General News of Saturday, 26 April 2014

Source: Public Agenda

Plans to remove Bawumia uncovered

With the Alan Kyeremateng camp sweeping almost all the key positions in the NPP at the party’s recently held delegates’ conference, the stage appears to be set for horse-trading within the NPP, with a northern candidate being pitched against another northern candidate for the NPP running-mate slot, Public Agenda can confirm.

In our Monday, April 14th edition, we revealed how elements within the Alan Kyeremateng camp in 2012 infiltrated Nana Akufo-Addo’s campaign and succeeded in undermining his bid for the presidency.

The Alan Kyerematen campaign strategy for 2016, according to our report, has been varied to include the capture of major positions in the party by whatever means possible, and to turn around to call for party unity after the party’s delegates’ conference. We projected that Nana Addo will win the flagbearership race to offset any power imbalance that would be created by the Alan camp winning key executive positions in the party. We further reported that the Alan faction will then deploy a well rehearsed plot characterised by the usual pretence, and aimed at making the world believe that they (Alan loyalists) are genuinely working for Nana Addo's campaign while indeed undermining his efforts.

Unfolding events have so far confirmed our analysis and projections. The Alan camp has succeeded in annexing the chairmanship, the general secretaryship, and other key positions in the party, and if the view that one cannot win an election unless fully backed by the party machinery is anything to go by, then Nana Addo, tipped by many, including even sympathizers of Alan, to win the flagbearership contest, is left with no option than to negotiate a mutually acceptable and mutually rewarding deal with the new party executives for their support, or risk being undermined in 2016.

The Daily Graphic reported on April 13 that “Even before Afoko could be confirmed by the Electoral Commission as the ultimate winner of the hotly contested poll in Tamale, where the party held its national delegates conference on Saturday, Alan Cash (as he is also known), poured his heart out and said it portends a good omen for the party.”

Paul Afoko has subsequently held his first press conference during which he made a passionate appeal to would-be flagbearer aspirants and their supporters to "stop the unnecessary media circus and rally behind the new leadership to reconcile and bring unity to the party". But his neutrality in the scramble for the flag-bearership slot is doubted by supporters of the other aspirants, including Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Apraku, Dr. Richard Anane and Dr. Frimpong Boateng.

Intelligence gathered by Public Agenda shortly after the NPP delegates' conference in Tamale suggest that the Afoko agenda for 2016 is to exact a rather high price as a condition for throwing his full weight behind Nana Addo. He and his allies within the new executives, according to some party insiders, are planning to ask Nana Addo to drop his preferred choice for the running mate slot – Dr. Alhaji Mahammud Bawumia, and replace him with president Mahama’s kinsman, Boniface Abubakar Saddique, former Member of Parliament for Salaga, and former Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, Minister of Manpower Development Youth and Employment, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, and a leading member of the Paul Afoko campaign team.

This will not be the first time Boniface Saiddique’s name is popping up as a possible candidate for the running mate slot. In 2012, he was in strong contention against his fellow Gonjaman, the Lepowura, Alhaji M.N.D. Jawula, for the slot. That contest saw the Paramount Chief of Kpembe Traditional Area, Kpembewura Kebasigi Ibrahim Haruna, causing a stir in Salaga, by openly declaring Alhaji Jawula as his choice of running mate to Nana Akufo-Addo in the 2012 elections.

The Chief, who apparently doubted the competence of Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, described Alhaji Jawula as the best option for Nana Addo and the then ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in their quest for victory in the December 2012 elections.

Kpembewura Kebasigi, a former Northern Regional Minister, made his pronouncement at his palace in Salaga, when Nana Akufo-Addo paid a courtesy call on him as part of his campaign tour of the Northern Region. According to him, Alhaji Jawula was more experienced for the job and observed that his partnership with Nana Addo would attract more people into the NPP.

The Kpembewura, however, came under fierce criticisms from people within Salaga for confirming what they termed his “protracted hatred” for Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface.

The rationale for pushing the Boniface chip once more is premised on the assumption that if Bawumia is allowed to partner Nana Akufo-Addo, and in the event of a victory for the pair, Bawumia might use the opportunity to prepare himself to succeed Nana Addo in 2024, and that could pose a serious threat to Alan’s presidential ambitions - he may have to give up or postpone it to 2032. The Bawumia threat, therefore, has to be eliminated as a matter of strategic importance.

Though it remains unclear whether Nana Addo will succumb to the pressures that would be brought to bear on him to drop his favourite candidate for the running mate slot, sources close to him say it is unlikely that Bawumia would be dropped.

If Nana Addo decides to stick with Bawumia, then he will have to find ways of identifying and countering possible moves to undo him in 2016.