As the 2024 elections draw near, Ghana’s political landscape is abuzz with speculation. The question on everyone’s lips is who will former President John Mahama select as his running mate? The decision is critical, as the right choice could influence the election’s outcome and potentially lead the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to victory. The running mate must complement Mr. Mahama’s strengths and weaknesses across key areas, helping him win the elections comfortably.
This is particularly significant given the NDC’s past election performances. Since the end of former President Rawlings’ regime, the party has struggled to secure victories. Despite the gains of the 2020 elections, our party is yet to fully reclaim its lost glory. The downward trend in support since the 1996 presidential elections reached its lowest ebb in 2016 with only 44.7% of the total valid votes. The NDC needs to reverse this trend in the 2024 elections, and the right running mate is pivotal in this turnaround.
The ideal candidate must possess strategic nous, grassroots popularity, staunch pan-African nationalism, universal electoral appeal, impeccable personal integrity, and high-profile name recognition. Seven prominent figures within the NDC stand out as potential contenders: Alban Bagbin, Goosie Tanoh, Ekow Spio-Gabrah, Alex Mould, Kwabena Duffuor, Marrieta Brew Appiah Oppong, and Joshua Alabi..
Alban Bagbin: A seasoned player
Alban Bagbin, the longest-serving MP in the Fourth Republic and Speaker of the 8th Parliament, offers a wealth of experience. His unwavering commitment to public service is universally acknowledged and respected, yet it remains uncertain how this reputation will translate into broader electoral appeal. Moreover, Bagbin’s outspoken nature, which can be perceived as confrontational, may deter some voters looking for a more diplomatic approach.
Goosie Tanoh: The independent appeal
Goosie Tanoh, a former law lecturer turned Special Assistant to Jerry Rawlings during the military junta, is an appealing candidate. His comprehensive skill set and widespread appeal could serve as a unifying force in Ghana’s politically charged environment. Goosie’s appeal spans from the party faithful to independent voters, and his grassroots network, pan-African ethos, and unblemished personal integrity stand out. His strong-headed nature, a trait often perceived negatively, could complement Mahama’s softer approach. His resilience and determination could be key to countering the NPP’s alleged rigging machine and stand up to any intimidation. However, detractors might consider this Rawlings look-alike’s independent streak as a potential cause for division within the party.
Ekow Spio-Gabrah: The diplomatic savant
Ekow Spio-Gabrah’s strengths lie in his strategic abilities and unwavering commitment to nationalism. His diplomatic acumen and extensive international network could boost Ghana’s standing in global affairs. However, Spio-Gabrah must bolster his connection with grassroots supporters and his cross-party appeal. Despite his experience and diplomacy, he lacks the populist appeal that often sways elections in favour of charismatic candidates.
Alex Mould: The corporate star
Alex Mould, who boasts a versatile experience spanning public service and corporate sectors, could prove to be a beneficial choice. His strategic insight and integrity are laudable, but his lack of grassroots political experience may be a drawback. Mould is known for his expertise in the energy and finance sectors but needs to amplify his grassroots appeal. In a political landscape often dictated by personality and connection with the masses, Mould’s corporate background might not resonate with all voters..
Kwabena Duffuor: The financial titan
Dr. Kwabena Duffuor brings his profound economic knowledge to the table, an asset in a country recovering from economic setbacks. However, his appeal may be limited due to a lack of strong grassroots connection and lacklustre cross-party magnetism. Duffuor’s recent withdrawal from the NDC presidential primary, due to concerns about transparency and fairness, may have diminished his appeal among party members. His decision to withdraw, however, demonstrates his commitment to the integrity of electoral processes, a quality that could be appreciated by voters seeking transparency in governance.
Marrieta Brew Appiah Oppong: The legal luminary
Marrieta Brew Appiah Oppong, with her impressive legacy as a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, could appeal to voters seeking a running mate with robust legal acumen. However, her appeal at the grassroots level and across the party lines might need enhancement. Marrieta’s expertise in legal matters could be a boon in navigating legal and constitutional challenges, but her perceived elitism could alienate grassroots voters.
Joshua Alabi: The scholarly tactician
Joshua Alabi’s blend of academic knowledge and administrative expertise could make him a viable contender. His experience in education and policy planning could attract voters seeking a more intellectual and policy-driven approach to governance. However, his name recognition could use a boost to reach a wider electorate. His scholarly approach, while respected in academic circles, may not resonate with the average voter, and Alabi would need to adopt a more populist approach to expand his appeal. Furthermore, both Alabi and Mahama are from minority tribes in Ghana (Ga and Gonja respectively), which may not complement each other in terms of attracting votes from major ethnic groups, potentially limiting their national appeal.
Of course, it’s crucial to note that Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman, the running mate from the 2020 elections, remains a formidable contender. Nevertheless, her moderate grassroots appeal and cross-party attraction could present an opportunity for others to rise.
The choice of John Mahama’s running mate for the 2024 elections requires meticulous thought and analysis. The ideal choice will not only rally party loyalists but also attract independent voters and appeal to a wide demographic of Ghanaians.
The person chosen must also have the political acumen and strategic vision to help John Mahama restore the broken economy, navigate the challenges of governance, win public trust and build consensus across different groups within the country.