Elections 2012 Would Be Problematic For Prez Mills...Opposition Can Win � Intelligence Report

The United Kingdom Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) country report on Ghana made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday indicates that Professor John Evans Atta Mills will win the NDC�s July Congress for the flag bearer slot of the party. "In terms of the NDC primary, Prof. Atta Mills will still have the advantage as the sitting incumbent, but support for the Rawlingses within the NDC is significant and there is a strong possibility that he could lose it,� states the report. The EIU Report reveals that regardless of who wins the NDC primary, the internal political tussle that will ensue in the coming months will be of great benefit to the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its 2012 presidential candidate, Nana Akufo Addo. The level of animosity apparent within the NDC between the pro-and anti-Atta Mills factions will only intensify during a primary fight, providing the NPP with ample ammunition to damage whichever NDC candidate emerges successful. According to the EIU Report the challenge also represents a damaging blow for Prof Atta Mills, as it now appears to be a matter of damage limitation for him. In early April the NDC announced that it would hold its congress to nominate a 2012 presidential candidate on July 8-10 2011, moving the congress forward by nearly six months from the previous target of completing the process by end of the year. Prof Atta Mills beat Nana Akufo Addo in the 2008 election by only the slimmest of margins and the troubles within the NDC do not bode well for preserving or widening this margin in 2012, EIU states. Furthermore, former President Jerry John Rawlings played a key role in helping Prof Atta Mills to victory over Nana Akufo Addo in 2008 and it is unlikely that he will be an enthusiastic supporter of Prof Atta Mills should he defeat his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings in the NDC primary. However, if Mrs Rawlings were to secure the NDC nomination it is far from clear that she would be able to garner sufficient support to defeat Nana Akufo Addo and the NPP. The Rawlings family stirs strong feelings within the electorate, as the former president is regarded as a saviour and a dictator in almost equal measure by voting Ghanaians, the EIU says. Mr Rawlings was military leader of Ghana from 1981 to 1992, when he established the NDC and held multiparty elections. In addition, it seems unlikely that Nana Konadu will be able to attract the support of pro-Atta Mills NDC members much the same problem that Prof Atta Mills would face if he were elected the NDC candidate. Overall, the seemingly imminent challenge to President Mills from Nana Konadu has the potential to fatally wound the party and damage its ability to retain the Presidency in 2012. �One hope for the party is that a compromise can be worked out within the NDC between the two factions before the congress. This could involve Prof Atta Mills stepping down in a more dignified manner than being ousted in a party vote. Questions over the president�s health have long circulated, with it being unclear whether he actually wants to remain as president. "Another option is that Mrs Rawlings stands aside this time round and takes over from President Mills after his constitutionally maximum second term in office. However, this scenario would probably entail significant concessions being given to the pro-Rawlings faction of the NDC, exacerbating party tensions. One final aspect to mention is that although the political bickering over the next 18 months is likely to slow the overall reform process in Ghana, whoever eventually wins power is unlikely to significantly move away from the current development path.� EIU says Ghana�s position as a democratic, relatively pro-business, donor darling is not considered to be at risk. �Outside of the build-up to elections Prof Atta Mills faces a challenging policy environment as he attempts to speed up the economy�s recovery from the effects of the global slowdown. He also faces the challenge of having to manage the revenue and high expectations stemming from the commencement of production at the Jubilee oilfield." �Oil revenue could represent a boon to Ghana, providing the additional revenue needed to drive development forward and reduce poverty. However, it needs to be managed properly, and Prof Atta Mills will have to weigh up the merits of competing calls on the revenue while also combating corruption.�