With only four months to go until the New Patriotic Party (NPP)’s flagbearer elections in November, early polls are predicting victory for vice president Mahamudu Bawumia as the party’s preferred presidential candidate.
Results released by Global Info Analytics on 10 July found the majority of NPP supporters are backing Bawumia to lead the party into the 2024 elections.
He is followed by former trade and industry minister Alan Kyerematen and Assin Central parliamentarian Kennedy Agyapong.
“The general voting population backs vice president Bawumia ahead of Kyerematen and Agyapong to lead the NPP in 2024.”
“Among NPP supporters, Bawumia has taken a huge lead, backed by 50% of supporters compared to the 33% for Kyerematen and 16% for Agyapong,” Mussa Dankwa, the executive director of Global Info Analytics, tells The Africa Report.
Representatives from both Kyerematen and Bawumia campaigns deferred commentary on the results of the poll.
The three are leading the pack of 10 aspirants for the position. On 26 August, the number will be whittled down to five in a special election before the national conference on 4 November to elect the 2024 flagbearer.
Unlike Bawumia and Agyapong who are making their first attempts, Kyerematen is on his fourth. He lost in 2007, 2010 and 2014 to Nana Akufo-Addo.
If, after his term as president, the NPP needs a successor, it naturally should be me
“For the welfare of NPP, I sacrificed by stepping back to allow Akufo-Addo to contest as our presidential candidate,” Kyerematen told teeming delegates in Accra earlier this month.
“If, after his term as president, the NPP needs a successor, it naturally should be me,” he said.
Being a Christian and an Ashanti plays to his advantage in the Akan-majority NPP, just as his scandal-free public life.
Pros and cons on all sides
Bawumia, who hails from Tamale in the Northern Region would be the first Muslim to lead the NPP if he’s elected, but he also needs to appeal to the majority Christian delegates and non-northerners in the NPP.
A January 2023 survey conducted by Outcomes International Ghana, which also projected a Bawumia victory, found that “ethnic/geographic or religious background of the candidate did not appear to have a significant effect” on the choice of an NPP flagbearer candidate.
“There are incumbency advantages and disadvantages. How Bawumia is able to strike a balance between the two is what will determine his fortunes in the flagbearer race,” Ransford Gyampo, a political scientist at the University of Ghana, tells The Africa Report.
A political science lecturer at the University of Cape Coast, Jonathan Asante Otchere however believes that the country’s present economic challenges will negatively affect Bawumia’s chances.
“Bawumia should have ensured that the economy did not deteriorate to this level. That would have helped his presidential bid. But looking at the situation now, he cannot be proud of it as someone who was described as an economic whiz kid,” he said.
Leading from the back
The vice president himself is latching on to the events of 2012 – where he was the party’s main witness in the election petition as a demonstration of his loyalty to the party to woo delegates.
Even though the party lost the case, it shot Bawumia into the spotlight and endeared him to many party loyalists.
“Most of our members were making excuses when the party was in need of a witness for the 2012 general election petition at the Supreme Court. I sacrificed my political career for the party. I’m the best person to lead the party,” Bawumia told supporters last week.
Agyapong continues his boisterous campaign across the country, selling himself as the blunt, independent politician who will work in the interest of grassroots people.
“Ken [Agyapong] is very trustworthy, truthful and blunt. He is for the grassroots like the polling station executives are for us. In this current dispensation as NPP and the country, we need someone like him who is courageous, just and brave to speak the truth,” Agya Yaw, a supporter tells The Africa Report.
An apparent alternative to Kyeremateng and Bawumia, Agyapong’s supporters will most likely back Kyeremateng than Bawumia in the event of a run-off according to the Global Info poll.
Ex-president Kufuor support for Kyerematen is not much of a secret
“Among NPP voters, 21% of Agyapong’s supporters would back Bawumia, while 57% will back Kyeremateng and 23% would not vote,” the poll revealed.
Akufo-Addo’s support for Bawumia is apparent, say analysts, and may draw in some more votes for the candidate but same can be said for Kufuor’s support for Kyeremateng.
“Ex-president Kufuor’s support for Kyerematen is not much of a secret and will surely win him some votes, but we can’t say whether that will be enough to make him the flagbearer,” a source within the NPP leadership tells The Africa Report.
There's more to this story
Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.
Already a a subscriber Sign In