up for the National Chairmanship position is the current Upper West Regional Chairman of the NPP.
Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, who is being supported to contest for the National General Secretary position, is a former general secretary whose reelection Nana Akufo-Addo had supported in 2014. Sammy Awuku, the party’s National Youth Organizer, who turned down a Deputy Ministerial appointment to work for the party, will contest for National Organizer, while Joyce Zempare, the party’s current Greater Accra Women’s Organizer, is being propped up to contest for the National Women’s Organizer position.
Ms Zempare is preferred over the immediate past Women’s Organizer, Otiko Afisa Djaba, because of Otiko’s perceived notoriety for bitchiness, which is seen to have brought disgrace to the Akufo-Addo government. She is also distrusted because of her family ties with former President Mahama.
The permutations indicate that all things being equal, the Akyem faction of the NPP will strengthen their stranglehold on the party with the upcoming national delegates conference, as money will be splurged to maintain allies at the helm, after Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong had been rooted out in 2015.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bawumia, a Northerner with NDC background, appears to have already accepted the fate to be Running Mate to Ken Ofori-Atta in 2020.
Sources point out how during President Akufo-Addo’s maiden encounter with the press, the Vice President had humbled himself to the Finance Minister.
In the course of answering Citi FM’s Bernard Avle’s question about government’s huge appetite for borrowing, the Vice President indicated the lordship of the Finance minister over him.
“The Finance Minister is here, he is keeping all of us in line,” Dr. Bawumia had said at a point.
The revelation about the Finance Minister’s superintendence over the Vice President, who is supposed to be the head of the Economic Management Team, left many wondering whether the cart has been put before the horse by the Akufo-Addo government.
Sources confirm this is the case – the Finance Minister, who ought to report to the Vice President, does not report to him; Ken Ofori- Atta reports to Senior Minister, and Akyem kinsman, Yaw Osafo- Maafo.
But long before the revelation about Ken Ofori-Atta’s superiority over the Vice President in Akufo-Addo’s government, the Senior Minister himself had indicated that his portfolio was to function as a coordinator of all financial activities of the government – in spite of the Vice President’s position as head of the Economic Management Team.
According to Osafo-Maafo, his position requires him to report directly to the President.
As Ken Ofori-Atta, a cousin of the President, controls the strategic portfolio of Finance, and Yaw Osafo-Maafo is in charge of coordination of Finance, the Vice President has effectively been rendered useless, with his headship of the Economic Management Team only ceremonial.
The position deprives him of the opportunity to shore up cash that he would need to run a campaign to succeed Nana Akufo-Addo as flagbearer of the NPP in 2020.
While Dr. Bawumia is handicapped this way by President Akufo-Addo’s strange organogram, which makes the Senior Minister report to him directly, it has put Ken Ofori-Atta in the juicy portfolio where he can shore up the necessary cash for his campaign in 2020.
Dr. Bawumia appears to have no choice but to accept the arrangement for him to play second fiddle in 2020.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Fiifi Samuels