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Opinions of Monday, 24 August 2020

Columnist: Richard K. B. Eyiah

The Central Region as a choice for vice president for the NDC

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What is it with the Central region that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a political party has been consistent for its choice of a Vice president? Without any particular interest or whatsoever; I've been pondering on this thought as Ghana gears up for the 2020 elections.

The Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana is the second-highest executive official in Ghana. The Vice-president, together with the President of Ghana, is directly elected by the people through popular vote to serve a four-year term of office. The Vice-president is the first person in the presidential line of succession, and would ascend to the Presidency upon the death, resignation, or removal of the President.

It's obvious the story of Ghana cannot be complete without mentioning Cape Coast; the regional capital of the Central region and up until 1877 the capital city of Gold Coast. Among other things, the region at the southern of Ghana is notable for its historical relics, tourism and education.

Again it's no doubt how some prominent figures like chiefs, merchants, academics etc. of Gold Coast did politics in Saltpond- a suburb of Cape Coast in the British colony of West Africa around 1940s and how the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) as a political party was formed with the aim of bringing about independence.

Ghana as now noted practices multi-party system and as in the year 2019 the Electoral Commission of Ghana had twenty six (26) registered political parties on its roll. However, there are two (2) dominant political parties (the National Democratic Congress - NDC and the New Patriotic Party (NPP: Development in Freedom), with extreme difficulty for anyone to achieve electoral success under the banner of any other party.

The political rivalry between the NDC and the NPP has always been tensed and for various reasons the choice for a Vice and the background of such have always been topical. As the NPP is noted in contemporary politics for choosing a Muslim as its Vice when the flag bearer is a Christian and vice versa; the main contending opponent - the NDC has on the other hand been consistent in choosing from the Central region out of sixteen regions (16) now with almost less attention to religion.

Although Ghana has less than four (4) months to a major election for a President and Members of Parliament (MPs) in December 7, the covid-19 and its associated restrictions has limited rigorous campaigns and rallies that have characterised our elections in the past.

The Central region (CR) in its current state in various lenses is known for an impudent voting pattern, and is as such considered by political scientists and pundits as a swing region. As some regions are notable to be strongholds of particular parties; thus Volta for the NDC and the Ashanti region for the NPP, the Central region is not one that a political party can consider as its stronghold.

The region practically care less who is on the ballot, if they choose to vote for you they do so with ease without much influences, ethnicity, religion, or affiliations. For instance in a fiece political contest between former President Kufour (NPP candidate and from the stronghold region Ashanti) and Prof. Evans A. Mills (NDC candidate and home region being the Central region) in the year 2000, the former won with 49.67% as the later lost from his home region with 43.51%.

Although recent facts indicate some political parties having some constituencies in the region as their strongholds, the region is noted to have coined the political parlance "skirt and blouse" where they can vote for a presidential candidate of one political party and vote for the parliamentary candidate of the other and vice versa.

As we live the history of tomorrow, I wonder how the social democratic party-- NDC like the legendary Arabian bird- phoenix; formed in 1992 by H. E. Jerry John Rawlings has chosen its four (4) of the Vice Presidents out of a total of five (5) from the Central region except 2009 when the flagbearer (and President) was from the region. From the earliest point and on a whimsical sense of humour or practical analysis sake, I ask 'what is the importance of the Central region particularly to the political fortune dynamics of the NDC to be consistently choosing its Vice from?

Below is a list of the NDC's Vice presidents/Running mates from 1992- the fourth (4th) Republic to 2020

1. Kow Nkansah Arkaah => 7/01/1993- 7/01/1997

2. John E. A. Mills => 7/01/1997- 7/01/2001

3. John D. Mahama => 7/01/2009- 24/07/2012 (NB. only Vice not from Central region)

4. Kwesi A. Arthur => 6/08/2012- 7/01/2017

5. Jane N. O. Agyemang => July 2020 (as running mate)

Best regards as you read. Take note, I mean no harm or whatsoever and I respect opinions and suggestions too.

Richard K. B. Eyiah