Ghana’s ruling NPP party on Saturday elected the country’s Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia as their candidate for the 2024 presidential ballot, according to results from primaries released by the electoral commission.
Ghana is undergoing its worst economic crisis in years, which will be a major electoral issue next year when President Nana Akufo-Addo steps down after two terms and an agreement for a $3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.According to the final results, Bawumia won 61.4 percent of the votes while this nearest rival Kennedy Ohene Agyapong won 37.4 percent.
Bawumia, a former deputy central bank governor, had been widely touted by pollsters to win the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidacy. He will face opposition National Democratic Congress candidate, ex-president John Dramani Mahama at the end of next year.
Bawumia had already won the first round of NPP voting and as the first Muslim candidate to lead the ethnic Akan and southern-dominated party, he had positioned himself to bridge some of Ghana’s regional divisions.
“It’s a victory for the rank and file of our great party and particularly to the grass root members. I am humbled and overwhelmed,” he said in a speech after the results.
“We know that the NPP is the only party that can transform Ghana. The NPP will enter 2024 united and energised.”
– ‘Fair and transparent’ –
“I believe the party has been fair and transparent,” his rival Agyapong said after the result. “That is the only thing I’ve always been preaching. My grassroots have spoken and therefore I accept the results in good faith.” A major cocoa and gold producer, Ghana also has oil and gas reserves. But its debt load has expanded and like other sub-Saharan African nations it has struggled with the economic fallout from the global pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.
Ghana signed the deal with the IMF last year as the country sought to shore up its public finances and better manage growing debt and its local currency.
It recently reached agreement on the terms for a second payment of $600 million out of the $3-billion credit deal.
But the economic situation is complicated. Several hundred opposition protesters rallied in Ghana’s capital Accra last month to denounce the economic crisis, blaming it on the central bank governor’s policies.
President Akufo-Addo has led the country since 2017 and will step down after serving the two terms allowed by the constitution. Opposition candidate Mahama lost to Akufo-Addo in the 2016 and 2020 elections.
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze