By: David Lawson
It is ticking, but slowly and tactically, as suspicion starts to rise among NPP leadership on who takes over from President Akufo-Addo, after the end of his constitutional tenure as President and Leader of the NPP in 2024.
This silent war rages between four major blocks within the party with the potency for intensification when government business commences after President Akufo-Addo swears-in his full cabinet, after vetting this week.
It is evident that President Akufo-Addo will have a tough time in managing this looming crisis as all the blocks except one are his loyalists.
According to deep throat sources within the Jubilee House, and at the party Head Office, some of these blocks plotting to capture the party after President Akufo-Addo leaves, have rushed to the Manhyia Palace to argue their case before the revered King of the Ashanti Kingdom, to seek the support of the King.
According to them, it will be easy for the Nana Addo-led NPP to handover to another NPP government if the Vice President, Dr. Bawumia is in the driving seat, as the flagbearer – a move interpreted by many as a tacit attempt by the pro-Akuffo-Addo block in the party to hide behind Dr Bawumia to maintain their grip on power.
According to these sources, the campaigners that went to the Manhyia Palace to court the support of Asanteman are mainly key members of the Akyem group within the party and by extension President Akufo-Addo’s base.
According to one source, the local government minister-designate, Hon. Dan Botwe is said to be tipped as the leader of one of these four blocks and his supporters are working hard to clinch the flagbearership slot for him after President Akufo-Addo. Indeed many political watchers see the emergence of Dan Botwe as the pro-Akufo-Addo blocks’s second choice should the game tilt against the Vice Pjgyresident. It is therefore not far-fetched that he is handed the local government portfolio to market himself within the grassroots.
But what one does not know is whether the parmpy will allow the Eastern Region to immediately lead the party after President Akufo-Addo, who is also from the same region, considering the apathy and despondency in the Ashanti region, the party’s main base in the 2020 elections.
The other two blocks, mainly from the party’s world bank, are led by two stalwarts and members of President Akuffo-Addo’s cabinet, namely Mr. Alan Kyeremanten a,k.a Alan Cash and Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto a.k.a Planting for Food & Jobs.
These two gentlemen from the Ashanti region are said to be lacing their boots for the contest. Whiles it is evident that Alan Cash and his team have their eyes on the ball, it is still uncertain whether Dr Afriyie-Akoto will put himself forward for the top job.
But a reliable source hinted that many party stalwarts in the Ashanti and Northern regions may likely tip Dr Afriyie-Akoto for the top job if the canvassing for Dr. Bawumia fails.
According to some analysts, the party’s best bet for the 2024 elections will be to field a consensus candidate from Ashanti region who commands the respect of both the old and young members of the party, and also have a strong root within the party. Alan Cash and Afriyie-Akoto, coming from the Ashanti region are both deemed fit to salvage the party, considering the weight of their base and the balance of power within the party.
However, many party leaders are worried about the Akan tag on the party and canvassing in favour of fielding the Vice President, Dr Bawumia as a successor to President Akufo-Addo in 2024.
But another political analyst at KNUST argues that the NPP will lose support within its traditional Ashanti base if the party ignores the fundamental principles of electoral mathematics. The analyst, who pleaded on condition of anonymity, argued that “prudently, it is a good idea to promote the Vice President to take over from the President,” he said. Adding that “the 2024 elections would have to be fought with different faces and new energy. It will be a bad game for the party to field Dr Bawumia in that election, though he is a good material”.
According to him, Dr Bawumia will have no new message for Ghanaians aside the argument that he has no strong base, politically. According to the learned political scientist, unlike Alan Cash or Afriyie-Akoto who both excelled at their ministries, the NDC will get it easier to damage the credibility of Dr Bawumia as Chairman of the Economic Management Team and make winning the 2024 elections difficult for the NPP.
He therefore suggested that the Party should rally round an Ashanti candidate in other to win massively in the region to consolidate its base, before looking elsewhere to garner additional votes, to ensure victory in the 2024 elections.
“The party has a choice to make by either fielding Alan Cash or Akoto-Afriyie to win the presidency.” ….. “Politics is a game of numbers and the NPP must not be oblivious to that fact as the overriding consideration,” he concluded.
Therefore Ghanaians are watching with kin interest, how President Akufo-Addo will manage this latent crisis and the power-play among his protégés as he steers this difficult affairs of his party and government towards his final days.