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Opinions of Thursday, 3 December 2015

Columnist: Adjei, Daniel

Revealed: Amissah Arthur to step-down for a Successor

It can now be reliably confirmed that Vice-President, Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur will not be the running-mate on the ticket of the NDC for the 2016 Presidential elections. Information leaked from the Office of the Vice-President has indicated that the introvert Vice-President has finally resolved to step-aside from the position of running-mate to John Dramani Mahama. Inside sources have hinted that, the Veep has complained he has not been given enough opportunity to demonstrate his full potentials as Vice-President of the country. While investigations are still on-going to validate the imminent withdrawal of Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur from active politics, it is revealed that a letter indicating his disinterest in partnering the President for 2016 which has already been written by the Vice- President is yet to be delivered to His Excellency John Dramani Mahama. This, sources say is due to several attempts by close associates of the Vice-President who are urging him to resist the attempts to bow-out of politics at least for now. It is believe one Nana Brew-Butler and a host of close confidants of Mr. Amissah Arthur are compelling the Veep to rescind his decision to step-aside for a stronger candidate to partner John Mahama for the 2016 elections.
Reports indicate that, the Vice – President finds it very ridiculous for NDC party members to put government failures solely on his head when he has not been given much to do in the functioning of government. The Vice-President is reportedly peeved at recent attacks on him and his family with Volta Youth for Development describing him as “incompetent”. The group which has been rooting for Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Doe Adjaho to replace the Vice-President has so far led the attack on Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur. Another group calling itself, Friends of Mahama has also charged the President to drop Mr. Amissah Arthur for Foreign Affairs Minister, Hannah Tetteh describing the current Vice-President as “a complete failure”. In another development, the Ga-Adangme Youth of the NDC has also waded into the debate calling on NDC party executives to give President Mahama more time to do consultations and change his running-mate. The group also claim, the current Vice-President is weak and visionless to lead the NDC into future elections. In the estimation of the various NDC groups calling for the head of the Vice-President, any attempts by the President to retain Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur will come with adverse consequences in the 2016 elections and in future elections. The groups hold the view that, the Vice-President add virtually nothing to the campaign for 2016 and certainly is not in line to lead the NDC in 2020 elections. The groups are therefore calling for a succession plan which will effectively present a more befitting running-mate to be marketed for future elections. These vituperations and condemnations are said to have affected the confidence of the Vice-President that he has taken a final decision to take a gentle bow out of politics and to concentrate on family life.
Credible sources at the Flag Staff House also indicate that Kwesi Amissah- Arthur collected President's nomination forms at the NDC party office on his own, goaded by Sam Butler and some associates, and this led to some awkward situations at the Flag Staff House. More importantly, critics of the Vice-President argue that Amissah Arthur has been unable or unwilling to arrange any meeting of the Economic Management Team of government in more than one year, claiming to friends that Finance Minister, Seth Terkper has a closer ear of the President, so all suggestions and recommendations of the Economic Management Team seem to go nowhere. Then there was the incident with Hannah Tetteh at the Conference Centre after several articles authored by Hannah Tetteh supporters all of last year and this year encouraging him to abandon his post. Officials within the Cabinet Secretariat have also wondered aloud why President Mahama does not trust his Deputy to enable him chair Cabinet meetings, which are sometimes not held for up to one month if and when the President is unavailable. But some NDC old hands who wish to remain anonymous recall that during the era of President Rawlings, it was then Vice President Mills who chaired all cabinet meetings. President Mahama, then Minister of Communications, observed all this but is unwilling to allow his Vice-President to exercise similar authority.

Critics also point that apart from what the President allows the Veep to do or not, officials within the Veep's own office wonder why he has not found it worthwhile to adopt any national issue as his own agenda and champion such issues as indiscipline just as Aliu Mahama did under Kufuor. Coming from the Central Region, some political pundits and leaders of the NDC in the Central region had hoped that the Veep will adopt any of the myriad challenges facing his region and champion that subject nationwide, e.g. poor school attendance, defecation and sanitation on beaches, pre-mix for fishermen and cold stores/smoking kilns for their woves, the castles and forts in the Central region which could be generating revenues for the State and creating jobs for the unemployed in the region, or other matters regarding the inner workings of the Central Bank and the financial system, even cedi-dollar exchange rate stability. It is noted by some NDC Women Organisers that even First Ladies, who are not paid by the State, and have no real Constitutional duties, always find some causes to champion, so why not the Vice-President.
Worse above all, is his total inability to stand-up to Bawumia. So, if so, how will NDC campaign during 2016, when the Veep who should stand up to Bawumia is as silent as a Church mouse when the NDC is attacked by the NPP running-mate? A party executive opined that if Amissah Arthur cannot challenge a mere running mate from an opposition party, how can he challenge effectively the many tough and strong foreign governments and international organisations like the IMF Ghana must negotiate with?
These, it is argued, are among the reasons that so many are campaigning within the NDC for a change of Veep, and why Amissah Arthur himself has come to the end of his patience and confidence.

Constitutional Law Experts say, there may be interesting times ahead if the Vice-President chooses the path of resignation as that will mean the Speaker of Parliament, Doe Adjaho who the Volta Youth group is lobbying for to replace Amissah Arthur will fill the vacant position. What could save government, according to experts is for the Veep to continue in office while the President still selects and confirms a successor beforehand to enable the NDC prepare towards the coming elections.
President John Mahama who was overwhelmingly endorsed at the NDC primaries is yet to name his running mate with potential names popping up for consideration. Foreign Affairs Minister Hannah Serwa Tetteh, Speaker of Parliament Doe Adjaho, CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Mawuena Trebarh, Trade Minister Ekwow Spio Garbrah and Mayor of Accra, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije are some of the names being speculated as potential replacements for Vice-President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, whom some groups in the party have described as incompetent.
Stay tuned…….