In the upcoming 2020 Presidential elections, it is an uncontested fact that the NDC needs an Akan, an Ashanti to be precise, as a partner to their Gonja warrior and ‘darling boy’ H.E President John Dramani Mahama, in order to strike the NPP at its base, taking advantage of the current despondency affecting the ruling party in that region, and smoothly win to form the next government.
The role of that Ashanti NDC Running Mate is clear cut to capitalise on his family ties, the tradition of his people and the affinity Ashantis have for each other, to further deepen the apathy that has affected a good number of NPP voters in the region.
This need has led to the springing up of notable names who are justifying their suitability for the job because they are after all Ashantis and also capable of executing the NDC Ashanti project.
HON. AKWASI OPPONG FOSU
First is former Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Hon. Akwasi Oppong Fosu. He was the MP for Amenfi East in the Western Region, elected to the 6th Parliament in 2013. His MP-ship ended in 2017 when he was yanked from his seat by the NPP candidate. Even though He belonged to the Western Region caucus of Parliament, Oppong Fosu has since 2017 retraced his roots to the Ashanti region and made a strong case that Ashanti is his ancestral home.
On paper, Akwasi Oppong Fosu was born in Gomoa Afransi, near Agona Swedru in the Central Region, but became an MP in the Western Region. However, He claims his grandfather hails from the Ashanti region, therefore he is an Ashanti royal too.
Hon. Oppong Fosu started lobbying for the Vice Presidential candidate position, early in the year 2017. He made himself relevant and was made a speaker at the 2017 June 4 public lecture, amongst other national NDC programs organised at the time.
Per his short stay in Ministerial office and as a one-term MP, Oppong Fosu is obviously not a political heavyweight and his suitability for the Ashanti project, is yet to be seen.
DR. SAMUEL SARPONG
The second time the case for an Ashanti candidate was made, was in the lead up to the NDC presidential primaries when former Ashanti Regional Minister and former Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) Chief Executive, Samuel Sarpong, took up the Mahama campaign in the region as a lieutenant of Ambassador Ohene Agyekum, the Mahama 2020 Campaign Manager.
Hon. Samuel Sarpong was rumored to be leveraging on that new role to effectively bring the Running Mate position to Ashanti, partly because he consistently attacked the NPP government for doing nothing in the region and dared their regional executives to accept a public debate on his claim.
A through and through Ashanti, Hon Sarpong contested for the Nhyiaeso Parliamentary seat on behalf of the NDC in 2016. He is a well-known NDC name in Kumasi and has that city in his palm. Samuel Sarpong a former Ashanti Regional Officer for the former Serious Fraud Office (now Economic and Organised Crime Office) was a President JEA Mills strongman in Kumasi and enjoyed four years of uninterrupted reign as Mayor of Kumasi.
As the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon Sarpong had serious clashes with his deputy, Joseph Yammin, leading to their joint removal from office. Dr. Sarpong however found favor from President Mahama who re-appointed him into government to go manage the State Housing Company. He has had his fair share of clashes with both NDC and NPP party people in Kumasi, however his selection as NDC’s Vice Presidential Candidate for the 2020 elections will be an interesting pick.
MR ALEX KOFI MENSAH MOULD
Then came the very effective PR campaign stunts of the former CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Mr Alexandra Kofi Mensah Mould. He pulled the lights on himself, not long after the NDC presidential primaries ended in February 2019, by granting interviews, holding public lectures and writing opinions on important national issues, especially in the extractive industry.
Until he developed an interest in the Running Mate position, Alex Mould was widely considered as a Fante with strong Ga heritage. His elder sister, Betty Mould Iddrisu was however known in Ashanti NDC as the mother of the Kwabre constituencies in the region.
Ashanti’s ‘lost-but-now-found son’ Mensah Mould, struggles to speak the Ashanti twi language, but is however a master in his Ga dialect and speaks the Fante language as well – a clear case of an unworkable association being forced into a marriage of convenience because of politics.
Alex Mould is cut for making useful contributions to national discussions on the oil and gas industry, but as to whether he is cut for the task ahead in that Ashanti Twi-speaking region, remains unanswered.
DR. KWABENA DUFFUOR
In the course of the search came Dr Kwabena Duffuor, the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana and former Minister of Finance who owned the now collapsed Unibank, UniCredit and other financial institutions and still owns other businesses including Starr Assurance and EIB Media group.
Dr. Duffuor is well known to be an indigene from Kumawu, in the Ashanti Region but actually hails from Drobonso near Kumawu. A typical shrewd Ashanti businessman revered for his investments and accomplishments. He is the eldest of the pack with a tall list of Ashanti chiefs and elders as his play mates. Duffuor is credited in the NDC for helping the party win the Sekyere Affram Plains Constituency in the Ashanti Region, since its creation, with his brother still sitting in Parliament as the MP for that area.
There is no gain in stating the fact that Duffuor sits among distinguished Ashanti royals and is a fatherly figure for NDC in the region. There are media reports in the regional capital, that his selection is likely to bring about a revival of the NDC in the Ashanti region and disturb the fortunes of the Akyem-led NPP government. That claim will have to be proven if he gets the nod and hits the grounds to meet the chiefs and elders of Ashanti communities to request that 32% of them dump the NPP and embrace his NDC.
MR KINGSLEY AWUAH DARKO
Also in the race for a claim to Ashanti Region is Mr Kingsley Kwame Awuah Darko, the only man to have occupied two executive positions at the same time under the Mahama government, as MD of Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) and Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
Awuah Darko is a son to the founder of Vanguard Assurance, Nana Awuah Darko Ampem (I) an Akyem businessman, from Begoro in the Eastern Region who was enstooled as the Asante Juaben Nkosuo hene (Progress Chief of Juaben). Kwame Awuah Darko’s Mum also hails from Akyem Tafo in the Eastern Region.
Awuah Darko’s connection to Ashanti is rested on the relationship that his grandfather and father established in Juaben, in the Ashanti Region. ‘Master Awuah’ as he was affectionately called, was an Akyem who got posted to the Juabeng government school as the Headmaster, and who lived an exemplary life. Master Awuah together with his children and grandchildren naturally became bona-fide members of Juaben. It is this goodwill that was deepened by the father of Awuah Darko, leading to his enstoolment as the first progress chief of the Juaben, in 1985.
Even though Awuah Darko is an Akyem by blood, he was interested in the affairs of the Ashanti NDC and supported the party’s efforts in that region, especially in the 2016 elections.
In conclusion, the job ahead of the NDC is to break the back of the elephant in its own backyard, as a result of Akufo Addo’s disappointing performance in the region. Should a grandson of Okomfo Anokye and Osei Tutu be selected as a Vice Presidential candidate, connoisseurs say, a sizeable number of Ashantis (above 32%) will prefer to proudly be in the FlagStaff House as kinsmen of the Vice President, than the situation is today under Akufo Addo, where many Ashantis feel marginalised and muzzled out in the sharing of the national cake.
WHY ASHANTI REGION IS CRUCIAL FOR NDC
Looking at the 2016 election results, the NDC risks another defeat if it allows the Ashanti Region to give 77% of Ashanti Region votes to NPP. Below is the breakdown and analysis of votes from NDC and NPP strongholds per the 2016 election results, indicating the importance of Ashanti Region to whoever will the 2020 election.
Volta – (NDC) 629,398 – 135,077 (NPP) = 494,321 for NDC.
Northern – (NDC) 521,850 – 398,384 (NPP) = 123,466 for NDC.
Upper East – (NDC) 273,193 – 157,607 (NPP) = 115,586 for NDC.
Upper West – (NDC) 153,338 – 96,762 (NPP) = 56,576 for NDC.
Total of the difference in these four NDC regions —-
494,321 + 123,466 + 115,586 + 56,567 = 789,940
Difference between NPP and NDC in Ashanti Region —
Ashanti – (NPP) 1,647,274 – 497,235 (NDC) = 1,150,039 for NPP.
So, NDC beat NPP in those four regions they always win by a gap of 789,940, while Ashanti Region alone gave NPP a gap of 1,150,039 and when compared with the NDC strongholds, NPP has 360,099 votes surplus. Ashanti NPP votes alone wipes all of NDC’s gains in Volta, Northern and Upper East and West Regions with a change of over 360,099 votes which is even bigger than the gain of 280,000 votes NPP beat NDC in Eastern Region. Meaning, without the margin from NPP stronghold of Eastern Region, the NPP could have still won 2016 elections with 360,099 votes difference.
This is how much the votes from the Ashanti region can do.