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Opinions of Saturday, 10 October 2015

Columnist: Nyamekye, Kwabena

NPP on the road to defeat in 2016, 2020, and 2024

Opinion Opinion

Ever since Ben Ephson came on radio a few days ago stating that the NPP will ditch Dr Bawumia if the 2016 election goes the way of the NDC (something I think any fair-minded person now sees as inevitable) there has been a lot of debate in print and on the airwaves about his statement.

These statements range from accusations that Ephson is NDC and should leave NPP alone, to the view that he does not know what he is talking about and that Bawumia will contest and win NPP nomination easily.

I beg to disagree; you might hate Ben Ephson but I began to respect him when he was the only person in 2008 to claim that the election will go for a run-off! He also predicted that the NPP will lose the 2009 Chereponi by-election. Further research of his has been rather instructive and no matter what, Ghanaians will do well to pay heed to him.

Now to the matter at hand – Bawumia. As Nana Addo’s running mate he seems to have developed some sort of cult status concerning the economy. While in the past there was a variety of persons with an excellent grasp on the finer points of the economy and they spoke at length on this topic, the NPP seems to have ended up at a position where only Bawumia has the expertise. Gone are the days of the past when in opposition we had Dr Apraku, Osafo-Marfo, Prof Gyan-Baffour and other giants. Now it is all Bawumia. I wonder if this is a sign of the decline of the NPP’s collective intellect or is it just a reflection of how we have become like the CPP and NDC of old – hero worship!

Given that under Nana Addo we have gone from power to opposition and we continue to sink deeper the question is why Bawumia should take over from Nana Addo? Ephson seems to think there are others to whom the NPP will turn after defeat number 3 in 2016. Let us look closely at Ephson’s point:

Ephson is right in saying Bawumia will be dropped. There are those who will say the NPP will not elect him to lead because he is Northener. This of course is rubbish. He will be ditched for the simple reason that he has not added any value to the NPP vote since 2008.

In fact, he has been vice-chairman of the despair era with votes going down the latrine left right and centre. Aliu Mahama was a valued running mate as he played a role in building us up from around 39% of the vote in 1996 to 48% then 50% plus for the run-off and the 2004 election. Bawumia has played a major role in the reverse and thus simply put he is of no real electoral value. You have been on posters for 10 years and we are still in opposition.

The party will be crazy to choose you as leader unless it has a death wish. For Bawumia to claim to lead NPP depends on the outcome of 2016. If we win then he can launch his bid from a position of strength but since the NPP is going towards a massive defeat his claim will be dead in the water. Based on what I am hearing from reliable multiple sources across the country we will be lucky to get 45% this time round.

The reason is simple: you cannot attack every single person around you in your own party and expect to be elected president. It just doesn’t happen! Thus if Bawumia wants to lead NPP he and his supporters should have a quiet word with Nana Addo about his lack of leadership skills instead of insulting Ben Ephson.

What will complicate life for Bawumia will be that 4 times the electorate has rejected you as Vice-President so why should you think come 2020 they will be happy to have you as President? The only time flag bearer Bawumia will stand a chance of winning power is if the NDC puts up a totally unelectable candidate in 2020. However the NDC for all its incompetence and uselessness knows that choosing a candidate is based on what they hear from the ground.

They do not rely solely on party members at the base of their organization threatening to cause mayhem if their choice is not elected; what they have done is to listen to people in hairdressing salons, taxis, Metro Mass buses etc to form their opinions. Perhaps they have embraced what our great leader and most successful person JA Kufuor has always said – find out from Ghanaians whom they want and elect that person as your flag bearer! This is the key to victory!

There is another elephant in the room that NPP will have to face with Bawumia in the forefront come 2020. Bawumia’s religion as a huge barrier to him leading us. He is a Muslim. 50 years ago before the era of Jihadists etc being a Muslim was nothing to cause concern. However with time Ghanaians are starting to react with some hesitation when confronted with Islamic issues.

A bit of rumbling here and there in Ghana over Muslim women’s head gear, some issues over their young men joining ISIS, and Boko Haram next door have all come together to create a little bit of unease amongst us. This is because we are an overwhelmingly Christian nation. In Ghana on Sunday morning from 8am to 2pm the entire nation is shut down as everyone is in Church. From Baptist to Catholic, from Presbyterian to Kumchacha we are singing praise to a religion that is increasingly being distanced from Islam. Voters express their preferences through the window of economics, and values. If economics alone determined an electoral outcome then Nana Addo will be in power today.

However voting is determined by how you connect with the electorate. If you run a carnival-style coronation in the belief that you have the birthright to be president and that Flagstaff House is your destiny then do not be shocked if voters prefer your half-blind, half-deaf opponent as he is the one they relate to.

With this in mind NDC will wait patiently for NPP to choose a Muslim flag bearer and then they will choose a devout Christian. On Saturday that candidate will be in an SDA church in Bekwai. Sunday he will be in the main Methodist Church in Accra. During Easter he will be with the Presbyterians in Kwahu. At Christmas he will visit the Vatican to make the Catholics happy.

On the other side of the coin the state media and NDC papers will report daily Boko Haram atrocities, ISIS beheadings, and irresponsible utterances on killing all Christians in Europe by some Imam in Tehran etc etc. Fear will be NDC’s card in the election and fear will give NDC success in 2020 and they will whip a demoralized NPP again in 2024.

Bawumia is dead in the water guys. We can elect him and lose 2020 and 2024 (in addition to 2016) or we can listen to what the voters want and give them a candidate they are happy to vote for.