General News of Monday, 24 July 2017
President John Mahama’s 2016 running mate Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur has revealed he could be in the race for National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential primaries for the 2020 general elections.
“I am not considering it. But people have come to me and I am thinking about it”, Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur told Joy News’ Beatrice Adu at a ceremony to mark the 5th anniversary of the passing of President John Mills.
He however stressed, the party’s immediate concern is repairing the electoral machine so that it is “coherent and cohesive” enough to win power in 2020.
Who leads the party is a sub-plot in a party that lost the 2016 elections under humiliating circumstances.
The Mahama-Amisah Arthur presidential ticket polled the lowest for a sitting president with 44.4% votes which consequently aborted the dream of second term by both the President and his Vice.
A parliamentary majority was also lost to its rivals the New Patriotic Party (NPP) which has 63 more MPs in the 275-member parliament.
But there is a clamour for a John Mahama comeback within the party. Former Trade minister Ekow Spio-Garbrah, Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu and former Vice-Chancellor of UPSA Prof.Joshua Alabi are rumoured to be contemplating a shot at the primaries.
Amissah Arthur will however not rule himself out yet.
“As of now, I am not in the race but nobody knows what will happen in a year’s time” he smiled.
The former Vice-President said it takes a lot of commitment to run for political office.
“It takes a lot of work. I saw what Prof. Mills did. I saw him travelling around this country. I saw him meet people. I saw him prepare. You have to prepare a message” he explained.
“You can’t just want to be president, because you want to be president [but] because you want to deliver something to the country so I am not there yet” he said.
The former Vice-President said assembling a team of other people “who have skills that you don’t have” is key to winning political office.
Some argue Amissah Arthur has history by his side if he contests for the NDC flagbearership because the NDC has an unwritten succession plan.
Every Vice-President who has contested for flagbearer has won. John Evans Atta Mills, Vice-President to President Rawlings, took over from his boss and contested the 2000, 2004 until he was successful in winning 2008 general elections.
Atta Mills’ vice-president, John Mahama would also take over after the president’s demise in July 2012 and later won the party’s presidential primaries for the 2016 elections.
But Amissah Arthur’s partnership with President John Mahama in the past two general elections has been criticised.
Some in the party have questioned his electoral contributions in the 2016 elections.
The former Bank of Ghana Governor is accused of failing to defend the party’s economic policies in the face of an onslaught by his counterpart Dr. Bawumia of the NPP who was a deputy Governor at the central bank.