Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
The greatest news doing the rounds in NPP is the reaching out of the newly elected leader of the Party, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to his former rivals, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto and Francis Addai Nimoh.
That is how politics is played – “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stone, and a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; A time to keep silent, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
In the run-up to the primaries on Saturday, November 4, 2023, there was much to worry about: the heat produced, the mud-slinging, the fake and genuine prophecies. Bawumia remained unfazed. He kept repeating: “I am committed to the unity of the NPP, and I, as the party’s flagbearer, will bring everybody on board. I believe I’m more popular with the grassroots than with the establishment.”
Kwasi Amakye-Boateng, a Political Science lecturer at KNUST, thought “the polls favour Bawumia”, but had a fair warning for him. “Obviously, he (Bawumia) appears to be in the lead. However, he should not be complacent. It is not going to be an easy task for him in the main elections if he wins, looking at the state of the economy now,” he stated.
Kwame Asah-Asante, a Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, thought the race “could go both ways (between Bawumia and Kennedy Agyapong) because the two leading contenders have grassroot support.” The results of the November 4 election, gave a clear mandate to Dr. Bawumia (61.43%), and Kennedy Agyapong ran away with 37.41%. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto came third with 0.76% while Addai Nimoh came fourth with 0.41%.
Dr. Bawumia had visited Kennedy Agyapong’s home and Kennedy had reciprocated the gesture by visiting the Vice President in his home. But, naturally, some of the utterances of some members of the Bawumia Campaign Team prior to the election, make it difficult to heal wounds. To say that “Kennedy has an overrated impression of himself” is clearly hitting below the belt, and Dennis Miracles Aboagye has a lot of “repair works” to do.
Which of the candidates did not have any impression about himself. Each of them had a fair impression about himself. If they did not, why were they in the race? On the $800 million bribery allegations by Kennedy Agyapong, Miracles said, “It is false, if he (Bawumia) had $800 million, he wouldn’t give it to any of the candidates to step down. Why would any right thinking person believe that Dr. Bawumia would want any of the candidates contesting to step down?”
There are other people who pinched Kennedy Agyapong in the run-up to the elections. Ursula Owusu Ekuful, Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, had predicted an 80% Bawumia win, taunting the other candidates that at the end of the polls, “everybody will see their smoothness level.” Hawa Koomson’s Awutu Senya East Constituency was not expected to give any votes to Kennedy Agyapong, given the kind of relationship between the two. But Kennedy polled 724 votes while Bawumia got 679 votes.
Hawa would console herself: “I’m happy that on August 24, I was able to beat Kennedy in the region, so if he has beaten me in my constituency, well it could be, but that doesn’t mean he is stronger than me in the region.” Chairman Wontumi (Antwi Boasiako) had warned Kennedy Agyapong: “Put a stop to all insults and attacks on my personality else I will cause your arrest. You did same to Ahmed Suale, so don’t let it repeat.”
“You only attacked the Regional Minister, the Education Minister, myself, the Majority Leader and Bawumia. How can you claim we are dividing the Party?” Wontumi revealed.
Now, the task facing Dr. Bawumia is the selection of his running mate. The task appears to be getting less and less heavy. The rumour mill has been wagging. An Asante running mate? And who? Joe Osei-Owusu, the Deputy Speaker; Osei Kyei Mensah, the Majority Leader; Dr. Napoleon Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Energy; Dr. Adutwum, Minister of Education; Dr. Owusu Afriyie; Francis Addai-Nimoh, or from elsewhere, Kennedy Agyapong or Afenyo Markin.
Kyei Mensah admonishes every member: “Do not push Dr. Bawumia, allow him to make his own selection.” Lobbying, yes, but take note of Article 60 of the 1992 Constitution (1) There shall be a Vice President of Ghana who shall perform such functions as may be assigned to him by this Constitution or by the President (2) A candidate for the office of Vice President shall be designated by the candidate for the office of President before the election of the President. (3) The provisions of Article 62 of this Constitution apply to a candidate for election as Vice President (4) A candidate shall be deemed to be duly elected as Vice President if the candidate who designated him as candidate for election to the office of Vice President has been duly elected as President in accordance with the provisions of Article 63 of this Constitution.
As William Clay, US Congress man, put it in 1969, “In politics, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies; there are rather permanent interests.”
By Africanus Owusu-Ansah