2023 is expected to be heavily dominated by political activities.
It would be the year that precedes what is arguably the most anticipated election year and the stakes are even higher as the NDC would see John Mahama face competition and Alan Kyerematen might not be heir apparent after all as a sitting Vice President and half a dozen others are likely to contest him.
But even more at stake is the quest of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to be the first to be retained after eight years – Breaking the 8. But it wouldn’t be a year just of campaigns and primaries but one that would see the implementation of a policy that could change the dynamics of the economy – Ken Ofori-Atta and Adwoa Safo still have their fate hanging in the balance.
OIL FOR GOLD DEAL
As indicated by a Deputy Minister of Energy, the first batch of oil bought with gold would arrive in the country – if successfully executed. Not only would the perennial Cedi depreciation be hopefully solved but balance of payment challenges would be a thing of the past, according to the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
By the end of the first quarter, government would be praying for an IMF Executive Board approval that sets in motion hopefully last steps to securing some $3 billion – to create the needed fiscal space towards recovery in a year the IMF boss predicts could have a third of the world’s countries go into recession.
KEN MUST GO
But the fate of the man leading the charge Ken Ofori-Atta still hangs in the balance – it is not sure the gains made by the Cedi or the positive outlook of an IMF grant would stop the demand for him to go especially when there was a promise to have him sacked after he presented the 2023 budget and secured an IMF DEAL.
The Finance Minister is still in contention to become the longest serving Finance Minister alive should he survive till the end of the tenure of the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia government.
SARAH ADWOA SAFO
Another person who will not be all settled mentally in 2023 is MP for Dome-Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo. With a decision on her deferred by the Speaker, the MP would live the next few months of the year on tenterhooks not knowing she would end the year still as a Member of Parliament or not.
The Supreme Court in April of 2022 rendered the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin-North Constituency, James Gyakye Quayson, suspended from the legislature until the determination of the case challenging his eligibility. The determination of this case would be a critical political moment to watch in 2023.
NDC PRESIDENTIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY PRIMARIES
But while Quayson awaits verdict on his case from the 2020 elections, his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), under its new leadership, would want to hit the ground running becoming proverbial early birds. By Saturday, May 6, the NDC hopes to know who its flagbearer and parliamentary candidates are – with processes kick-starting in the last week of February when willing aspirant are expected to pick forms.
Though it is likely to be a race amongst three individuals, the NDC’s Presidential Candidate race would be more about who partners the potential winner than who the party is likely to vote for to lead the party.
The NDC would attempt a novel idea; parliamentary candidates for the over 270 constituencies would be voted on the same day like in a general elections on the same day across all 275 constituencies.
NPP PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
The New Patriotic Party wouldn’t be far behind either. Perhaps the biggest indication yet of how intense the race for who will lead the NPP has been the resignation by Trades and Industry Minister Alan Kyerematen in the first week of the New Year. The NPP will not fail this year as well to deliver a multitude of aspirants as was the case the last time it was in power and wrapping up on its eight-year tenure – at least 9 names are out there so far.
DISTRICT ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
District Assembly Elections are expected to be held sometime this year to vote in assembly men and unit committee members. The non-partisan elections would hopefully run without the drama of 2015, where a disqualified aspirant, a fisherman, dragged the EC under the leadership of Dr Afari-Gyan to court and won. It would also hopefully be peaceful and serve as a precursor and dress rehearsal especially for the Electoral Commission, going into the 2024 election.
By Cyril D. Dogbe
The writer is a journalist with Media General.