By Kwasi Frimpong
Former President John Mahama’s self-confessed innate problem of indecision continues to play out, as he struggles to settle on a choice of running mate for the December general elections, with less than seven months to go.
Even though he has publicly claimed that he has the name of the person in mind, with his party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, blaming the delay in naming the person on the novel coronavirus pandemic, our sources within the NDC say “JDM is simply confused and unable to make a firm decision on the matter.”
His main problem is said to be how to get a running mate who can stand shoulder to shoulder with Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, but without the political clout to become a threat to his “Agenda 2024”.
Three names had earlier come out strongly for consideration, but the number has now increased to include others and Seth Terkper, former Minister of Finance, who is now said to be the favourite. “JDM now thinks Terkper does not have what it takes to pose any threat to his 2024 ambitions, but sees him as the most appropriate person to take the fight to Bawumia when it comes to the debate on the economy,” our source said.
Zanetor, Forson and Duffour
Our sources had earlier suggested that Mr Mahama was considering, for political profit, “the accomplished daughter of our party’s Founder”, Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings. The choice of Zanetor was targeted at courting the support of the Rawlings family.
One other eminent personality being considered earlier was Dr Kwabena Duffuor, former Minister of Finance in the late Mills’ administration. He was being considered due to his Ashanti background, affluence and the fact that he would pose no threat to “Agenda 2024” due to his old age.
Another name that had come up strongly was Cassiel Ato Forson, a former Deputy Minister of Finance. According to our sources, he was “being seriously considered simply because he is from the Central Region, and also because he doesn’t have the charisma to use the running mate platform to elevate himself in 2024 to pose any threat to Mahama.”
While these names are still under consideration, our sources say the former President is also now considering the 62-year-old Leslie Mensah Tamakloe because of his Volta Region background. The accomplished entrepreneur and consultant in ICT, energy and national infrastructure development in Ghana and abroad, our sources say, is being pushed by the Volta Caucus within the NDC.
Others who are also under consideration include Sylvester Mensah, former Chief Executive of the NHIA; Kwame Awuah Darko, former Managing Director of both TOR and BOST; and Kwesi Ahwoi.
Mr Ahwoi, according to our sources, is the “poster boy of the powerful Fante Caucus in our party”. As one of the three influential Ahwois, he is believed to be the next available option, should Mr Mahama decide to give back the running mate slot to the Central Region, and decides to ignore the Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam legislator, Mr Ato Forson.
The former NHIA boss is also being considered because of his double background as a Ga and an Ewe. Sly, as he is affectionately called, is, however, believed not to be in the good books of Mr Mahama, having challenged him in the party’s presidential nomination. Mr Mahama also sees him as a threat to his 2024 agenda, but is unable to rule him out completely due to his strong Greater Accra backing and Volta Region background.
Mr Terkper, according to our sources, now ranks high on the list because of his “solid financial background which puts him almost at par with Vice-President Bawumia.” Mr Mahama also does not see him as a threat to his 2024 agenda. Having served as deputy Minister of Finance under the late President Mills, he is one of the few Mills’ appointees who had the chance to serve in the Mahama administration and even got promoted to take over as the main minister.
The chemistry between the two is said to be very strong. Mr Terkper, a chartered accountant, holds MPA degree from the Kennedy School, Harvard University. He obtained his first degree in B.Comm from the University of Cape Coast. As a chartered accountant and public administrator, he follows fiscal, accounting and other economic trends closely. He worked with the IMF and played a key role in the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) in Ghana. He has also consulted for the IMF, Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), Harvard International Tax Program (ITP), African Development Bank (AfDB) and UN Committee of Tax Experts.
Source: Daily Statesman