NDC race: It will be difficult to beat Mahama, says strategist

The latest report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) predicts that the NDC will be best placed to win the 2024 presidential election, if it presents a fresh candidate

Etse Sikanku, a political communications analyst and strategist, has said it will be difficult for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to present a new presidential candidate in the 2024 general election, because John Mahama is the party’s most marketable option.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), in its latest report, predicts that the NDC is best placed to win the 2024 presidential election, if it presents a fresh candidate.

“The former president John Mahama is reportedly considering running again, but we expect the opposition NDC to try to revitalise its prospects with a fresh candidate,” the EIU report says.

“Our baseline forecast is that ongoing public dissatisfaction with the slow pace of improvements in governance – such as infrastructure development, job creation and easing of corruption – will trigger anti-incumbency factors and push the electorate to seek a change,” the EIU says. “The NDC, therefore, stands a reasonable chance of winning the 2024 elections.”

Tall order

However, reacting to the report, Dr Sikanku, who is a senior lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), said dislodging Mahama, who has been the flagbearer of the NDC since 2012, will be a “tall order”.

“His experience in the party is unmatched. His charisma is indisputable. His popularity is evident and apparent in the party and [he is] probably the most popular person in the party at this point,” Sikanku said on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Wednesday (20 April).

Dr Etse Sikanku
Dr Etse Sikanku

“It has to be a strong case that would be made for any new candidate to push the former president off that really high place that he occupies. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s going to be a tall order for that to happen,” the strategist told Asaase Radio’s Kwaku Nhyira-Addo.

Qualities of a candidate

“No matter how marketable you are, it always boils down to who the candidate is; what are the qualities of that candidate? No matter who you are, there is no marketing campaign that can repair a bad candidate.

“The candidate is the message at this point. It doesn’t matter how many social media whatever you have: if you have a bad candidate, that is it …” Sikanku said.

He said Ghanaian voters will always decide whom to vote for by weighing up issues, personality and record, as well as the “mood of the nation at the time” of an election.

Listen to the full interview in the file attached below:

Change running mate

Meanwhile, the renowned pollster Ben Ephson has said that John Mahama should not contemplate winning the 2024 general election if he maintains his 2020 running mate, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang.

Ephson argued that Mahama will have to repackage himself and form a strong new alliance by choosing any of the National Democratic Congress presidential contenders as his running mate.

Speaking to Beatrice Adu on The Big Bulletin on Tuesday (19 April 2022), Ephson said: “Mahama would have to repackage himself, because a Mahama with the same running mate is going to be difficult [for him to win the 2024 general election]. He may have to form an alliance or, perhaps, pick one of the [NDC presidential contenders] as his running mate.

“Because, where Mahama is, he has the advantage of being marketed already. And Mahama with all his body language looks like retaining his running mate for 2020 [the last general election]. If he does, I think he should forget 2024.”

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