President Johan Dramani Mahama of Ghana has named Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur as his running mate in the December 7 general election.
The announcement was made Tuesday after the national executives of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) voted to confirm the party’s ticket.
“It was a unanimous decision by the Council of Elders and the National Executive Committee of the party (NEC),” said Information Minister Fritz Baffour. “I was present this morning at the NEC meeting, where a motion was tabled to either endorse or not endorse his nomination or selection, but it was overwhelming.”
Baffour said the choice of Amissah Arthur as the vice presidential candidate enhances the chances of the NDC in the election.
"He brings a great sense of gravitas, of experience, of professionalism, of knowledge, because he’s been part and parcel, in one way or the other, over the past 20 years or more, of the economic management team of the government,” Baffour said. "He has been very much in tune with economic policies that all governments of Ghana have undertaken over the years."
Amissah Arthur has a master’s degree in economics and has lectured in economics at the University of Ghana and also at the Anambra State College of Education, Awka Anambra State, Nigeria.
But, critics say the vice president has failed to implement policies that could have stopped the depreciation of the country’s currency, the cedi, against the dollar when he was the governor of the Bank of Ghana.
Opponents also say the ruling party has failed to alleviate the suffering of citizens who face harsh economic conditions because of what they describe as the administration’s failed economic policies. Baffour disagrees.
“There has always been an unnerving trend for the cedi to lose value in an election year. But, I must admit that he’s done a great job this time. We have arrested the slide of the cedi, through prudent economic measures,” said Baffour.
"It is to be expected that there would be a certain devaluation of the cedi because of certain perception,” he added. “But, gradually, we are removing those perceptions from the minds of investors and people who deal in the money market in reality.”
He said the ruling party is encouraging its backers to avoid violence before, during and after the election.