Editors Note: The issue of who becomes President John Dramani Mahama's running mate has become a big matter in the governing NDC. Lots of groups in the party are lobbying for their candidate to be elected by the president.
But private legal practitioner and deputy Regional Youth Organizer, NDC Greater Accra, Edudzi Kudzo Tameklo ESQ writes about why Amissah Arthur is President Mahama's best bet.
On the 21st day of November, 2015, I had to accompany the Vice President His Excellency Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur on the monitoring of the Presidential and Parliamentary primaries of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in some constituencies in the Greater Accra region.
As the only Regional Executive on the monitoring team, I had the duty of showing the locations of the polling stations to visit.
After he cast his vote at the Asylum Down Polling Station in the Klottey Korley Constituency, we headed for the Polling Station near the Nima Roundabout at the 31st December Women Day Care Centre. I was with the advance team to prepare the place for him.
It was a Saturday, the traffic situation from the Roundabout as usual was very thick, we needed to get him to park by the road so he can easily dash into the Polling Station for the monitoring exercise.
Just when he realized that his three-car convoy will compound the traffic situation, he quickly caused a change in plan that we move away from that Polling Station in order not to cause any further traffic. He will not even agree to have the Police escort us through the traffic.
We had to go through the traffic without any attempt to get through as the Vice President of the Republic. The attempt by the Police to help was resisted. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I have not encountered this before.
Ordinarily, you would have the sirens around to clear the way for him. He won’t take that. I have not encountered a man with so much humility. His simplicity was amazing. He was not in a V8 Vehicle. He simply said this is not an official duty, I am doing my party work and that is it.
This encounter reminds me of the day I met then Vice President, John Dramani Mahama at the Institute of African Studies when he came for a Book Reading event. He came in his Toyota Camry saloon car. I was shocked at his modesty and simplicity.
Perhaps, so because, this is Africa. I saw exactly that on Saturday, 21st November, 2015 through the monitoring process. He demanded that we visited less traffic prone areas to avoid compounding the already bad traffic situation across the city.
A man who is so calm and in effective control of his emotions. His Excellency, Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur was born in Cape Coast in the Central Region on 29 April 1951. He had his General Certificate of Education “O” and “A” Levels at the Mfantsipim Secondary School in Cape Coast from 1964 to 1971. He proceeded to the University of Ghana, Legon where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1974 and subsequently his Master of Science Degree in 1976, both in Economics.
He wrote his thesis on “Public Policy and economic growth: A model of economic growth – Ghana” 1956-1974. Mr Amissah-Arthur lectured at the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana between 1980 and 1988. Prior to this, he was a research assistant at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research between 1974 and 1975. He later joined the Economic Department of the University of Ghana as a teaching assistant from 1977 to 1978 going on to become an assistant lecturer in 1979. He was a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Anambra State College of Education, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria between August 1981- July 1983). Between 1983 and 1986, Amissah-Arthur served as a special assistant to the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Secretary of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwesi Botwey. He became Deputy Secretary for Finance in the PNDC government from February 1986 until March 1993. From April 1993, he continued as the Deputy Minister for Finance in the first National Democratic Congress (NDC), Government after the establishment of constitutional rule until 1997.
He was responsible for the preparation of the Annual Public Investment Programme, Management of the budget of the Government of Ghana and managing the bilateral and multilateral assistance to Ghana.
Mr Amissah-Arthur worked as a Consultant for the World Bank in the Gambia and also served as a consultant for the Netherlands government Education project in Ghana. Between 1988 and 2000, he worked as Senior Economist for the Sigma One Corporation in Ghana and between 2001 and 2002; he was on assignment for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.
Mr Amissah-Arthur was appointed Governor of the Bank of Ghana in October 2009 by HE President Mills, this position he held till 6 August 2012 when he became the Vice President to the Fourth President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. He is married with two children. He has strong party connection as he fondly recall how the party through his efforts got the current party emblem, the Umbrella known locally as the “Akatamanso.”
As Vice President, he has kept a very modest and calm posture in assisting the President to advance the better Ghana Agenda of Changing lives and Transforming Ghana. He is hardly associated to any form of scandal as far as governance is concerned. He has not tried as it were, to betray or become disloyal to the President as was the case in the Former President Rawlings and Arkah days, where the Vice President later became the Running mate to then opposition candidate, John Agyekum Kuffour.
As the Chair of the Police Council, we have today the massive Police Visibility project which has resulted in greater policing and security within the country. The Mahama/Amissah Arthur Team defeated arguably Ghana’s most popular Presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo and his Economist, running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, after the latter had effectively campaigned for over 3 years.
It is believed by most Political Scientists that the choice of Mr Amissah Arthur as running mate for the 2012 Presidential election helped the National Democratic Congress to maintain the two swing regions of Western and Central due to his close association with the two regions. It is often said that you don’t change the WIINING TEAM.
Even the opposition New Patriotic Party has decided to maintain the losing team of Nana Addo and Dr Bawumia. Prudence requires that the NDC maintains the Mahama and Amissah Arthur Ticket for the 2016 elections. To the glory of God, President Mahama was overwhelmingly endorsed by over one million members of the National Democratic Congress. It is expected that President John Mahama with his calm and humble demeanor retain Veep, Amissah Arthur for the 2016 elections. Those who have lost are not ready to change, the victorious team should not be changed either. He remains one of Ghana’s finest vice presidents. Hardly could you hear of him, but he does his work as he ought to.
The Constitution of Ghana has not placed any explicit responsibilities on a Vice President of the country, except, only to stand in for the president in his absence or undertake any other activities as may be assigned by the president.
As is usual with economists, he talks less and rather allows his actions to speak for him. He had been a major pillar during the over 24 Months single-digit inflation recorded under late Professor John Mills. Some may contain more records than he does.
What matters is that, he was able to hold his head up and executed his duty to the admiration of all. Mr. Amissah Arthur for me remains the best among the lot. He has proven himself a trusted partner of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama.
The chemistry had played out well and this is an opened for all to see. He has remained very faithful and loyal to the Better Agenda of Changing Lives and Transforming Ghana in providing increased health facilities for many of our country men and women, making access to potable water key and sustaining a strong economy for growth and job creation.
Long Live Ghana
Long Live President John D. Mahama
Long Live Veep Amissah Arthur
Long Live NDC
By: Edudzi Kudzo Tameklo ESQ
Private Legal Practitioner (Ayine & Felli &Felli&Felli&Felli Law)
And Deputy Regional Youth Organizer, NDC Greater Accra