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Opinions of Friday, 15 November 2019

Columnist: Maxwell Okamafo Addo

3 Game-changers Mahama is considering as running mate and not business mate

Vice presidential picks should always share values and vision, and should not have a dislike for one another, in order not to produce divisiveness in the administration.

To many observers, it seems that in looking for a running mate you need an extraordinary pairing of skills, influence, leadership, and trust; a successful relationship extending well beyond years in service together.

In our publication on the very important and topical issue of a suitable running mate for John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the national 2020 Presidential elections, we have received a lot of reactions we consider very interesting and worth sharing with the NDC as a political party and Ghanaians in general as a people yearning for a change in their fortunes and the way politics has been done.

Many names have been thrown up over the weeks and months: Yes, Mahama’s running mate is big deal, and something that requires tact and political savvy. Observers say these three personalities can add a lot of value to the ticket, and enhances the sheer magnetism that Mahama represents, particularly in certain parts of the country.

“The NDC needs Vice President who can lead that common sense revolution. The NDC needs personalities with uprightness and fierce commitment to good governance who are well known.

While there are various nuances in the reactions of those who declared themselves either as members, or supporters or sympathizers of the NDC, the major concerns they raised can be summarized to include the fact that they are expecting a person with a long history of active participation in the affairs of the party, particularly at grassroots level to be selected. Such a person should also have a demonstrated track record of an unblemished public service career.

He/she should be someone who due to his integrity can command the respect and trust of all including the flag bearer, the council of elders, the party executives as well as the rank and file. He/she should have the capacity to serve as a bridge between all the factions within the NDC. Very importantly, he should be someone who can command the respect and trust of floating and uncommitted voters as well as disaffected members of the other political parties.

Such a person should also be able to have the capacity to cultivate the respect, affection and support of ethnic and religious boundaries in the country.

Most people opined that such a person must come from the majority Akan or Volta regions since the flag bearer is from a minority ethnic region. However, it was pointed out that since 1992, the central region has been on the NDC ticket either as flag bearer or running mate in all the elections and therefore will cause disaffection if the trend is repeated.

The opinion of the second category which broadly includes those who said they are floating and uncommitted voters, simply put is that they want someone with an unblemished record of public service.

A running mate to John Mahama who has integrity and credibility and who will restore integrity and credibility into governance and also restore the trust and confidence in politicians which is almost lost.

They want someone who has shown a modest temperament in his approach to public discourse and can show them proof of being a politician who reaches out to others not only of his own political party in finding solutions to national problems.

Someone who has demonstrated a commitment to principles. They complained about the rampant corruption in the country and would support someone who convinces them through his known record of public service to be incorruptible and will fight corruption, including investigating and prosecuting all public officials who misappropriate and/or steal public resources.

The opinions of the last category that broadly are those disaffected with their parties and would vote for the NDC if the conditions are right, particularly disaffected members of the NPP, are that they want someone who will aid development in their districts and towns. A lot of them would want someone who would actively support the fight against rampant corruption and action to punish even members of the government of the NPP who they believe have stolen state properties and made their living conditions worse than they were under President Mahama. This really captures currently the mood of Ghanaians regarding corruption as an important electoral issue.

Running through the reactions of all the groups, particularly those who are disaffected with the performance of their party the NPP, is the notion that “all politicians are the same”. There is this strong sense of frustration and anger, particularly among the floating voters, who are disappointed at the failure of the current NPP administration of Nana Addo to fulfill their election promises.

In the course of expressing their opinions, some names which were amongst those that we put out came up strongly for consideration. We will soon present to you the profiles of these personalities. STAY TUNED!!!

The contest features the likelihood of incumbent President Nana Addo of the New Patriotic Party NPP if God Permits because he’s not announced it. And Former President John Mahama the candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and a former vice president and President of Ghana.

Ghanaians are also keen to pass their verdict on government policies aimed at tackling the persistent socio-economic challenges of rising poverty, inequality, and high levels of youth unemployment. But people are asking who will replace the Late Vice President Kwesi Amissah Arthur who was incorruptible.

Ghanaian electorate deserves a running mate choice laced with decency, integrity, and honour, not dirt, corruption and infamy, another important choice that may influence the character.

Someone who would be a Magnetic puller for the neutrals and Middle class?

Some have argued that a respected Ashanti background influential Running mate will help the permutation. The argument is that it would be historic If the NDC for the first time chooses a running mate from the Ashanti region would be very strategic and important for Victory 2020.

They’ll feel let down if a man they have quickly and passionately adopted as one of their own let them down.

My “A Class” source tells me that those making noise will find their feverish pitch soon. It is worthy to note some of the following interesting details.

Based on conventional wisdom, incumbents should normally have the advantage over challengers in any election (especially in Africa), but recent evidence proves otherwise. The historic 2015 presidential election in Nigeria, the 2016 elections in Ghana, Benin Republic, and many other countries prove that incumbency is really no advantage.

Having said that it’s worthy to note some of them affirm that consultation is a key ingredient in every political process.

Nonetheless, the selection of a running mate should be based on loyalty, trust, experience, temperament and capacity to perform the responsibilities of the office.

THE INTIMIDATING CV of AKWASI OPONG-FOSU – A QUINTESSENTIAL POLITICIAN WITH INTEGRITY, A MENTOR AND AN A THOUGHT LEADER

Akwasi Opong-Fosu began his political leadership role as a student leader in the University of Ghana, Legon from where in 1982, at an early age of twenty four, was appointed by the Chairman of the PNDC to Obuasi as PNDC District Secretary-a position he held till 1985 when he was posted to Ahafo Ano District, Tepa where he continued as District Secretary and later District Chief Executive for a period of fifteen years. Thus, making him the longest-serving District Chief Executive in Ghana. He also served as a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development from 2000 to 2001.

A man whose pedigree – nationally, sub-regionally, regionally and globally attests to the fact that the NDC is a repository of high-quality leadership materials like Opong Fosu. A consummate politician, a compelling personality and is not a Featherweight or Paperweight in politics.

He’s a master tactical politician who will add value to the ticket and is someone who can rally the people, and attract votes, particularly in his own area, and then nationwide.

The NDC has come a long way. With a mission to see to it that poverty will be eradicated in Ghana; until every child has access to quality and free education, until Ghanaian girls and women are genuinely empowered; until all Ghanaians are truly equal under the law, until all of us live a meaningful life within an inclusive community. this he understands as a local government expert.

He is on record not only as the longest-serving local government political appointee in the country but also distinguished himself as a leader, mentor and achiever in the Ashanti Region where he was for eighteen years a local government practitioner.

He was also a key player in catalyzing the formation of the NDC as a formidable political party in the Ashanti Region. He later served as a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (2000-2001).

Under President Atta Mills, he served as the President’s Representative at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as a Member of the Transition Team and later went to head the Local Government Service.

He was elected as Member of Parliament for Amenfi East in the Western Region (2013-2017) and was appointed by President John Mahama to Ministerial portfolios in Local Government and Rural Development, Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Minister of State at the Presidency responsible for Development Authorities in the Republic of Ghana (From 2013-2017).

During his tenure as a District Chief Executive, he held a number of leadership positions nationally and internationally and for which reason he has been recognized with an award by the United Cities and Local Governments for his contributions to decentralisation and local governance and most importantly his leadership role in the unification of the Anglophone and Francophone African local authorities into one continental body during his tenure as President of the Africa Union of Local Authorities.

Positions held include:

President- National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana

President-Africa Union of Local Authorities

Vice-President-International Union of Local Authorities

Board Member-International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)

Chairman-Africa- Caribbean- Pacific Local Government Platform

Member-UN Advisory Committee on Local Authorities

As a Pan-Africanist and passionate about Africa’s growth, and an enthusiastic advocate of an enhanced position and role for Africa in a globalised world, Akwasi Opong-Fosu has addressed international forums such as the UN, Crans Montana Forum, the Wall Street Economic Summit, Marrakech Security Forum, Michigan State University amongst others focusing on leadership and governance, peace and security, trade and investment and sustainable development.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Honoured by the Adansi District Council and Ashanti Goldfields Corporation (AGC) for initiating the Obuasi Facelift Programme-a social investment programme which included the Obuasi Market, Adansi District Hospital, Len Clay Stadium, Obuasi Town roads among others- which was funded by AGC Ltd. Honoured by the UNITED CITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS for his contribution in enhancing decentralisation and local governance as a member of the United Nations Advisory Committee on Local Authorities and also championing the unification of the Francophone, Lusophone and Anglophone local government bodies into one continental organisation the United Cities and Local Governments-Africa as President of the Africa Union of Local Authorities. In recognition of this role, Akwasi Opong-Fosu was the proud recipient of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Service Award in New York for his distinguished public service career in the Republic of Ghana and for promoting Africa at the world stage. The citation noted that ‘his distinguished career in public service was inspired and motivated by a desire to impact positively on the progress and well-being of people and society at large’.

He has been a strong advocate on diversity and inclusion in governance and resource distribution and was recently recognised at the 3rd Diversity and Inclusion Conference in Mumbai with the 101 Global Diversity and Inclusion Leaders Award for his advocacy role in promoting diversity and inclusiveness especially in urging the AU to promote diversity and inclusiveness in member states to foster peace, security and sustainable development.

Akwasi Opong-Fosu is a product of the University of Ghana, Legon (BSc Chemistry/Zoology); University of London, SOAS (MSc Public Policy & Management); GIMPA ( PGCert Public Admin). He has also pursued career-enhancing courses in leadership, governance, globalisation, international relations at London School of Economics and Political Science, Harvard Kennedy School, Centre for Applied Studies in International Negotiations (Geneva).

Akwasi Opong-Fosu has roots in Ashanti (Agona Royal Family of Trede) and Western Region (Afransie).

Alex Segbefia. The NPP are watching with keen interest this Great Politian. If the NDC will choose a Voltarian as a running mate it can change the Dynamics for the NDC. During the last elections they did not come out to vote, it could be pacification.

Observers say if the NDC chooses a Voltarian as a running mate it would be a solemn Catastrophe for the NPP. Others say the Rapport and Gesture at this year’s Hogbetsotso between Ex-President Mahama and Ex-President Rawlings the Founder of the NDC party is likely to bring a Voltarian candidate.

Alex is still in the Race, one of the Best Bet. Alexander Percival Segbefia is a learned person. He’s a party man and has been able to prove himself as a humble leader who has exhibited that his humility is known beyond bounds.

What the people of Ghana are looking for is a humble selfless, truly confident intelligent, non-corrupt God-fearing person, who is hardworking and focused. His strong record on ethics and government integrity cannot be questioned in Ghana. He was a Former Crown State Attorney in Westminster London, former NDC Chairman UK/Ireland, A former Minister of Health. Hon Segbefia was trusted by the late President Mills who made him a deputy Chief of Staff in his administration, then-Deputy Defense Minister before the Health Minister.

He is from the Volta Region and is respected amongst Ghanaians, his perfect human relations, courtesies, and good communication skills are his trump card.

Ghanaians are always happy to hear him speak and listen to him with rapt attention when he speaks. He’s currently the Director of International Relations of the NDC party. He’s quiet, and obviously ambitious politician and a silent political heavyweight. He will bring on board Complementary Skills.

Alex, by appearance and history, is not a noisemaker; he is more of a man of the center, and already has the finesse for a vice-presidential relationship and has a very warming face with the public. He is anti-indiscipline and a serious person when it comes to working for Ghana.

He is grounded in a mind of independency. He is all about reality rather than a wide-open fantasy. He is a man of character. He is a staunch Christian and a man of tolerance.

Alex is a father, public servant, and party man, and has an impeccable, unimpeachable conscience – a clear vision of what the future should look like for the Mahama administration.

He’s one of the most passionate advocates for the youths.Especially in the area of education.

The chemistry between Mahama and Alex Ghanaians say will reflect discipline and a healthy political relationship.

But above all, as a party man he has proven that he is bathed in confidence, truthfulness and selflessness. Observers say his unique political style that is anchored on loyalty, commitment and respect for the party. And is a quiet and vibrant man whose depth of knowledge is arresting. He is a man who understands Ghana’s current economic conditions as much as president Mahama does.

Kofi Buah – The Termites King of the Knights

As indicated earlier, Hon Buah – as I would describe him – is like a termite. People often wake up in the morning to see the magnificent and aesthetic anthill built overnight by termites. When termites are building or constructing the anthills, nobody sees them; nobody hears their noise. As a matter of fact, they don’t make noise when building; neither do they make noise after they had built anthills. This is exactly who Hon Kofi Buah. He is a silent achiever. He works and achieves without making any noise or fuss. He is a noiseless achiever.

Analysts also believe that in a political climate like Ghana, parties will consider the nationality, education and career, religion and political antecedents of the running mate. These, they say, are factors that will get more votes for the presidential candidate, all of which the Former Energy Minister under President Mahama administration has.

The only sitting MP in the race. He cuts across and has good human relations. He’s a grassroots man and has an enviable record when it comes to grassroots politics.

The Ruling NPP is never comfortable with him because of his pedigree in politics and uprooting the experienced NPP current Chairman Hon Freddy Blay from his seat in Elembelle.

His yes is his yes and constantly winning new people to the Party. He’s a mobilizer in Politics. He might not also have clay feet but has a harmonious working relationship with President Mahama. No matter how many push-ups the lizard does, it can never be as big as a crocodile. He’s in the race.

Pope Francis said, “Our dignity begins with (work).” Power, money, culture do not give us dignity, society sets certain standards by which people measure and it is the conviction of every Ghanaian that if the nation cannot bequeath anything to Ghanaians at all, it must at least bequeath to them, a leader with a high sense of morality, uprightness, and humility.

A lot of Ghanaians who have come close to him says he has a deep sense of appreciation and will to serve his fatherland well especially knowing the enormous responsibility of the office of the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana and is not unaware of the challenges posed by the dictates of that office and shall surmount such challenges.

They believe his choice by President Mahama to occupy this office will be hinged on the belief that he will continue to bring his wealth of experience garnered over the years in the private as well as the public sector, to bear in the discharge of duties and actualization for mother Ghana.

Kofi Buah’s nationalistic reactions to every national emergency have justified this. He able to engage and coordinates party policies for it to be communicated to the general public and allows for public views and otherwise.

He is indeed a listening man if selected the people from Western Region say will be a divine call to help John Mahama to restore the lost glory of our dear land, Ghana. And it would be the handwork of God.

While a presidential aspirant emerges the candidate of a political party by winning a primary election, the vice-presidential candidate is selected or appointed as a running mate by the candidate, and then the party would reach a consensus reached by both.

most political analysts, say currently the chairman of the ruling NPP Hon Freddy Blay is from the western region and .he was removed from office as an MP by Hon Kofi Buah.

If the people of the Western Region do not get the running mate Slot it can be used against the region,

From the works of Kofi Boah, most people say he’s nationalistic in the sight of John Mahama. Observers say it shows a pattern of trust and loyalty because the choice of a running mate in an election is strategic.

The personalities, background, affiliations and political clout of the aspirants are considered before the candidate is chosen. This he stands out.

The analysts believe that in a political climate like Ghana, parties will consider the nationality, education and career, religion and political antecedents of the running mate.

These, they say, are factors that will get more votes for the presidential candidate something that kofi Boah has.The Vice-President is a very important position that needs competence to perform in that position.