It has been a few days since Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia secured the NPP nomination for election 2024, and already the parlor and guessing game of who will be the vice presidential candidate is well underway. In fact, ink is spilling, and electrons by the millions are energized as pundits, journalists, bloggers, and citizens debate the pros and cons, pluses and minuses of Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum and Kennedy Agyapong for the veep pick. Plenty of other names and a surprising array of potential vice presidential candidates are circulating. Many analysts believe that Dr. Bawumia will not entertain daring choices that he can’t have enough rapport with and that he’s going to do this in a careful deliberate way outside of the day-to-day political pressures that inevitably start up during the election cycle.
In a conversation hosted on Twitter Space Tuesday night, a contributor from Democracy Watch – Dr Senanu Amegashie re-emphasize the complex calculus of the vice presidential selection process which usually defies all equations. The academic actually shared his picks of potential vice presidential candidates, and for him, the Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. John Kumah represents a good fit for Dr. Bawumia. Even though this was purely an academic exercise, it has gained currency and created dozens of threads and conversations on and off social media. All things considered, Dr. John Kumah has offered himself as exhibit A in the case of hope for the youth. Indeed, he’s seen as a mirror in which thousands of young people are seeing their cherished ideals of tolerance, cooperation, and equality reflected. Actually, there are aspects of Dr. John Kumah’s biography that make him a valuable balance to the Bawumia ticket. In little over two and half years, Dr. John Kumah has risen from the obscurity of a young political player to become a force in the public advocacy space with regard to economics, finance, and public policy. When he took his first major appointment under the Nana Akufo-Addo presidency as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Entrepreneurship & Innovation Programme (NEIP) in 2017, he wanted to be seen as a new kind of conservative, young, liberal-minded, socially concerned, and above all, modern politician.
Instead, there would be a positive upbeat, and inclusive vision for Ghana after displacing veteran MP, Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi in the NPP primaries, and a landslide victory in the 2020 parliamentary elections in Ejisu. Then came his elevation in 2021, when President Akufo-Addo nominated him to deputise for Ken Ofori-Atta at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. Since entering the Finance Ministry, Dr. John Kumah has maintained his reputation as a moderate who has earned respect for his honesty and his commitment to national duty, party work, and activism. It is easy to view the selection of a Vice Presidential candidate as purely the product of political calculus. But Presidential candidates are also picking someone with whom they might work closely for four or eight years, and, when considering a potential deputy, character matters. Of course, even a confident Presidential candidate wants to make a Vice Presidential pick that will help him to win and it can be argued that Dr John Kumah has received high ratings from a diverse range of the voting public to make any ticket likelier to win.
The biggest thing that Dr. John Kumah’s candidacy would have going for it is that he’d mobilise voters, whether geographically, demographically, class, ethnicity, gender, age, or religion. A second reason that Dr. John Kumah is a good fit for Bawumia is that they are cut from the same political cloth. Both are Economists, as well as mainstream conservatives who express a strong commitment to righting social wrongs, but also speak the language of fiscal responsibility and enterprise. There’s also another asset Dr. John Kumah could bring to the Bawumia campaign, his wit as a political adversary, brilliance, dedication, and toughness. Dr. John Kumah is what so many others pretend to be — a politician with sound judgment who doesn’t have to hide behind bluster to keep going.
To put it more bluntly, the man radiates honesty, excellence, charisma, a positive vision for the future, a voice for empowerment, and a role model for the youth. As a matter of fact, Dr. John Kumah has had one of the great career arcs of modern Ghanaian politics since becoming an MP and Minister less than four years ago. As a green young outsider, he took over a constituency in a slump so deep and transformed his party’s image by building an ultramodern party office for the NPP in Ejisu.
He followed it up with Ejisu constituency women empowerment programs, where women in business and startups are given financial assistance to cushion their businesses or start one respectively. It is worth noting that his initiatives in promoting formal education in the Ejisu constituency are the game changers for thousands of young people in and around Ejisu. Incredibly, he’s among a few of President Akufo-Addo’s ministers who are actually showing the way and offering hope for a better tomorrow even in the midst of these bruising and tumultuous times. And yet, for all Dr. John Kumah’s momentum, there has never been a bumpiness, or even a hint of fragility, to his upward curve.
Truth is, Dr. John Kumah is a shining example of faith in action – a progressive who likes to get things done. He is clever in an orthodox sense and he has a good temperament for the vice presidential job. Yes, Dr. John Kumah is dashing and handsome, and with an infectious personality. His public records speak volumes and he also appears likable – A man who has devoted his life to fighting for others, and with a reputation as a consensus builder—A team player and an affable individual – A man with distinguished record, and with fundamental decency, who’s widely considered as more of a workhorse than showhorse. A leader who cares more about making a difference than making headlines.
The 2024 presidential ticket ought to be a proven pair of hands. We are talking about a ticket that can offer a specific and persuasive agenda to appeal to the economic anxieties of the good people of Ghana. It ought to be a ticket that can appeal to the floating voter and the dominant ethnic groupings in the country – a ticket with a broader appeal and a record of accomplishments. Quite frankly, Dr John Kumah fits the role. He appears to be both hugely unifying and has much prospect of enlisting much support. His stature has grown over the years and his Ashanti lineage put him miles ahead of any would-be contenders. I shall be back.
By Dela Coffie