NDC Fears Bawumia Says Law Don

A Constitutional Law Professor, H. Kwasi Prempeh says Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s continuous rise in the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) is posing what he termed  ‘mortal threat’ to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

This, he said, had compelled NDC members to attack Dr. Bawumia’s personality instead of questioning his capabilities.

Prof Prempeh, in an article, said he had made a curious observation, saying “the rival attacks on the NPP’s Bawumia have not focused on his suitability or qualification for the high office he seeks.”

“Bawumia’s political ascendancy in the NPP, however, threatens this strategy and propaganda of the NDC in both the short and long term.”

Distasteful Attacks

“In fact, the attacks have not even focused mainly on his claims and message in the areas of the economy and economic management, many of which have gone unanswered.  Rather unusually, the aspect of Bawumia’s candidacy that has earned him the ire and disproportionate attention of the NDC is his ethno-regional identity as a ‘Northerner,’ he pointed out.

“Mahama and his surrogates in the ruling NDC have suggested to voters, especially in the Northern half of the country that as a Northerner, Bawumia is in the wrong party; that he has no future in the NPP except as second fiddle to the flagbearer; that there is even something inauthentic about his Northerner identity. The CPP flagbearer has added that Bawumia is an ‘Accra Northerner,” he said.

He quizzed: “Why are the NPP’s rivals fixated on Bawumia’s identity as a Northerner and in a clearly disapproving way? What is it about Bawumia’s ethno-regional identity that unsettles especially the NDC?”

Total Control

He said Dr. Bawumia’s “unprecedented visibility” in the NPP’s current campaign, his strong command of issues, as well as his cross-party appeal and likeability have cemented his status as a star politician both in the NPP and on the national political scene more broadly.”

“Added to his relative youth, this makes Bawumia the politician to watch, not only within the NPP, but also more importantly from the perspective of the NDC.”

He said that “the NDC had self-consciously positioned itself within the Ghanaian political terrain as the “non-Akan” party by tapping into a strain of historical and emotive suspicions, prejudices, antagonisms and grievances, both real and imagined, held against ‘Akans’ by a number of ethnic minorities but Dr. Bawumia’s persistent rise is giving the NDC cause for concern.

NDC Strategy

Prof Prempeh said, “In this year’s election campaign, the NDC’s identity-based ‘us versus them’ electoral strategy and politicking have been strongly and overtly on display, especially when Mahama and his surrogates and party leaders campaign before non-Akan audiences in the three northern regions and the Volta Region. That this strategy has been perversely effective and politically beneficial to the NDC cannot be disputed.”

“The NDC’s elites and strategists must know that given Bawumia’s centrality in the current 2016 campaign and his national likeability and appeal, victory for the NPP in the December 7 polls will instantly propel Bawumia to front-runner status within a post-Akufo-Addo NPP.”

Bawumia As Veep

He said the NDC anticipating the prospect of Dr. Bawumia in office, has made much of the fact that as vice president to President Kufuor, Vice President Aliu Mahama, also a Northerner, failed to secure the NPP’s nomination for a flagbearer-successor to Kufuor.”

“This fact, however, is not a precedent of much relevance or applicability to Bawumia.”

“As a politician and despite his relative youth in Ghanaian politics, Bawumia has earned, in his own right, a standing and following both in the NPP and nationally that goes far beyond any that the late Aliu Mahama could garner. Therefore, unlike Aliu Mahama, Bawumia’s emergence as front-runner, in the event of a 2016 NPP victory, will make him the man to beat and thus the most likely choice of the NPP as flagbearer in the immediate post-Akufo-Addo era.”

Likely Leader

He said “in the absence of Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Bawumia is likely to lead the NPP in the future since he is accepted by all in the party but if, however, the Akufo Addo/Bawumia ticket were to suffer defeat in the December polls, that outcome would dim, though not extinguish entirely the prospects of Bawumia as likely flagbearer of the NPP in the immediate post-Akufo Addo era.”

“In short, the logical effect of an NPP victory in the December 7, 2016 polls will be to put Dr. Bawumia on course to claiming the party’s flagbearership after Nana Akufo Addo’s term ends. Such a development would instantly undercut a central pillar on which the NDC’s identity-based electoral strategy and coalition has been constructed, namely, the notion that the NPP is an Akan-exclusive party, and thus, not a political home for Northerners or other non-Akans.”

Prof. Prempeh said the NDC’s concern extends beyond the immediate impact of losing the 2016 election, saying “the greater worry is that the success of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia ticket will set in motion a political dynamic that will almost certainly produce a Bawumia at the top of the NPP presidential ticket and thereby weaken significantly the efficacy and viability of the “us versus them” identity politics that has become a central tenet of the NDC way of politics.”