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Opinions of Sunday, 10 July 2022

Columnist: Zambaga Rufai Saminu

Legacy and leadership challenge in NPP; signs of tumbling dreams

Alan Kyerematen and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Alan Kyerematen and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians in the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Don't be confused, this means, everyone in the party wants to be a leader, and no one among them wants to do the actual work of leading in the transformation of the party, and by extension Ghana, except to protect interest and legacies.

A reason, the next flagbearership contest of the NPP would clandestinely hinge on the legacy challenge in the party, where the umbilical cord, soul, and spirit of the party would be handed over.

However, it appears it would revolve around the circles of two personalities. They are Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, and Vice President, His Excellency Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

The two Presidential hopefuls (candidates) offer a stark ideological choice for delegates (voters) of NPP on the libertarian line of Abrefa Busia (John Agyekum Kufuor) or the conservative line of JB. Danquah (Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo)

Enter the economic messiah

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia came into mainstream politics in 2007 following his nomination as the running mate to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who had just been elected at Legon by delegates of the NPP at the party's Presidential primary.

He would subsequently be properly packaged in the manner that would suit the ideological underpinnings of the NPP considering his center-left family leaning in the country's political divide at the time. Interestingly, he came, saw, and conquered, and therefore succeeded in becoming Ghana's most celebrated Vice President in media coverage.

Remember Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s campaign in opposition, shuttered steel manufactured doors when he seized every available opportunity to drum home suitable messages primarily on the economic performance of government and the meltdown that had resulted in catastrophic failure of Ghanaian banks financial institutions, manufacturing, industry in general, calling it a result of the Mahama's flawed economic policies that negated the eight-year administration of the Mills-Mahama government since Mahama was Chairman of Economic Management Team (EMT)

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in opposition constantly went on the offensive, skillfully moderating nationally telecast programs of NPP at which the pros and cons of economic proposals were carefully churned out. He also took his populist case outside of the runway of academia to the markets to gauge inflation and its impact on the national economy as catapulted in speech after speech, emphasizing the carotid message that the country's economic management was a right and not a privilege and increasingly sharpening his criticism of the collapse of industry and the financial sector.

After enjoying soaring popularity in the earliest part of the first term in government, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia became the target of increasing criticism from well-informed Ghanaian electorates, largely due to the slow pace of the country's economic recovery and continued high unemployment rates, but also because of widespread opposition to concrete suggestions and efforts made by civil society organizations for the administration to administer reforms of major sectors of the economy including Health care, through National Health Insurance, infrastructure through proper public procurement, monitoring and evaluation and education policies necessary to back the free Senior High School introduced by the government.

Many educationists say, the structure of the education system even before the introduction of free SHS had contributed to churning out the signature of the growing phenomenon of unemployment.

Unfortunately, all challenges associated with the administration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have had to be attributed to Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia because, he entered office on high horses, promising silver and gold to bring an end to poverty, the economic downturn but partisan squabbling and legislative gridlock denied him this opportunity, yet, in the wake of the failure to obtain any real bipartisan cooperation, especially in the second term after the outcome of the 2020 controversially polls favored both opposition and government in Parliament in dealing with the clock backs of issues overwhelming the administration, he appeared nabbed and numb.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia took a number of cogent steps including digitization and digitalization that indicated a significant shift in tone, as experienced in government which strikingly defeated all the opposition hype.

Late Amissah Arthur, former Vice President of Ghana of blessed memory, could not face the barrels of delusion, deception, and decomposed waxing lyrics, even when he could see clearly the parallels between the potential pitfalls of such theoretical economic proposals, and the prolonged involvement of drama to spice up the interest of Ghanaians, against realities and true practical economic management any leader worth the salt of Vice President, would handle in government.

Here is Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen

Under President John Agyekum Kufuor, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen served as Ghana's Ambassador to the United States of America.

He would later take charge of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Presidential Special Initiative (PSI).

The PSI was introduced to industrialize the country with manufacturing, and production, as the backbone of the Ghanaian economy.

Unfortunately, though laudable, the initiative failed brutally and all resources directed at the sector were abused and occasionally used to promote the 2007 Presidential bid of Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen.

Remember that during his first term flagbearership bid, the slow, but sure, soft-spoken politician, showed class, and used incumbency to his advantage, as he was the pampered candidate supposedly backed by President John Agyekum Kufuor.

Consequently, he had more than enough resources to actualize his dream of leading the NPP, but, delegates of the party thought otherwise though misinformed by the last-minute misguided announcement by the party's National Organizer Lord Commey, that money was being shared by Paul Afoko and his team of Alan supporters. An announcement that changed the mood of delegates and speculative changed the outcome of the polls.

Subsequently, after the contest, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen resigned from the NPP in 2008 when he realized immediately that his followers were constantly under attack from hoodlums after the defeat he suffered in the Presidential race of the NPP in 2007.

Although he lost narrowly to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and rejected the idea of a second-round between the two of them, just to consolidate unity in the party, unfortunately, that did not convince conservatives in the party and their followers who were burnt on rewriting the narrative of the NPP in the manner that would reduce the sudden influence of the man dearly admired by President John Agyekum Kufuor, who was in charge of the country and had influence over party activities.

As soon as Nana Addo emerged victorious, everything about the NPP changed, and power shifted right there to Eastern Region, which ran through activities for over a decade until Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo became President and received additional powers, authority from the state to consolidate his influence nationally. Change, therefore, meant a lot to both NPP supporters and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek," President Barack Obama once said.

Regrettably, many in NPP would later realise why President John Agyekum Kufuor had preferred an Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen Presidency to anyone, but it would be too late.

Appearing charismatic, attractive, charming, and loving, the Minister for Trade would continue to run for the flagbearership in 2012 and 2016, but lost all to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who eventually succeeded in winning the 2016 general elections on the ticket of NPP to assume leadership of the country.

For Alan Kyerematen, notwithstanding his occasional tough-talking to inspire party followers, there are many NPP stalwarts who still criticize him (Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten) for reluctantly issuing only a mild condemnation of failures, defaults, faults, and fouls, of NDC and John Mahama's government.

The speech of Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen is constantly woven around the narrative of decency.

His speeches, very often are connected in ways that transcend economic, political, cultural, and geographical differences and appear more national in character.

He neither attacks nor receives attacks from any quarters since his demeanor, and personality superbly does not support political comedy

"If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost" Barack Obama, former President of America.

In opposition, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen played a crucial role to ensure that the party returned to government, after eight years in opposition and in government, he had the opportunity of once again being nominated as Minister for Trade and Industry.

As for the positive impact of his role in the current government, one can not measure his performance due to sabotage, subterfuge, and substandard governance decorated with lies and promises rather than deliveries.

Parallel lines drawn

Today, followers of Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen describe him as the true economist, honest economist, and factual economist, among others, just to create an impression that his opponent (Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia) who used his academic laurels, Banking sector credibility, and integrity to shoulder research and public lectures to woo voters for the NPP was rather inconveniently the insincere and dishonest economist.

Maybe, this is one of the reasons why even Google and other popular global websites are keeping the name of the Vice President online as the biggest liar in Ghana.

Undoubtedly painful, and regrettably demeaning, one wonders how the dishonesty tag would work against the Vice President who is dearly admired by party followers for being the most celebrated critic of their opponents (NDC) in recent history.

Externally, especially during the national elections, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen could have the upper hand over all other candidates in the current flag bearership race in NPP, because he would be the most marketed candidate, and conservatively readying in line to succeed Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Interestingly, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who is currently the Vice President, and has acted as President severally would be running for the flagbearership for the first time and many discerning Ghanaians believe he could pull the trigger because, he is loved by the party for being the most daring critic of their opponents (NDC).

Intriguingly, the internal hurdle (flagbearership race) ought to be embraced and crossed, before the external hurdle, thus national elections.

A simple, and yet, logical conclusion that the NPP flagbearership race clearly favors Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, but how he would jump over the walls of national elections, can only be measured and determined by the Ghanaian electorates based on circumstances in government, the mood in the country, and generally the performance of the administration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.