After a long wait which has left many people speculating on who could be the running mate of Nana Akuffo Addo and the NPP, the party has finally come out to name a former deputy Governor of the Bank Ghana Dr. Muhamadu Bawumia as the man to partner their flagbearer to wrestle power from the NDC in the December 2012 elections. Dr. Bawumia who served as the Deputy Governor of Ghana for a long time was also the running mate of Nana Akuffo Addo in the 2008 presidential elections. Having been close to the presidency in the first round of the 2008 elections after resigning from the Bank of Ghana, the renowned economist is determined to face the challenge of winning power to become the second important man on the Ghanaian soil. But the celebrated economist is more concerned with solving the political and social needs of his country men and women especially the youth than being merely the second important man.
In accepting the challenge of partnering Nana Addo at the party’s Asylum Down headquarters at its meeting with the National Council, Dr Bawumia clearly demonstrated his gratitude to the party and his preparedness to salvage the country from its economic woes “I know that this is a sacred responsibility that has been entrusted upon me and I accept the challenge in all humility and I hope to be able to rise up to that challenge with the blessings of Allah,” he stated.
“I know that this nomination is one that people have talked about a lot but I will like to say that this nomination is not about me personally; it is about the future of this country, it is about the youth of this country, it is about how we are going to transform this country”. Sounding like the legendary Dr. Nkrumah, Mr Bawumia said “my nomination would be meaningless unless it is linked to the total economic transformation of Ghana”.
But what does Dr. Bawumia brings to the ticket of Nana Addo and the NPP? Critiques, some of who come from within the NPP, are skeptical about Bawumia’s capability of helping the NPP to win power. They argue that since he could not help the party in winning the last election, he has no business partnering Nana the second time. Some also argue that he has not garnered much political experience to partner the second biggest opposition party waiting breathtakingly to snatch power from its opponents. The NDC which endorsed professor Mills, who also decided to retain Vice President John Mahama late last year, seems to be shaken by the NPP’s choice of Bawumia. They have therefore come out to vehemently down play Nana’s choice of him.
”With regards to Bawumia’s specific selection, I think it comes to me as a bit of an anti-climax because if Ghanaians have to be kept waiting for two years just for Nana Addo to retain the one that he picked for the 2008 elections, then I think that the wait was not worth it,” said Felix Ofosu Kwakye, a member of the NDC Government Communication Team. Felix also dismissed the argument by the NPP that the choice of Dr Bawumia will be beneficial to the economic prospects of Ghana should Nana Akufo-Addo be elected as president. But it seems to me that while the critiques find it difficult to punch holes in Bawumia’s prowess, they have rather resorted to attacking Nana for his choice of the respected economist. The Deputy Coordinator of Communications for the National Youth Employment Programme [NYEP], Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed on a TV discussion said that Nana Addo is a political hawk whose only political record is demonstrations. He indicated that Dr. Bawumia has what it takes to become a vice president but unfortunately, he has partnered the wrong person. Mr. Murtala however refused to credit Dr. Bawumia in his contributions in the reshaping of the Zimbabwean economy. He stated that the Zimbabwean problem was a political one and not economical and so the doctor of economics cannot claim the responsibility of transforming their economy.
The majority of the NPP stalwarts are however upbeat about Bawumia’s prospects. The Chairman of the NPP Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and the Deputy Director of Communications for the opposition New Patriotic Party, Yaw Buaben Asamoa have all hailed Nana Addo’s choice of a running mate. They indicated that having an economy that is sick, there’s the need to have an economic expert like Bawumia to resurrect it from the stupor the country’s economy finds itself.
The NPP’s choice of the Bawumia is however not solely based on his economic competence. The other factor is on regional and religious balance. The constitution of Ghana enjoins governments to take into consideration regional balance when appointing ministers and other government functionaries. This is to help satisfy every ethnic group in Ghana. This is however not to be done against competence. The northern part of Ghana commands a large number of voters and so any political party that overlooks the prospect of winning them is courting its own doom. Political parties therefore in Ghana have the challenge of looking up north as they choose their political appointees. The NDC chose a northerner and won in2008 and the NPP has no option than to retain the northern ticket which nearly won them power in 2008. Some analysts are however not enthused with the Southern Northern factor in our Ghanaian politics. They are of the view that it is an omen for ethnic conflict as has happened in some African countries.
The other factor in considering Dr. Bawumia is a religious one. The party holds that since Nana Addo is a Christian, his running mate should be a Muslim. The percentage of Christians and Muslims in Ghana is huge and any mistake to sideline them is politically suicidal. Ghanaian politicians are therefore playing the religious card in order to win power. President Mills has not hidden is Christian bias. He decided to go for a Christian vice and it seems to be working perfectly for him. Many commentators are worried about the religious side of Ghanaian politics. The editor of the Insight newspaper Kwesi Pratt, has bemoaned the ethnic and religious sentiments which dominate Ghanaian politics. To him it’s a clear violation of our constitution and also, it’s a recipe for disaster. Ghana is a secular state and it must be seen as that. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion and so every Ghanaian must be accorded the right to practice their religion without preference to one against the other. If people are preferred against the other in terms of their religious inclinations, then those who feel neglected shall revolt against the state. Political appointees will also be biased towards their religious groups thereby creating discrimination. These observations by analysts are critical and African politicians ought to give them serious consideration. When Dr. Bawumia was selected by Nana Addo, his first concern was the Zongo communities.
Who then is Dr. Mohamadu Bawumia and how can he partner Nana Addo to move Ghana into a developed country. Dr. Bawumia was born in October 7, 1963 at Tamale in northern Ghana. He graduated from Tamale Secondary School in 1982 and continued to receive a Chartered Institute of Bankers Diploma (A.C.I.B) in the United Kingdom with distinctions in Monetary Economics, Accountancy, Law and Banking Principles from Emile Woolf College of Accountancy, London, England in 1984. He spent his undergraduate years at University of Buckingham, UK and graduated with B.Sc. Economics (First Class Hons.) He received his Masters Economics from Oxford University in 1988 and PhD with Specialisation in Macroeconomics, International Economics, and Monetary Economics from Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia., Canada in 1995.
His work experience is impeccable. After graduating from Simon Fraser University in Canada, Dr. Bawumia worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 1994 to 1996 when he left for a teaching position with the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University in Texas USA. After leaving Baylor University in 2000, Bawumia started his career at the Bank of Ghana as a Senior Economist. Between 2000 and his eventual resignation, Bawumia also held the position of Head of Monetary Policy and Financial Stability, Special Assistant to the Governor, Capital Market Committee Chairman, Monetary Policy Committee Member, and Deputy Governor. He has more than 35 academic works to his credit and has also won numerous scholarship awards. Dr. Bawumia comes to Nana Addo’s ticket with enormous competence to shape Ghana’s economic but this dream can only become a reality if he and his party worked hard enough to convince the Ghanaian electorates who very discerning now.
Submitted by FRANCIS L. SACKITEY
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