The Consummate Showdown


“Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future…”

-Swami Sivananda


Mohammed Ali (Cassius Clay) in his heyday would throw verbal jabs at his opponent (remember Sonny Liston whom he knocked down in Round 1), wear him down and even while in the ring, he would still be insulting the opponent until he knocked him off.

Some politicians, like Kennedy Agyapong, use Ali’s tricks in his politics, and he does so very cunningly.

In the run-up to the presidential primaries of the NPP, Kennedy threw into the fray several political bullets, one of which tickled Hawa Koomson. “They are saying I have said that NPP members are foolish. Let me explain what happened. Honourable Osafo Maafo met members of the Party at Koforidua, and he was talking to them about the history of the NPP, particularly the role the Akyem people played in the establishment of the Party…”

On  October 30, 2023, the MP for Awutu Senya East, Mavis Hawa Yakubu, charged at Kennedy Agyapong: “You say NPP members are fools and you don’t know why you belong to a foolish party like the NPP. Today, you want those you called fools to vote for you as a Flagbearer.”

Hawa was mocking Kennedy after he had made an about-turn after reacting to Osafo Maafo’s comment on contributions of various ethnic groups to the growth of the NPP.

The good old man, Osafo Maafo has since apologised for the unfortunate statement, so we will let him be except to say that words uttered can never be swallowed back. Quintus Horacius Flaccus, better known as Horace the Roman poet, emphasises the lasting impact and inability to undo the effect of words once spoken, saying, “A word once spoken cannot be recalled.”

But Ken sobering up after an impressive showing, garnering 71,996 votes (37.4%) to Bawumia’s 118,210 votes (61.43%), stated: “This is the only thing I’ve been preaching, and I must admit this election is fair and my grassroots have spoken, therefore, I accept the results in good faith… So party members, we should put everything behind us and let’s unite this party… I believe we can break the eight…”

Why not? Put everything behind them. The candidates had “dirtied” themselves and one another, some using unprintable words during the campaign. Now, all have come to an end.

This should bring cold comfort to the rank and file of the NPP. But, make no mistake, not every issue is resolved; some wounds take a long time to heal, and those who cannot stand such rough tactics go in and quit while the “iron is hot”. Let us chip this in: the Elders of the party will do the party a wealth of good if they can convince Alan Kyeremateng to re-join the Party. We do not see why Alan should break ranks with his colleagues with whom he had worked all his youthful life. If allowed, Alan’s “movement” will poach some of the NPP youth and gain some votes from NDC, and if he would be stiff-necked, we would wish him well.

As depicted in “Akosua”, the cartoon in Daily Guide (06/11/23), four people (Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Kennedy Ohene Agyepong, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto and Francis Addai-Nimoh) sitting on an elephant riding a bicycle, is as preposterous as it is incredible. It is going to be a rough ride, it is also going to be very dangerous. The year ahead is likely to evoke many sentimental thoughts and unbridled actions. Analysts should take a second look at the “protest votes” that moved from Bawumia – to make him unable to obtain the 75% to 80% votes projected for him by the political analysts. If any mishap befalls NPP, let it not be said that any particular person caused it. We will all have contributed to making it happen. There should be no room for complacency. Dialogue: talk, no ill-feeling, no bitter feeling.

Most criticisms against the NPP are gradually washing away. One major criticism was that the NPP is an Akan party, and that no Northerner or even non-Akan candidate can ever rise above vice president or running mate. The choice of Dr. Bawumia as flagbearer is historic. He is not only a Northerner; he is also a Muslim. So, for those who are tickled by ethnic and religious considerations, the choice of Bawumia trashes it all. It is a quintessential deed by the NPP, set in motion when Kufuor chose Aliu Mahama in 2000 as running mate.

Dr. Bawumia has all the qualities of a leader – and his humility tops all these. We admit that Bawumia has his minuses but he also has his pluses. He says he will be his own man. He says “My vision is to build an inclusive, food self-sufficient, data-driven and system-based nation that will fully participate in the global digital revolution to solve our problems and also usher in a golden age of benefits from our natural resources.

“The position I seek needs to be carried, and I intend to show every single voter, from the farmer to financial head, that I am the right man for the job.” Dr. Bawumia is yet to select his running mate and we believe his choice will complement his ambition.

The actual “showdown” is just around the corner. John Dramani Mahama who secured 98.9% NDC votes in May this year will be NDC’s flagbearer. We are waiting for him to name his running mate. Both the NDC and NPP are saying the battle will be fought on the grounds of the economy. In the run-up to the 2016 elections, Dr. Bawumia was often quoted as saying “If the fundamentals are weak the exchange rate will expose you” at the time, it was $1.00 to GH¢4.20. Now it is $1.00 to GH¢12 and the sing-song has been Russia – Ukraine War, Corona Virus.

Three astute political analysts have predicted that the judgment in the upcoming contest will be too close to call. Professor Kobby Mensah, Professor Seidu Alidu and Professor Atsu Ayee are one in their conclusion that the contest would be keen and interesting. “The most appealing in the dimension and the one that offers us lots to think about in our democratic practices is Alan Kyerematen on the independent ticket,” Professor Mensah notes.

Prof. Atsu Ayee thinks Alan should have resigned when he thought he was not given resources when he was minister instead of complaining: “I don’t see any message; his message is full of complaints” Assessing the place of independent candidates, Prof. Ayee thinks “Since Paa Willie’s time (the Third Republic to date), independent presidential candidates have not done well. The current candidates are not different. If you look at Paa Willie, he was a giant. He was greater than Alan Kyeremanten, but he never got anywhere so it boils down to the two parties – NPP, NDC…” Prof Alidu (of the Political Science Dept, Legon says the economy would be the key to determine the outcome of the elections: “…what Mahama and Bawumia did in the past would be used to judge them…”

Students of Ghanaian politics would have a lot learn from the coming general election. Plutarch says: “To make no mistake is not in the power of man, but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.”

From Africanus Owusu Ansah