A Good Running Mate and an Effective Team of Party Executives

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The parties congresses are few months away and soon attention will gravitate toward potential Presidential candidates, Vice Presidential candidates, and party executives. Already, we reading and hearing names emerging from different camps especially, with NDC.

The BOST issue and commentary by some elements within the NPP gave the public hint of internal struggle in the ruling party over who replaces the sitting President. My focus this time is on the selection of a running mate, and executives going to handle affairs of the parties.

Running mates may be chosen by custom or by law, to balance the ticket geographically, religiously, ideologically or on personal grounds. In Nigeria the religious card is played when selecting running mates. The predominantly Christian south is matched with a vice presidential candidate from the predominantly Muslim north, and vice versa. In some jurisdictions, the gender issue is considered seriously,in the recently held election in Bulgaria, both candidates had running mates of opposite gender.

In the United States, the practice of having a running mate was solidified during the American civil war. In 1864, to ensure unity, Abraham Lincoln from the Republican party which was popular in the north and Andrew Johnson of the democratic party, popular in the south,were co-endorsed and run together for President and Vice President of the National Union Party.Johnson succeeded Lincoln afterward, the system changed to what is being practiced in America currently.

The case of Ghana is no different from what pertain in other countries. In 1979 we had two major parties and other smaller parties. The dominant parties were PNP and the PFP. We heard ethnocentric missiles from camps of the two parties. Dr Limann who was the Presidential candidate of the PNP, selected  Prof. JWS de Craft Johnson as his running mate. He didn’t encounter any problem in his selection because of the role Okutwere Bekoe and others played. Victor Owusu the PFP’s candidate, selected Tolon Na, Alhaji Yakubu Tali, as his running mate. Victor encountered serious internal clashes because of his earlier promise to the Eastern Regional Chairman of the PFP Mr E.R.T Madjitey that we would be made the running mate. Victor had to change his earlier position to neutralise the possible impact Limann would have in the north.

The crisis in the PFP  worsened when the uncle of the current President William Ofori Atta an astute politician moved his party the UNC to form alliance with the PNP in the runoff. In the main election, the regional permutation helped the PNP. The smaller parties especially Bernasko’s ACP frustrated the PFP it won many seats in the central region with the late Arkaah from the PNP winning Effutu Awutu Senya.


He can best be described as Mr All Regions. He didn’t need the regional permutations because of his popularity across the regions. His problem was more ideological, the Cpp which was the third force wasn’t disjointed and dispirited as we see it today. Its influence on our elections was huge. The major parties needed their support to cross the border line hence the decision to settle on the late Arkaah. That alliance helped the NDC. Rawlings commanded natural and massive support in the north and the folks in the north saw him more as one of their own so didn’t need any strategic decision to win their votes.

The dynamics returned to the status quo after the exit of Rawlings. Mills went for Martin Amidu and subsequently, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni but lost in all two elections. Candidate Kufour also adopted the ideological permutation in 1996 by selecting late Arkaah as his running mate but lost. He reversed to the regional permutation by selecting Alhaji Aliu Mahama in the 2000 election and in 2004 and won both elections. Nana Addo poached Dr Bawumia naturally an NDC person as his running mate with Prof. Mills going for John Mahama. John brought a lot to the ticket because of his cordial relationship with most of the media giants. Prof commanded huge respect within the academia and the Christendom. The ticket brought on board voters within the undecided voters zone etc.

Soon the parties will head to Congress to select their candidates and executives. For the NDC, it must focus more on who and who going to constitute its executives. The party’s success or otherwise in 2020 will depend hugely on the kind of executives going to support whoever emerges its presidential candidate. The issue about who becomes its running mate must also concern the party folks. If the names emerging are anything to go by, then it means those from the south would need the support of a running mate from the north.

The Npp’s main headache when it comes to the regional permutations is the northern enclave. But the party is cleverly working on that through the Zongo development fund and other strategic decisions. The NDC’S main problem is the Akan zone and by that I mean the Twi speaking areas in the eastern, Ashanti region, and part of the central region specifically, the Assin area. The votes from these areas influence significantly, the overall results of our elections. Strategically, the party cannot ignore this problem. It must work feverishly on that to help balance its books. The votes The Action Congress Party garnered in the central region because of Bernasko, confirms that common political philosophy that the parties are rooted in our communities. The PNP continue to do well in the home region of Dr Limann and the CPP until recently, was doing well in the home region of Dr Nkrumah.

The NDC must strategize and take strategic decisions that would improve its electoral fortune in the Akan enclave. Individuals must bury their parochial interests and look at the bigger picture. Whoever emerges the party’s candidate must also consider this call. The party shouldn’t give up in these areas else, will always go into elections two- thirds feet. If a Southerner wins the contest, then the idle decision would be selecting a northerner or a voltarian depending on how the party works on the dynamics.

The other issue is the election of executives. The party is a true grassroot party. Discipline is something you should not downplay if you want to make meaningful impact in all you do. The party must focus on the kind of people ot is going to elect to handle the party. A good communication team, vibrant organizers from branch to National, vibrant youth leadership. If the party elects an Angel as candidate for 2020 and elect weak executive team, it will continue with its vague comfortable lead song. The job would be made easy and smooth for the candidate if he gets the support of a solid team of executives from branch to national.

Source: Ohenenana Obonti krow

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