Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Ghana: Battle for NDC presidential nomination is a tree horse race

Having turned the battle for the presidential nomination of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) into a three horse race, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah is working hard to secure maximum political advantage. The former education minister never hid his political ambitions, and styles himself as the leader of the next generation of NDC politicians. Party insiders are puzzling over his tactics.

As a close confidante of both Jerry and Nana Rawlings, he has attracted accusations of taking a stalking horse role on behalf of his allies. On this calculation, Ekow-Garbrah, a Fante technocrat from Central Region was reckoned to be able to take votes from President John Atta Mills who, among other things, is seen as a Fante technocrat drawing substantial support from his Central Region base.

There has been no love lost between Mills and Spio-Garbrah since the 2008 NDC presidential nomination when Mills trounced Spio-Garbrah and has locked him out of the government ever since.

Three things could happen after the July NDC contest and all of them would be good for Spio-Garbrah: firstly, and most likely he could poll enough votes to reinforce his position within the party making it impossible for Mills to continue to lock him out; he could either emerge as king (winning the nomination outright) after several rounds of voting; or he could emerge as kingmaker, using his votes to secure victory for Nana Rawlings and perhaps getting a role as running mate.

On the debit side, if he loses, Mills will grant him no favours and he will continue be locked out. The big test for Spio-Garbrah is whether he has an independent base in the party or whether his support will depend on some sort of deal with Nana Rawlings.

A popular theory in Accra is that Nana Rawlings will drop out of the race about a week before the special congress, but endorse Spio-Garbrah as the face of the new generation. She would do so to avoid public humiliation by Mills but also in the hope that her 31 December women's movement will deliver all the female delegate votes to Spio-Garbrah, and that he might get a respectable showing and fatally wound Mills.

For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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