Veepís Selection Catches Factions Off-Guard

Known more in the financial corridors than on party hustings, the selection of Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur as Vice President caught the many factions in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) rooting for one candidate or the other by surprise. A number of hastily formed groups surfaced shortly after the presidentís passing, clamouring for candidates such as Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, president of the Dominion University College; Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Minister of Local Government, and Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Deputy Local Government Minister. Cadres in the party made a last minute pitch for Dr Kwabena Agyei, the current chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), citing him as a unifier who could ensure a united party for Elections 2012. Other names that had surfaced included Mr Goosie Obuadum Tanoh, the presidential candidate for the National Reform Party in the 2000 elections, who has rejoined the NDC; Dr Kwesi Botchwey, the longest serving Finance Minister in Ghana; Mr Sylvester Mensah, head of the National Health Insurance Authority, and Ms Hanna Tetteh, Trade and Industry Minister. A number of political analysts had put up characteristics such as electability, integrity and eloquence as some of benchmarks which would be used in selecting a vice-presidential candidate. Other factors mentioned included ethnicity and gender. Reports indicate that the immediate reaction in top party circles at the selection of Amissah-Arthur as Vice President was one of surprise. Shortly after the announcement, a supposedly pro-Spio-Garbrah group declared its disagreement with the presidentís selection. Another group claiming to be a pro-Ofosu-Ampofo group has also been heard still clamouring for their man. Fortunately for the president, none of those sounding discordant have any recognisable names. Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, for example, has come out to commend the president for his choice. Mr Tanoh had earlier come out against the unseemly lobbying for the position. Veteran party man Mr E.T. Mensah, the Minister for Employment, has also come to defend the status of Mr Amissah-Arthur as a true party man. The troops are, therefore, lining up nicely behind the new kid on the block. In addition, a number of bodies outside the party have also come to support Mr Amissah Arthur, pointing potentially to the prospective vice presidentís power to attract floating voters. The rest of the work, however, is left with the new vice president as far as bringing more voters to the NDC is concerned.