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Mahama vs. Rawlings

Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings will lead the National Democratic Party (NDP) to contest the 2016 presidential elections. And President Mahama and the NDC must be anxious because she is likely to split their votes or take the majority votes in Ashanti and Volta regions. It is perhaps far-fetched to say the possible NDP candidate will win in November, but the NDC would do itself a favor not to underestimate the viability of the former first lady. 

The NDC cannot discount the threat of Mrs. Rawlings because merely having “Rawlings” on the ballot is enough to complicate an already fragile support base in Ashanti and Volta regions. If in doubt, consult Mr. Nii Armah Ashitey or Mr. Leeford Quarshie about the power of the—Rawlings surname.

One is not suggesting that Mrs. Rawlings would not have to earn the trust and support of voters. But make no mistake about it, the name—Rawlings invokes deep loyalty and support than one would care to admit. So, while one is not sure about the former President Rawlings’ stands on the wife’s candidacy, the NDP is likely to do considerable damage to the electoral chances of President Mahama and the NDC on account of residual Rawlings voters. So, it is evident that the NDC cannot take victory in these two regions for granted.

Whatever the NDC decides to do to counter the Rawlings factor in Ghanaian politics, the candidacy of Mrs. Rawlings is a definite game changer, believe it or not. For, beyond her name recognition, the first lady has a message and passion that might resonate with the electorates. Mrs. Rawlings’ message of hope will appeal to the youth and women who see their futures melt in the sweltering “Mahama” economy.

Desperate electorates more often than not, vote for change especially, when alternative contenders offer hope and a chance for renewal. Mrs. Rawlings suggests hope when she says, “let us all be strong and fight for something.” With this kind of message, Mrs. Rawlings implicitly blames the economic hurt of the people on Mahama, while appearing to be the solution or the one most qualified to fix it.

Historically, harsh economic conditions deliver change for better or for worse. But, we cannot get too far ahead of ourselves because 2016 is still young. We may have to wait rather anxiously to see where the chips will fall on November, 7th.

By Kuma Tann


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