Mahama: Former President’s Chances of Winning 2024 Elections Looks Great But 3 Things Are Critical
Although analysts and political pundits tip John Dramani Mahama to sail through the NDC presidential primaries smoothly on May 13, 2023, they caution him against complacency during the national elections next year. In this write-up, John Mahama's chances of returning to the Jubilee House are analysed and experts' advice on the three things he must do to secure victory are presented.
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John Dramani Mahama launched his 2024 campaign with pomp in early March to return as Ghana's president in the next election. After failing two attempts to secure the mandate of Ghanaians in 2016 and 2020, many experts are convinced that he most likely would be third-time lucky in 2024.
Pundits who tip Mahama to win the opposition National Democratic Congress’ presidential primary on May 13, 2023, point to his experience and his appeal to the rank and file of the party. Among all the aspirants contesting the primaries, Mahama is also the most popular candidate among delegates because, for over a decade, he has been a key figure in the NDC’s politics at the highest level.
But these same positive factors have been cited as the reason Mahama is most likely to win at the national level in 2024. For instance, a survey by Global Info Analytics showed that Mahama was the most preferred presidential candidate for 53% of Ghanaian voters than the most popular presidential aspirant in the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Also, the director of the Center for European Studies at the University of Ghana Dr Asah Asante tips NDC to win the next presidential elections with Mahama as flagbearer.
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“Mahama stands tall in terms of experience, a record that he has left in this country and in terms of popularity. These three things will go a long way to strengthen his chances of winning the flagbearership,” Dr Asante told VOA recently.
Furthermore, a few other things work in John Mahama’s favour as the nation prepares to elect a president in 2024. The current Nana Akufo-Addo administration started on a positive step in 2017 with so much goodwill and high expectations. But after a few wins in economic management things have taken a sharp and dangerous nosedive.
Since 2019, Ghana’s economy has been showing signs of distress and cracks, worsening dramatically with each passing day. Now the country is experiencing the worst economic and financial crisis in decades.
Inflation is at unprecedented highs; the debt burden is flattening out the achievements of all previous administrations and nothing seems to be working smoothly. The economic meltdown has impacted everything, especially fuel costs, which has in turn driven the cost of living to the roof.
It’s a distressing situation.
People’s savings, money set aside for food – and for the aged and sick, essential medicines – have been creamed off by a domestic debt restructuring that experts and opposition lawmakers feel has been haphazard and insensitive.
The $3 billion IMF loan request that stipulated the domestic and external debt restructuring is itself a blot on a government that heavily criticised Mahama’s administration for doing the same in the past.
Mahama must watch these things to secure victory in 2024
Two experts have waded in on what Mahama must do if he wins the presidential primaries to secure his victory at the national level. Pollster, Ben Ephson and political analyst with the think tank Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Nii Armah Addy, both feel Mahama can up the ante in his favour.
1. Solid choice for a running mate is key
For the popular pollster, while the best time to forecast Mahama’s chances in 2024 would be after the presidential primaries, Mahama looks and feels like one to get the nod.
He tells YEN.com.gh that in the hypothetical situation that Mahama emerges victorious at the presidential primaries on May 13, he must focus on winning back dwindling votes from the Volta Region.
He explained that the NDC lost about 6% of votes from the Volta Region, the opposition party’s "powerhouse" for votes.
“This is bad for the party, and the one who wins the NDC flagbearship race must tackle that,” he said.
Asked how this can be tackled, he said if Mahama wins the next election, he must select a running mate from the region.
“I believe that is how the NDC can deal with that voter apathy from the Volta Region,. A running mate from the Volta Region will be great for whoever wins the NDC primaries” he said.
2. Polling stations: Where elections are won and lost must be secured
Nii Armah Addy, an experienced politician and educationist attached to CSJ, wants Mahama and the NDC to include a robust system that will protect votes the party garners at the polling station level.
"The polling agents shouldn't be the regular polling agents. They must know what is at stake: that their vigilance is critical for Mahama and the party's victory. Not polling agents who would receive a pack of fried rice and chicken, or beans and 'tatale' ,and go to sleep.
"The polling agents must be educated and trained well about the election processes. They must know about numbers or be trained to know about numbers. Not agents who can not detect when 180000 is changed to 18000," Nii Armah Addy told YEN.com.gh.
3. Party unity: NDC can't in 2024 if it's divided
The recent decision by some NDC MPs to go against the party's principled stance to approve six Nana Akufo-Addo ministerial appointees exposed a behind-the-scenes division.
Nii Armah Addy believes that after the primaries, and if Mahama emerges victorious, he must work to heal the wounds and scraped egos of party stalwarts with scraped egos.
"Party unity is a must for victory in 2024", he said.
Victory beckons the former president
Political experts tell YEN.com.gh that on May 13 when NDC delegates elect their presidential candidate and reps for all legislative seats, Mahama will stand tall. They tip the president of Ghana from 2012 to 2016 to beat his closest contender, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, a former finance minister and central bank governor. But even at the national election, his appeal trumps leading contenders from the New Patriotic Party.
Luck favours the former president because a myriad of factors has plunged Ghanaians into hardship, and as Mahama himself said at the launch of his campaign on March 2, 2023, experience would be important to return the country to winning ways.
He has the experience, popularity and appeal to return to Jubilee House and change its name to Flagstaff House, as NDC administrations do, but that will not be a walk in the park.
"Ghana demands experience not experiments" - Mahama
Meanwhile, YEN.com.gh has reported in a separate story that Mahama said he possesses the critical experience needed to bring Ghana back to winning ways after the Nana Akufo-Addo government plunged it into chaos.
The former president, who is aspiring to return as President said at the launch of his campaign on March 2, 2023, that he will be the kind of president Ghanaians want.
He also jabbed the current government for being callous to Ghanaians and clueless about how to properly run the country.
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