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RUNNING MATE BROUHAHA – RUNNING, RUNNING, AND GASPING!!<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">11</span> min read</span>


Within the fold of the ruling New Patriotic Party, the struggle among some self-acclaimed, self-annointed, fat-walleted, influence-peddlers continues.

On daily basis, their supporters and praise singers are stepping on the toes of others whilst displaying ear-to-ear grins as if to tell the other so called contestants; “get the hell out of here, you born dog!” The macabre dance involves mangling! How is this going to leave the party? For now, nobody cares and; manifestly, the centre of the Party has caved in with DJ Brukutu Mafiano, the party’s National Organizer more concerned at being by the side of Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, aka, Napo than being at the side of the Party’s Flagbearer, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. Justin Kodua, the Party’s General Secretary, not as bare-faced as Nana Bee, is the other errand boy for the Energy Minister.

So, as far as the two central figures are concerned, the Presidential candidate should take care of himself.


As Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the Republic told his party folks, “organization decides everything”.

One would have thought that since we all recognize that voter registration is one of the key anchors to winning elections, the Party machinery would be in full-gear by now, criss-crossing the length and breadth of the country to ensure that party sympathizers are registering in droves.

Sad to relate, the current crop of leadership have their own ideas: self-conceited inchoate personalities, the two of them are. Yet, paradoxically, they are supposed to be the movers and shakers of the party now, given the fact that the Chairman, Steven Ntim is an outworn shibboleth. His sword is blunted on both sides.


Whilst it has become crystal clear that the current triumvirate at the helm of the party’s affairs are not up to the task, they (Justin Kodua and Nana Bee) having joined ranks with one of the contenders for the Vice-Presidential slot are busily plotting to hijack the party, post December 2024, after the Presidential and General elections, regardless of wherever the pendulum swings, win or lose.

They intend to out-muscle those Regional Executives, especially, the Regional Chairmen who are not supportive of the bid of their candidate and have them all replaced, in order to prepare the grounds for that person, if Dr. Bawumiah does not win the elections for the Party in December 2024.

Has the NPP suddenly become shepherdless? Much on that later. But let us come back to discuss the matter of a suitable running mate.

The usuals: Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, M.P., Manhyia South, former Minister, Education and incumbent Minister, Energy. Second, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, former Deputy Minister for Education and current substantive Minister for Education; Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei Opare, former Deputy Minister, Employment and the incumbent Chief of Staff plus, Mrs. Irene Naa Torshie Addo, former MP for Tema West, former Deputy Minority Whip and the incumbent Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).


Do these people qualify to be considered by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia? The obvious response is “Yes”. Article 13(3)1 of the NPP Constitution provides: “The Party’s Presidential Candidate shall, in consultation with the National Council, nominate the Vice-Presidential Candidate”. So clearly, the onus lies with the Presidential Candidate to nominate the Vice-Presidential Candidate after discussing the subject matter with, or seeking the advice of, the National Council.

The process does not derogate from the fact that the Presidential Candidate is the person vested with the authority to nominate his running mate, not the National Council.

The qualification criteria for a Vice Presidential Candidate as set out in Article 13(3)(2) is simply this: “The Vice-Presidential Candidate shall be a known and active member of at least five (5) years (standing). The National Council may, however, dispense with this requirement under special circumstances.”

All these four aforementioned are known personalities in the Party for more than five years. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has since 2009 been the MP for Manhyia having replaced Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor. He has served the constituency for close to 16years, i.e., four continuous terms. As a member of Parliament, he is an active member of the Party.

Madam Akosua Frema served as MP for Ayawaso West (Wuogon) for two terms. Now serving as the Chief of Staff, Auntie Frema is, undisputably well known and very active in the party, accompanying the President to attend National Executive Committee as well as National Council meetings.

Mrs. Irene Naa Torshie Addo served the people of Tema West for two terms, that is eight (8) years as the MP. She has been known for more than the five years required under the Party’s constitution. Ever since her ouster, President Akufo Addo has rewarded her with the position of the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund and by that, she has been in constant touch, over the past eight continuous years, with the party.

Pursuing the concept of decentralization means Naa is in daily communication with the grassroots elements of communities in the country.

Dr. Osei Yaw Adutwum came into the party by a late entrance examination. He flew from Los Angeles, California to win the NPP primaries at Bosomtwe, dislodging the current Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah. Dr. Adutwum is the youngest of the four contenders in the party but, even he, has served seven (7) years and still counting as the MP for Bosomtwe. He has done more than the five years required under the Party’s constitution.

Another force in the equation whose fire has become latent is Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekuful, a four-term member of Parliament and the Minister for Communications. She is also very well known and has also been very active in the party over the past 16years.

Over the past couple of months, especially since the conclusion of the Presidential primaries, one person who is emerging strongly as a must-consider person is Hon. Bryan Acheampong, the two-and-a-half term member of Parliament for Abetifi.

Bryan is remembered for his duel-to-death encounters with Hon. Opare Ansah for the Suhum constituency seat. Before then, however, Bryan was the Special Assistant to Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey, the erstwhile Chairman of NPP. Bryan served briefly as the Deputy National Security Minister, and is currently the Minister for Agriculture who is doing a lot of good at the Ministry. He is into many businesses and is a philanthropist who has helped many in the Party, long before he became a Minister of State.

Bryan, Ursula and Irene are not from the Ashanti Region, despite any pretensions to the contrary, and any strict application of the Ashanti Regional rule will disqualify the three.

The canvassers for all these people are stressing on their “Okumkom” (hunger-killing) credentials. In other words, they have control of funds, never mind the source of their wealth. All these six people are public officers who eight years ago, before they were thrust into public office (“juicy” positions) except one were not persons of high monetary substance. The question is, from where have they become rich overnight and are spreading money everywhere and “buying” the support of social commentators, editors, newscasters, party faithfuls and all?

The 2024 Presidential and General elections is going to be a make-or-break election for the two main parties – NPP and NDC. It is going to be a high-spending electioneering campaign that may involve expenditures close to $200million for both Parliamentary and Presidential elections. It is going to be a real high risk enterprise. Who among these “hopefuls” can donate $20million, that is, one-tenth (10%) or even the equivalent of $10million (5%) of what is required?? The people dwelling on monetary issues should spare the Party of such non-essentials. It is competence, incorruptibility, humility, knowledge, experience and complementarity- that should be the acid test.

If the “competition” is reduced to money, then the person of merit is Bryan Acheampong. He is the only one among the lot who long before he was made a Minister, long before he entered Parliament had established himself. He is one person that any forensic audit cannot hang any corruption charge on his neck. He is one who can boldly declare: “before Abraham was, I am.”

In all sincerity and frankness, if the ladies are to be considered, then the one with a very discerning and sharp mind, experience and knowledge who can add value to the Presidency is Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful. She stands head over shoulders above the other ladies in terms of value addition. Ursula in terms of sharpness and advocacy, is the woman who can outperform and out-muscle NDC’s Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman. However, Ursula is accused of being brush; Auntie Frema has a calmer disposition; Naa Torshie has the claws of a tiger, relatively, but is the youngest and prettiest among the ladies. These days, when physical appearance has also become a factor in serious choices, who says pretty, wrinkle-less faces don’t matter in politics and diplomacy.

As Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is a Northerner, he needs a Southerner to pair up with. All the persons discussed are Southerners. Dr. Bawumia is from a minority group up North and, accordingly, requires a mate from a majority stock to pair with. That, for now is the Ashanti stock. Dr. Bawumia is a muslim, and needs to partner who is a christian, and that christian must be from a denomination with a huge following, not a one-man church.

Dr. Bawumia is an academic-turned politician. His politics has been with the Executive, he requires someone from another arm of government; Judiciary or Legislature. All six already discussed are legislators. If the legislative arm of government is to be considered, then there are two standouts there.
They are incomparable: Hon. Joe Osei Wusu, aka, Joe Wise and Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.

Hon. Joe Osei Wusu, is a 4th – term MP for Bekwai, and is now serving for the second consecutive term as 1st Deputy Speaker. A very knowledgeable person in Parliamentary practice, he is calm and and very measured and would serve a very good pair for Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. He is not self-conceited and shows tremendous respect to all and sundry. The President can sleep and snore with Joe Osei Wusu as his Vice. He has the pesona and the aura.

The other fellow, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, is the acknowledged colossus in Parliament. The 7th term MP has served in the Leadership of the Party in Parliament for six terms.

He knows the nooks and and crannies of Parliament and has been a known and active member of the party since 1992. A non-lawyer who leads lawyers in the business of law-making in parliament, he has seen it all. In terms of governance, none of the people measures up to his acumen. He is a good debator who has depth and balance and is all-round. Above all, he has eloquence and presence. He is a christian and belongs to the second largest Pentecostal church in Ghana, Assemblies of God.

Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is the MP of the MPs. He is one person who both NPP and NDC accept as a man who can assist Dr. Bawumia to build bridges, to build consensus on critical national issues and hence help to unite a very polarized nation.

I may want to end with Apostle Onyinah.
A very good person, a godly person. Is he a known and an active member of the Party? I am not sure any party person can attest to this. The Party’s constitution as previously mentioned, however, provides that the Party’s National Council can “dispense with that requirement” on the part of Apostle Opoku Onyinah.

Apostle Opoku Onyinah, if chosen, could rein in the huge christian populations, especially, the Pentecostals and Charismatics for the NPP. Elections, they say, is about numbers. However, it may not be a done deal even with the Apostle.
Reverend Ndabaninge Sithole and Bishop Abel Mozerewa were all disasters, politically in Northern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Bishop Desmond Tutu was a very strong moral voice in South Africa but did not enter mainstream politics.

Martin Luther King was a voice of conscience in the geopolitics of USA. Would Apostle Onyina confine himself to assisting in resetting the moral compass of the country? Or would he want to enter mainstream partisan politics? If he does, his strength would be ethics, morality and transparency.

However, in terms of governance, I dare say he would not be able to add much. Politics and governance are learnt and practiced. The much loved Apostle does not have these.

These are your men and women of high standing in the party, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. My choice for you, if I Kontopiaat, Revised Standard Version, am honoured to do so, would be in the following order;
Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu;
Joe Osei Wusu;
Matthew Opoku Prempeh

Undoubtedly, the topnotch personality is Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu in terms of complementarity and every other consideration. The same is true for Hon. Joe Osei Wusu. In Ashanti, in spite of the ugly noises, spilled out in faltisimo, these are the two stand-out personalities of honour. The question is, are they available and willing?

Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh is a person of considerable versatility, but he is next in line after these two people. The mantle can only fall on him if the two stalwarts decline interest.

Mr Presidential Candidate, after Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, close the shop, no more gate crushers, as simple as that. The choice or nomination however remains yours and yours only, Your Excellency Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

Kojo Asenso Darko (Kontopiaat)
A patriot since 1982

Story By Michael Ofosu-Afriyie, Kumasi