Ghana’s ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has elected former minister for foreign affairs as its presidential candidate ahead of next year’s general elections. Nana Akufu-Addo, who was also the justice minister under the current administration, would take over from President John Kufuor, who is constitutionally barred from seeking another term after serving two consecutive terms as president of the country.
Akufu-Addo polled over 48 percent of the votes cast during the elections, but his nearest challenger conceded defeat ahead of the scheduled run-off making him the presidential candidate of the NPP. Ben Ephson is the managing editor of the Daily Dispatch, an independent newspaper. From the capital Accra he tells reporter Peter Clottey that he is not surprised with Akufu-Addo’s election.
“I believe that he was one of the two favorites for the slot or either the former trade minister Alan Kyeremanteng. I think what bothers most is the way the New Patriotic Party is going to organize itself because now we know that Professor Atta Mills (of the opposition National Democratic Congress, NDC) is going for a third time. And in both elections he’s had a commendable 44% although he had not won, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) has got Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom. So, I believe that the onus rests on the party than the individual call Nana Akufu-Addo. The party would have to organize to help him with President Kufuor not eligible to contest again next year,” Ephson pointed out.
He said although the newly elected presidential candidate of the ruling party would face challenges due to what has been described as some negatives in President Kufuor’s governance, he expects him to also benefit from some of the positives that the current president has so far chalked.
“Clearly, that would be one of the baggage that Nana Akufu-Addo would have to carry. But on the other side of the coin there are a number of positives that Nana Akufu-Addo is going to carry, improved overall performance. But what needs to translate, and what Nana Addo needs to do is to show how he can fight the issue of corruption that the NDC is bound to throw at the NPP,” he said.
Ephson said it was evident from the beginning of the contest that it was a two-horse race.
“It’s been just about only 48 hours after the election, but clearly everybody has been left in no doubt that whether it was Nana Akufu-Addo or Mr. Alan Kyeremanteng as the NPP would have a fight of their political life for next year’s elections. It’s not going to be easy, with the CPP having Dr. Nduom any of the votes that President Kufuor had in 2004, that goodwill is going to go back to the CPP,” Ephson noted.
He said the presidential candidate elect should have as his priority the need to reconcile the party ahead of next year’s general elections to stand any chance of becoming the next Ghanaian president.
“That is going to be his first start. Without a united front he is going to have it very difficult in winning or having a very successful election,” he said.