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Opinions of Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Columnist: Dela Coffie

Forget about Alex Mould, Mahama needs a policy communicator as running mate

Even before announcing his 2020 bid, Mahama's propensity for “tactile” politics became the subject of intense scrutiny when he was accused of pussyfooting in the matter of his second shot at the presidency. As the issues piled up, Mahama came out promising to change for the better, and even offered a full-throated apology and took responsibility for taking the NDC from government into opposition.

With Mahama’s indecisiveness still, a major concern and probably a huge factor in the selection of his would-be veep, the usual suspects - his so-called advisors are twisting his hands in the decision making the process. The grapevine hadn't lie- the 'Ahwoi brothers' are in the forefront of the elevation of Alex Mould as a possible successor to Mahama just so they can extend their influence across the corridors of power even in the face of growing opposition.

Whereas Mahama himself is talking about shedding his image as an indecisive customer, he makes little effort to do so. I notice his old way of doing things are just as rich as the new ways. He is making very little effort to actually give the NDC a good run in the 2020 elections, or make very little effort to changing the narrative for the party. Mahama's lack of persuasion in telling the nation about his pragmatic vision to replacing the status quo is the most recent manifestation of an uncomfortable truth that continues to encumber his 2020 presidential campaign.

Some of us have argued that Mahama's character faults disqualified him from office. But since he's running, he must as well take himself and the rest of us serious with the selection of his would-be vice president.

The savviest of pundits will tell you that the NDC is going to run a defensive campaign come 2020. And as we've seen in recent times, Mahama and the party would have to swing into the defensive mood anytime Dr. Bawumia shouts incompetence and makes a referral to the issues that led to the rejection of Mahama at the polls in 2016. Which is why Mahama needs a running mate with exceptional capabilities and policy brain. I am not talking about any high-profile flip-flopper or any of the pretenders out there briskly engaging in self-promotional gimmicks.

The would-be veep must necessarily be a policy communicator - Someone who can lead and elevates the conversation and also engage in the contest of ideas in the open marketplace.

He must be someone with the ability to transcend generationally, and partisan divisions, someone with thoughtful approach to weighty issues and message of bipartisanship - Someone capable of outclassing Dr Bawumia on the political stage - Someone with a reputation, experience, earthy charm, improvisation and style - Someone who brings political savvy and fighting qualities to the ticket-it must be a pick widely lauded.

While I am vehemently opposed to the idea of Ahwoi brothers attempting to shove Alex Mould down the throat of the party, I cannot equally comprehend the practicality of Mahama/Mould ticket.

I somehow doubt Alex Mould's policy credentials- He is certainly not the one, and no amount of sizzling political proposals from the SILVER-HAIRED former de facto leader under the Mills presidency will change my opinion about his lack of policy prowess.

In my opinion, gifting the running mate to Alex Mould on the call of the 'Ahwois' is comparable to a man shitting and falling backwards in it.

The ideal running mate is one that fills perceived gaps and weaknesses in the presidential candidate’s personality and background. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
delivered precisely that to the Akufo-Addo campaign in 2016.

Where Akufo-Addo was seen as a very tough customer with a reputation for being decisive, Bawumia was a policy institution. His large Rolodex and deep knowledge of economic management alleviated concerns that Akufo-Addo’s 'greenness' would prevent him from getting things done if elected. When Akufo-Addo was attacked for being part of the conservative elite, Dr. Bawumia provided working-class credentials. Akufo-Addo’s demeanour was at times described as overly measured, stoic, arrogant and aloof. Dr Bawumia could joke, hug, and back-pat his way through a rope line as if attending a family reunion.

In essence, Dr. Bawumia brought so much onto the table for Akufo-Addo's victory.

That being said, It will serve Mahama well if he can talk the right kind of person into doing what Dr. Bawumia did for the Akufo-Addo ticket in 2016.

So there you have it; in order to make a mark in 2020, Mahama needs to shed the very attributes that once placed him a heartbeat away from it and nominate a would-be veep capable of becoming the next leader of the NDC. After all, what could present a clearer departure from the entitlement politics than a principled, focused, and unbelligerent campaign led by a capable running mate.

I shall return.