NPP flagbearer race: Bawumia floors Ken and Alan in round 1

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

Ghana’s Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has won the first round of voting in his ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) primary elections to chose its candidate for the 2024 presidential ballot, according to official results Saturday.

With President Nana Akufo-Addo stepping down after two terms, Bawumia has been touted as an early front-runner by analysts and pollsters to run for the NPP in the December 2024 presidential race.

He won around 68 percent of the votes in Saturday’s election by party delegates — far ahead of rivals — and will enter a final primary ballot on November 4 among the top five NPP contenders.

Alongside Bawumia, two other top contenders for the post were Alan Kyerematen, a former trade minister, with 10.29 percent, and Kennedy Agyapong, a prominent lawmaker, with 14.3 percent, the results showed.

“Bawumia is the most marketable aspirant and he seems to have a lot of support among the super delegates,” local pollster Ben Ephson told AFP.

“He has been formidable and given a good account of himself as a vice president.”

Results of the party’s tally were certified by electoral authorities on Saturday.

Ghana is managing its worst economic crisis in years and has entered into a $3 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund in a bid to better manage its debt burden.

If he wins the NPP candidacy, Bawumia — a former deputy governor of the central bank –- could become the first Muslim to lead the ethnic Akan-dominated party.

The NPP, whose stronghold is in Ghana’s Akan-dominated Ashanti Region, has been led by non-Muslims and Akan-speaking candidates since its formation.

But the country’s dynamics have shifted with Bawumia becoming the first non-Akan aspirant of the NPP, demonstrating his strong position as front-runner.

Carlos Ahenkorah, a NPP lawmaker and spokesperson for Kyerematen, said it would be too risky for the party to elect a sitting vice president as its candidate after the recent economic turmoil.

“It will be politically suicidal and strategically unwise for us,” he said.

But Bawumia’s camp pointed to his proven record in opposition and in government, and analysts said he also appeared to have establishment backing as a loyalist and a candidate with a strong economic background.

“He has paid his dues and stood by the party when all wasn’t well in opposition. The delegates feel it is time to reward him,” Abdul-Razak Wuni, a political scientist, told AFP.

“It’s clear that the economic crisis will dominate the campaign in the lead up to the 2024 polls — the NPP will need an economist… He’s the suitable choice for them.”




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