July 25, 2024
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John Mahama faces running-mate puzzle

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on May 13, 2023, overwhelmingly re-elected former President John Dramani Mahama to hold the party’s red, green, black and white flag with the imposing eagle, to lead it to victory in the 2024 crucial polls.

John Mahama was a running mate to the late Professor John Evans Atta Mills and the duo successfully secured victory for the party after two unsuccessful attempts. It should be recalled that after what became known as the ‘Swedru Declaration’, Prof. Mills selected ABK  Amidu, to partner with him in the 2000 election, and in 2004 selected Muhammad Mumuni as a running mate. Then, in 2008 Prof. Mills selected the former President and current flag bearer that clinched victory for the party.

Before then, late President JJ Rawlings first paired with Kow Nkensen Arkaah for the 1992 elections but went with President Mills during the 1996 polls.

Tradition

Has it become an unwritten tradition, therefore, for the frontrunners of the NDC to change their vice-presidential candidate, which is the sole prerogative of the flag bearer? The debate over this subject is still raging.

This vexed matter is already igniting fiery conversations within the rank and file of the NDC and even among the generality of the public, as the party inches deeper into preparations to recapture political power.

The decision over whether or not the former revered educationist and towering university don will continue to be the vice-presidential candidate, should the axe fall on her, maybe the toughest task facing John Mahama in the next few months, as it seems his party is determined to fast-track preparations towards the 2024 general election ahead of their counterparts.

Enthusiasts

Sturdily, a cross-section of supporters and enthusiasts of the party are legitimising scepticisms over the impact of the 71-year-old Professor on the 2020 general election and even making a case for a need for a fresh face to ‘power’ the NDC Presidential ticket to victory in the upcoming 2024 Presidential battle.

Invariably, there is a section that also believes that maintaining Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang will be appropriate since she is known and resonates with a cross-section of the public.

However, there is a strong suggestion that despite recapturing some vital seats in her home region, (the Central Region) the New Patriotic Party (NPP) did better than the NDC, indicating her failure to bring her influence to bear on the region

Even before the dust settles on whether Prof. Opoku Agyemang will be retained or not, supporters of running mate hopefuls have already taken to lobbying for their favourites on social media platforms.

On the other side of the debate, some argue for fresh faces and new ideas. They highlight the importance of injecting new energy into the campaign and tapping into emerging talents within the party support base. Alternative potential running mates also argue that change is vital to rejuvenate the party and connect with a wider demographic.

Some of the names being unravelled by opponents as possible replacements include Dr Zanetor Rawlings, a daughter of the late founder of the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings; Julius Debrah, former Chief of Staff under John Mahama; Awuah Darko, former Chief Executive of Bulk Oil Storage and  Transportation / Tema Oil Refinery, Prof. Joshua Alabi, 2020 Campaign Manager and former Vice-Chancellor of UPSA and Cassiel Ato Forson, Minority Leader in Parliament.

Leadership 

Despite being successful in her leadership of one of the nation’s best universities, the University of Cape Coast {UCC), Prof. Agyemang’s 2020 campaign seems to have encountered a lot of backlash, allowing the euphoria about her nomination to suffer an early death.

“There was too much controversy among her handlers which detracted the campaign from leveraging the goodwill her nomination aroused,” said one of her campaign team members who requested to remain anonymous.

Prof.  Agyemang does not resonate with the hawks in the party who believe a more aggressive running mate is required to balance the ‘gentleness’ of former President John Mahama.

That said, she is said to possess a strong character of trustworthiness, great conviction and appeal to gender advocates and a cross-section of academia, among others.

Comments

As social media platforms are flooded with posts and comments from both sides of the debate, the NDC leadership continues to take note of the expressions of party members and the general public. The decision regarding the running mate for John Mahama in the 2024 elections campaign requires careful consideration and extensive consultations.

Amid the intense debate and jostling, one thing remains certain – the passion and dedication of NDC supporters. They are unified by their shared desire to see their party flourish and regain power. While the running mate question continues to spark heated discussion, the ultimate goal remains the same: to secure victory in the upcoming elections and bring about positive change in the lives of Ghanaians.

Elections

As the days pass and elections draw nearer, the NDC leadership is faced with the weighty task of Internal dialogue and decision-making. Perhaps, with time, consensus will be reached and the NDC will emerge united with a running mate who embodies the party’s vision and resonates with the aspirations of the Ghanaian people.

Until then, the debate continues and social media platforms remain abuzz with fervent supporters advocating their preferred running mate potentials. In the end, it is the collective voice and choice of the NDC that will shape its future and determine the path to success in the 2024 elections. 

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