Even before the Kumasi Conference, the two have been touted as the front-runners in the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) presidential nomination. And the run-up so far confirms the signs, notwithstanding the fact that the contest is way off the mark.
Vice President Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia and Trade Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen are easily the trading bets in the anticipated long queue of prospective presidential nominees.
The expected race between the two at a point became so intense that party chiefs virtually took back its warning to aspirants that it was premature to engage in any form of campaigning—be it for the presidential or executive party positions.
An overwhelmed party General Secretary, John Boadu conceded that supporters of the prospective candidates can campaign, but not the candidates themselves. What difference does it make, John?
It became necessary the party issued the caveat on partisan campaigning because government business had started deteriorating that fast. Leading protagonists— Vice President Bawumia, Trade Minister, Alan Kyerematen and Agriculture Minister, Akoto Afriyie are all serving cabinet members.
You needed to be at the recently held NPP regional delegates congresses to appreciate the level of heightened political temperature between the Bawumia and Alan supporters. definitely, the two factions will present a strong presence at the Kumasi Delegates Conference today.
The Conference will take into consideration some amendments proposed for the conduct and character of the NPP, going into the 2024 elections. Similar to the Regional Congresses, the factions are likely to reduce the event to an Alan-Bawumia show-down.
People are also going to gauge the popularity of the two at the conference grounds. This is often determined by the applause that a candidate’s entrance into the hall of the Conference generate. And from past experiences, the one with the loudest applause, is likely to get the nod.
The likely winner is also determined by the paraphernalia on display at the Conference or Congress grounds. The NPP claims it is banning all such individual campaign items at today’s, yet trust some unrepentant zealots to put on T-shirts of their preferred candidates.
The Kumasi township itself will be the centre-piece in determining which of the two—Alan, Bawumia, is more popular. There may be party members and supporters who will play by the rules and therefore wouldn’t like to incur the displeasure of the party leadership and therefore may not wear the paraphernalia of their preferred candidates.
Such people are likely to stage their support for their candidates from the Conference grounds, to perhaps the entry points to the Garden City; and through that any keen observer will be able to gauge the level of popularity of the two personalities. Such groups are not new to Ghanaian politics.
The current President, Nana Akufo Addo started his presidential journey rather seriously after being defeated by J.A. Kufuor in the 2000 NPP presidential nomination of the NPP. He bounced back strongly in 2008 with Friends of Nana Akufo Addo (FONAA).
After his failed attempts to win the Ghanaian presidency in 2008 and 2012, Nana still kept the group to become the fulcrum of his presidential campaigns till he won the presidential elections in 2016 and 2020.
Some of the FONAA have become beneficiaries of the Akufo Addo administration. They include MPs Asenso Boakye and Abu Jinapor, who both are also Ministers of State. Then also, Emmanuel Adumoa-Bossman, who is serving as deputy Chief of Staff at the presidency.
On the NDC front side, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings had her Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (FONKA) when the former First Lady, contested the NDC presidential nomination against Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, Eddie Annan, among others.
Atta Mills also won on the wing of the organizational skills and ability of Friends of Atta Mills (FAM). Similar groups have emerged to consolidate the support base of many presidential candidates that have emerged on the Ghanaian political scene.
Alan Kyerematen Versus Dr. Mahmudu Bawumia
Aside of the support backing of such groups, the NPP presidential contest itself is likely to go down the wire as a race between the two front-runners and their credentials in the NPP tradition, which traces its root from the United Party of the 60’s will crucially come to the fore.
That’s to suggest that the Vice President is likely to source his support base from the new order in the NPP. An order that shockingly is being established by the sitting administration. Paradoxically, core members of the administration campaigned on the conservative orientation of the NPP, when they were campaigning for then candidate, Akufo Addo.
That means Dr. Bawumia is likely to enjoy massive incumbency support, similar to what many sitting presidents benefit from, on the national election scale. There are other high-profile members of the administration who are likely to back the Bawumia candidature. Definitely, his political godfather—Ken Ofori-Atta is one of them.
The Bawumia candidature is not likely to be stifled of funds because it’s an adopted project of the President and majority of members of his administration. However, as to whether these are the only determinant factors to ensure a Bawumia success, still remains a conjectural guess game.
On the other hand, Alan’s campaign machinery is likely to be lubricated by the old guards in the NPP, not the least his political grand-master, former President J.A Kufuor. That means Alan’s fan base will be driven from the Kufuor axis in the NPP.
Therefore, stalwarts like Kufuor himself, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, Dr. Richard Anane, Felix Owusu Agyapong, Kwadwo Mpiani, among others are the likely pillars of the Alan campaign. Not least, a statement of claim from others, who feel slighted by their suspension from the NPP before the 2016 elections.
On that score, expect the likes of Dr. Nyayo Nyaho Tamakloe, Dr. Yves Wereko-Brobbey, former chairman Paul Afoko, Sammy Crabbe, former General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong to all pitch camp with Alan.
In the case of former General Secretary, Nana Ohene Ntow, he has even gone public to declare his position as the campaign manager of Alan Kyerematen. None should be surprised to find stalwarts like Dr. K.K. Sarpong and Isaac Osei who served or still serving in the current administration to tilt to the Alan call.
Most of these old guards feel marginalized by the administration; and perhaps, the only other way to feel relevant in the NPP, is to rally behind an Alan candidature. The content and character of the current happenings in the NPP is just a confirmation of how the Victor Owusu and William Ofori-Atta axis have been operating the NPP political machinery since its formation in 1992.
The UP tradition which is an offshoot of the NPP, split into two in the 1979 election over who leads the grouping. In that year's elections, members and supporters of the UP regrouped under the Popular Front Party (PFP).
One of the stalwarts of the tradition, Mr. Victor Owusu went dictatorial. He refused to submit himself to the internal election processes of the PFP. He, in a de-facto fashion, assumed the leadership of the PFP and eventually became the PFP’s presidential candidate in the 1979 3rd Republican elections.
The declaration of Victor Owusu as the PFP presidential nominee led to a secessionists group within the PFP. Mr. William Ofori-Atta (Paa Willie), a member of the Big Six (6) led the “rebel” group to form the United National Convention (UNC). It’s the express believe of many that the Akufo-Addo led isle in the NPP, represents the faction with a leaning towards the Paa Willie bloc; while the Victor Owusu faction is being led by former President, J.A. Kufuor.
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