Let’s take a short journey down memory lane to 2008, when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) broke the ceilings of historical political flagbearer-race happenings.
It was in this year that the party featured 17 candidates on its ballot sheets for the presidential candidate race.
This was indeed an unprecedented move, seeing that so many people in the NPP wanted to take over the vacant position from John Agyekum Kufuor.
In a 2021 assessment of Hackman Owusu Agyemang, a stalwart of the party who could not hide his recollection of that moment, it was a “major mistake.”
That “major mistake,” however, brought something progressive to the decision-making machinery of the NPP.
The party made amendments to its constitution, putting in place measures to ensure that it never had to repeat such ‘travesty.’
The amended constitution of the New Patriotic Party of August 22, 2009, now states that:
“Where there are more than five contestants for nomination as the Party’s Presidential Candidate, a Special Electoral College shall cast their votes by secret ballot for the first five contestants to be short-listed. The Special Electoral College shall comprise the following delegates: (i) The National Council (ii) The National Executive Committee (iii) The Regional Executive Committees (iv) National Council of Elders (v) Members of Parliament (vi) Three representatives of each of special organs of the Party.”
What the current situation of aspirants for the vacant NPP flagbearer position look like:
Seeing that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Ghana’s president and the most recent flagbearer of the NPP, is nearing the end of his presidency, it has created a vacancy for the presidential candidate slot in the party.
Even before any official announcements for their bids to run for the slot were made, the Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, was highly tipped to take over from his current boss.
It is for several reasons, including the fact that this is a man who has been with Nana Akufo-Addo since 2008, when the president made his first attempt at becoming head of state.
In 2012, he once again entered the presidential race as the running mate to Akufo-Addo, and stuck with him all through to 2016 when their third attempt earned the votes of Ghanaians.
Now, after two terms in office as president and vice president, it is believed that Bawumia is one of the most qualified to take over from Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as both flagbearer of the NPP and Ghana’s president.
But that would not be a walk in the park for the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana because one of the fiercest contenders in the NPP race is back on the road: Alan Kyerematen.
The former Minister of Trade and Industry recently resigned and immediately announced his intention to run for the flagbearer position of the NPP.
Alan’s presence on the scene is one that many regard as ‘real competition’ because of his history in both the political space of Ghana and much more so in the NPP.
Beside Nana Akufo-Addo, the only other candidate who has commanded a lot of political clout within the party has been Alan Kyerematen.
Many political pundits and experts believe that Alan is the strongest contender Nana Akufo-Addo has ever had.
And then there is the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, who has also put himself forward for the position.
Joe Ghartey, a former Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Minister of Railways, is up next.
Other names vying for the slot and who have been publicly identified (although not all of them have officially announced their bids) are Kwabena Agyapong, the former General Secretary of the NPP; Boakye Agyarko, the former Minister of Energy; Kofi Konadu Apraku, a former MP and Minister of Regional Cooperation; Francis Addai-Nimoh, a former Member of Parliament for Mampong; and Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the immediate past Minister of Food and Agriculture.
What decision will the NPP take?
Should all the above decide to run (including others who could join the race) the NPP will hold another special congress to prune the numbers down.
The above clause in the NPP constitution makes that clear.
After all these processes are exhausted, whichever personalities make it into the final 5 list would have to appeal to a certain group of persons.
Again, the NPP constitution provides the list:
“The Party’s Presidential Candidate shall be elected by the following delegates:
(i) The National Council
(ii) The National Executive Committee
(iii) The Regional Executive Committees
(iv) The Constituency Executive Committees
(v) The Electoral Area Coordinators
(vi) The five (5) Polling Station Executive Officers in each Polling station
(vii) National Council of Elders
(viii) All NPP Members of Parliament
(ix) Past National Officers
(x) Three (3) representatives of each of the special organs of the Party
(xi) Twelve (12) delegates from every external branch as defined under section 8(2) of this Constitution.
(xii) Founding Members who are signatories to the registration documents of the Party at the Electoral Commission
(xiii) Fifteen Patrons to be elected from among themselves
(xiv) One Tescon representative from each recognized tertiary institution
(xv) All New Patriotic Party card bearing Ministers and deputy Ministers when the Party is in government.”
The NPP is however yet to announce dates for its presidential primaries.