Feature Article of Saturday, 14 April 2012
Columnist: Obour, Samuel K.
* By Samuel K. Obour*
As the December elections approach, political party researchers and strategists are busy at work, plotting how to deploy their respective parties’ campaign arsenals. Spin doctors are also at work, overstretching political banter. But a lot more will depend on some key people in the NDC and the NPP to make or unmake the fortunes of their parties. I have compiled a list of top NDC politicians who could derail or hinder the Presidential ambition of the NPP's flagbearer, Nana Akufo Addo.
Victory in December is especially important to Nana Addo because it could be his last opportunity as NPP flagbearer. My list is not based on any scientific research, but on my own observations and analyses of NDC communications and public perception of some NDC politicians. Obviously, the first person Nana Addo should fear is incumbent President Mills, who not only beat him in the 2008 election, but also has state resources and institutions at his disposal. Apart from President Mills, however, the following NDC politicians are capable of causing Nana Addo and the NPP problems in December.
*Haruna Idrissu*: The MP for Tamale South is arguably the most performing and most influential member of President Mills’ cabinet. His performance as the Minister for Communications has been nothing short of excellent, having overseen the successful implementation of Mobile Number portability (MNP) in Ghana. Don’t forget that he went ahead with the implementation of MNP in spite of stiff opposition from some of our telecommunications powers. Mr Idrissu has also been at the forefront of the fight against Simbox fraud, a move that has saved the country millions of dollars in revenue.
Indeed, some credible reports indicate that Mr Idrissu is held in high esteem by the President for his “intellectual firepower” and his excellent communications efforts for the government. This probably explains why he was tasked by the President with resolving the situation at the Health Ministry when doctors went on strike last year. Readers will recall that the substantive Minister at the time, Mr Joseph Yileh Chireh, was so overwhelmed by the situation with the doctors that he was ordered by the powers that be to to go on leave. He consequently retired to his village to relax. Well to be fair, it’s not clear whether Mr Yieleh Chireh asked for leave or was ordered to do so. But it took Haruna Idrissu’s tact, intelligence, humility and diplomatic acumen to resolve the situation. Mr Idrissu went ahead to act as Minister for Works and Housing for some time when Mr Alban Bagbin went on leave. For the 2012 elections, President Mills will need Haruna Idrissu, one of the NDC’s best communicators, to help articulate the NDC’s views on socio-Policio-economic issues. He’s confident, eloquent and always on top of issues. Another feather in his proverbial cap that makes him so crucial to the Mills 2012 campaign is his track record as an honest, patriotic and hard working Ghanaian. He has never been in the news for the wrong reasons, making him one the most credible Individuals in government, and someone voters will love to listen to. This man should pose a monumental threat to Nana Akufo Addo’s Presidential bid in December.
*John Mahama*: The Vice President has really vindicated the trust and confidence President Mills reposed in him, when he chose him to be his running mate. First, Mr Mahama has ably represented the latter at state functions and international assignments when the President had not been able to attend.
Second, under his watch as vice President, the Ghanaian economy has expanded by about 14 per cent. Inflation has also stabilised. Mr Mahama will not fail to articulate these when campaigning begins. Most importantly, Mr Mahama has somewhat been able to create the Impression in the minds of many, that he is a humble man who cares about the difficulties ordinary Ghanaians encounter daily. His relatively good looks and his love for social media have also caught the attention of many a youth in Ghana. These definitely, are ammunitions the Veep will unleash in disrupting the campaign of Nana Akufo Addo and the NPP.
*Hannah Tetteh*: Mrs Hannah Tetteh would have been sacked by the President following the disclosure of some wikileaks cables in which she reportedly stated that the Speaker of Parliament, Justice Joyce Bamford Addo, was amenable to NDC party policies. She reportedly added that the NDC replaced Deputy Speaker, Hon. Doe Adjaho replaced Justice Addo whenever a tough parliamentary ruling needed to be made.
According to a section of the press, the Speaker and her deputy impressed on the President to relieve Ms Tetteh of her duties for undermining their integrity. Some sections of the press reported that they even threatened to resign if no action was taken against the Minister. The President, however, would not hear of it, preferring an amicable solution to the matter instead. President Mills, according to reports, found it difficult getting rid of Mrs Tetteh, who was not only instrumental in the NDC’s electoral victory in 2008, but has also been one of the best performing Ministers. Now as the December Election clock tick, Ms Tetteh, a powerful and convincing communicator, will be expected to augment the efforts of the government’s communications machinery, a familiar responsibility for the former Communications Director of the NDC.
*Felix Ofosu Kwakye*: The NPP’s Communication Team is perhaps the most potent in the country. The team comprises very capable individuals, who have kept their NDC counterparts on the back foot, especially in recent times.
However, Mr Kwakye is one NDC communicator who has excelled in his job of “making government look good”. He has met his NPP counterparts facts for facts, figures for figures, aggression for aggression and intellect for intellect. From radio stations to television stations as well as on social networking platforms, Mr Kwakye has forcefully and coherently articulated the views of the government and the NDC party, much to the displeasure of the NPP. With the elections just a little over seven months away, Mr Kwakye will be expected to intensify his communication efforts for the NDC and that could be a major headache for the NPP.
*Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa*: Like Mr Kwakye, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is one of the NDC communicators who have really stood out. His performance a member of the government communications team has been excellent. He has been a strong defensive pillar that even critics of the government acknowledge that he has matured into a fine politician.
He hasn’t done badly too as Deputy Minister for Information. No wonder he has been one of the most vilified NDC politicians in recent times. If the former student politician continues this way, he could cause problems for Nana Akufo Addo.
Another NDC Communicator who could make the political ground too slippery for the NPP is the Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Fifi Kwetey; his communications for government have been mostly informed and very aggressive, causing the NPP discomfort.
The Minister for Finance, Mr Kwabena Duffuor, would have been mentioned for relatively good management of the *economy, but his reputation seems to have been dented by his reported involvement in the 'Woyome Saga' .*
*To contact this writer, email: [email protected]*