Feature: For Presidential Candidate and Running Mate, NPP Wins the Ethnic Battle

The National Democratic Congress (NDC), would use the least opportunity to taunt the New Patriotic Party (NPP), calling it an ethnic-bias party, which does not regard Northerners and Muslims for presidential candidates.

This made the NPP look bad in the eyes of most Ghanaians, especially the Northerners and Muslims. But the records state otherwise.

In the 1992 General Elections, the NPP presented an Akan Christian as flag bearer and a Northerner Muslim as running mate.The NDC presented, an all-Christian Ewe and Fante as flag bearer and running mate. Both were Southerners.The NDC won the election and the presidency was all Christians and Southerners.

In 1996, the NPP presented an Akan/Asante Christian as presidential candidate and due to the electoral alliance with the Convention People’s Party (CPP), it had the Nkrumaist party leader, a Fante Christian as running mate. The NDC presented, an Ewe as flag bearer and again a Fante as running mate, both were Christians.  The NDC won again and the presidency was all Christians and Southerners.

In 2000, the NPP presented an Akan/Asante Christian as presidential candidate with a Northerner Muslim as running mate. And the NDC presented an Akan Christian as presidential candidate with a Christian Northerner as running mate. The NPP won and for the first time, and the presidency was Christian and Muslim.

In 2004, the NPP presented the same team and won re-election, while the NDC put up the Akan Christian as presidential candidate and for the first time, a Northerner Muslim as running mate.

In 2008, the NPP presented an Akan Christian as presidential candidate and Northerner Muslim as running mate. The NDC presented, an Akan Christian as flag bearer and a Christian Northerner as running mate. The NDC won the elections and for the first time a Northerner entered the presidency on NDC’s ticket. But it was still an all-Christian presidency.

In 2012, the NPP presented the same team as it did in 2008 and as a result of the demise of president Atta Mills, the NDC presented vice president John Mahama, the Northerner Christian as presidential candidate and an Akan Christian Amissah Arthur as running mate. The NDC won the elections and the presidency was again an all-Christian affair.

In 2016, the NPP once again presented the Southern Christian/Northern Muslim team of Akufo-Addo and Bawumia and won the election to bring back the Christian/Muslim mix in the presidency. The NDC put up John Mahama and Amissah Arthur, an all-Christian mix.

In 2020, the NPP put up the same team and won re-election, The NDC came up with John Mahama as presidential candidate and another Christian, Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, a Fante, as running mate.

The NDC raised its taunting of NPP to a higher level long before the presidential primaries for 2024, in attempts to convince all Ghanaians that the ruling party was anti-Muslims and would never field a Muslim presidential candidate.

Significantly, for the 2024 General Elections, the NPP has come out with a Northerner Muslim as presidential candidate in the person of vice-president Mahamudu Bawumia. And he settled for an Akan/Asante Christian, as running mate in the person of Matthew Opoku Prempeh. The NDC came out with the same John/Jane ticket, an all-Christian affair.

With the inclusion of the 2024 General Elections, fifteen Ghanaians, namely Adu-Boahen, Roland Alhassan, Jerry Rawlings, Nkensen Arkaah, J.A. Kufuor, AluiMahama, JEA Mills, Martin Amidu, Muhammed Mumuni, John Mahama, Nana Addo, Mahamudu Bawumia, Amissah Arthur, Jane Opoku Agyemang and Matthew Prempeh, have appeared on presidential/running mate tickets for their parties. The highest entrants are Bawumia and John Mahama, each appearing five times.

Looking at the eight past General Elections and the next one, the records are in favour of the NPP who have presented for ten times, Christians and for eight times Muslims on the presidential/running mate tickets. The Christians are Southerners and all the Muslims are Northerners. The NDC will by 2024, present seventeen Christians, seventeen times, including two Northerners and only one Muslim on the presidential tickets.

The NPP strongholds are in the Akan regions, most especially in Ashanti region, which is the only region which had consistently voted for the NPP since 1992. So, it is natural that the NPP should present Akan flag bearers.

The NDC on the other hand has stronghold bases in the North and Volta regions and almost the entire Muslim communities. Yet, apart from 2004, the party never put a Muslim on the presidential/running mate ticket. And the Voltarians seem to becoming insignificant in the NDC so far as presidential/running mate tickets are concern, after appearing on the presidential ballot in 1992 and 1996.

The question is, if John Atta Mills had not died, would the NDC put vice president John Mahama on the presidential ballot in 2016? With the clout around him, the NDC could not dare to choose any other person for 2012 and since then, as the most powerful person in the NDC, that party could not risk rejecting him.

Looking at NDC presidential primaries, the party had all the opportunity to reward the Northerners for their strong love and dedication towards the party in the 2006 presidential primaries, when a Northerner and Muslim, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu contested three Akans. He placed third amassing 137 votes or 8.2% of the 1,673 total votes cast. Why the NDC dumped the Muslim could explain its inner true feelings about people of that religion.

Looking at the NPP presidential primaries since 1992, there were three occasions that a Muslim contested, in 1998 when Malik Alhassan Yakubu contested and placed fifth out of six contestants; in 2007, when Vice President Aliu Mahama contested and placed third out of seventeen contestants and in 2023, when the Northerner and Muslim, Mahamudu Bawumia contested and won the primaries to become the first of his kind to be flag bearer for the NPP.

This eighth parliament saw the NDC back in opposition. It presented a strong leadership of five MPs, led by Muslims, namely Haruna Iddrisu as minority leader and Muntaka Mubarak as minority chief whip. These two gentlemen were doing wonderful job for the opposition, when all of a sudden, in January 2023, the NDC remove these Muslims and dumped them into the backbench. Today, the NDC leadership in Parliament as all Christians. And yet, the NDC wants to convince Ghanaians that it has the Muslims at heart.

One region which has never appeared on any of the NDC presidential tickets, even though it is the region which supplies the highest number of presidential votes for that party, is the Ashanti region. Asantes are never regarded in the NDC and so, are never allowed anywhere near the presidential/running mate ticket, no matter the sacrifices made by very good Asantes like Kojo Bonsu and Kwabena Duffuor. In the recent NDC presidential primaries, Kwabena Duffuor was rudely pushed out of line.

The NPP is not an ungrateful party as the NDC. Having been established that Ashanti region is the stronghold of the party, the party never misses out putting Asantes in high places whenever the opportunity comes. Thrice, the party had an Asante holding its flag in presidential elections and that was H.E. J.A. Kufuor. Prof. AduBoahen, the party’s first flag bearer was an Akyem with ancestral roots in Juaben, Ashanti.

And for the 2024 General Elections, the NPP has on its presidential ticket, an Asante as running mate, in the person of Matthew Opoku Prempeh. This Asante/Northern Muslim union can be traced back to the days of the United Party (UP), the roots of the NPP.

The UP was made of Asante-based National Liberation Movement (NLM), the Northern-based Northern People’s Party (NPP), the Muslim Association Party, the two Ewe based parties, the Togoland Congress and Anlo Youth Association and the Ga based Ga Shifimokpee.

Clearly looking at the NPP, even though the union within the UP was broken by Nkrumah and further damaged by socialists like Rawlings, making majority of Ewes, Gas, Northerners and Muslims not to be fond of the NPP, the party has always opened its arms to embrace the minority, including Muslims and Northerners.

Can the NDC today, show such love to Muslims and Northerners? After what it just did by removing the two most dynamic Muslims in the party, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu and Hon Muntaka Mubarak from its 2024 National Campaign Team, the party’s intentions against Muslims are now open secret. The NPP, on the other hand, has continued to openly show love to Northerners and Muslims, even though, these two groups have not realized that, to reciprocate the gesture.

And now what are all these ugly noises coming from Ashanti NPP after Matthew Opoku Prempeh (Napo) was made running-mate? Some group of party executives are saying, Napo campaigned seriously against the regional chairman, Bernard Antwi Boasiako (Wontumi) during the recent regional executive elections and so they will not campaign for the party, with Napo as running mate.

What do they say about Wontumi, who went about in 2019/2020 making sure some MPs lost in the primaries? Fomena is one striking example, where the sitting MP, Andrew Asiamah Amoako was made to lose the primaries in an act of broad daylight robbery, and had to go independent to secure his seat. If Wontumi could decide who is fit or not fit to stand for parliamentary elections, what is wrong if another person decides he is not fit to be chairman of the party in the region?

Then comes Hon. Appiah Kubi, who is saying he has issues with Napo and so he does not support him being the running mate. What a shame!

Unfortunately, it is the majority which decides in a democracy, for if it is the minority, then during the NPP 2007 presidential primaries, Arthur Kennedy who secured one vote would have been the presidential candidate.

And between the NPP and the NDC, the NPP has won the ethnic battle.

Congratulations Hon. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, for this one important higher step in your political career. May God bless you and protect you in your new post.

By Hon. Daniel Dugan


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