Politics of Wednesday, 3 April 2013
Source: The Al-Hajj
The battle for the heart and soul of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has taken a new twist.
As if the leading members of the Northern bloc know what the outcome of the landmark case at the Supreme Court will be, they have started putting out all the permutations and political theories that will allow the party to taste political power again should the hawks in the party break tradition by giving a Northerner, and in this case Dr Bawumia, the dog’s chance to be the arrow head ahead of the next presidential election.
In a delicate attempt to take control of the party from the usual Ashanti/Akyem oligarchs, who have controlled the party since the days of the United Party (UP) in the 1950’s, the Northern faction is pushing for a change in leadership in order for the party to have a national appeal and attract more votes from other ethnic groups aside Akan.
In a three-part article making a strong case, and in a way dusting the curriculum vita for Dr Bawumia to take over from his boss, Nana Akufo-Addo as leader of the party, Mr Haruna Mahama, a former constituency secretary of the NPP in the Bole-Bamboi constituency is of the firm belief that any move by the party to continue on the Ashanti/Akyem tangent will leave the NPP in opposition for so long.
The former NPP constituency secretary argues “it is a truism that geographical considerations and ethnicity has become an integral part of politicking in Ghana. During elections, these issues always feature prominently in the campaigns and are exploited and fanned to win votes. The NPP needs to do a lot of strategic planning in terms of perceptions as to whether the party is broad-based or not. Under the current circumstance, NPP Muhamadu Bawumia is the best bet for the party”.
According to Mr. Haruna Mahama: “President Mahama’s selection as the NDC’s Presidential candidate for the December election was seen by many Northerners and other non-Akan ethnic groups as a demonstration of the party’s commitment to national representation and equality for all irrespective of place of origin. Many Ghanaians believe NDC is the singular party among the key political parties in Ghana with a wider regional representation especially having had flagbearers from Volta Region, Central Region and Northern Region in the past 20 years.
“Indeed the perception is that, the NPP is an Akan party and that perception has been re-enforced by the fact that in the last two elections, the NPP won only two out of ten regions. It is high time to re-brand the party or else it is not going to win any national election anytime soon. Selecting Dr Bawumia as Presidential candidate would have been a great step towards achieving this because the party needs to defuse the Akan perception now, more than ever or it remains in opposition forever.”
Even though Haruna Mahama believes making the 2012 running mate of the party and Nana Akufo-Addo’s protégé, Bawumia the party’s flag bearer would be a good riddance for the NPP, he argues that considering how non-Akans in the party have been treated by the Ashanti/Akyem, to the extent that the late vice president Alhaji Aliu Mahama was rejected in his attempt to take over from his boss and former President, Kufuor, Dr Bawumia will face a daunting task convincing them to lead the NPP.
He wrote “there are no records of what percentage of Christians or Muslims or others votes for or against the NPP but prior to the 2012 election an opinion poll conducted by Research International, a London-based market research company found that 63 percent of Muslims polled said they would vote for the NDC, against 39 percent who said they would vote for Nana Akufo-Addo and his NPP. 75 percent of traditionalists opted to vote for the NDC, while 39 percent answered that they would vote for the NPP. Going with this, one may be right to say the selection of Bawumia could win more votes for NPP in the Muslim communities in Ghana.
“Also, NPP members think the party need to get someone who will appeal not only to die-hard NPP members but floating voters because they win elections for political parties in Ghana. In terms of winning votes, Bawumia has proven to be an electoral asset going by the results in the Northern Region in the 2012 election.”
Concluding, Mr. Haruna Mahama stated: “In all, the NPP improved their parliamentary representation in the Northern Region from four to ten partly as a result of his hard work. Out of the ten constituencies, three are from the Mamprusi area where Bawumia hails from. They are Walewale, Yagba/Kubori and Bunkpurugu. With this, it means Bawumia; if selected Presidential candidate of NPP, will split the three Northern Regions with President Mahama and maintain Ashanti and Eastern Region with the swing Regions of Brong- Ahafo, Central and Western Region decide the winner.”