Alan Kyerematen is hoping to utilize the 2024 presidential poll to fulfil a lifetime ambition of becoming president of the republic of Ghana, having checked out of the NPP Presidential Primaries recently.
Dropping off the back of the elephant with the hope of soaring on the wings of a monarch butterfly, Alan Kyerematen said on Monday 25th September, 2023 that he was “resigning with immediate effect from the NPP to contest the 2024 elections as an independent presidential candidate.”
He describes himself as an honest broker ready to offer fresh solutions to the Ghanaian challenge, following years of governance by the NPP and the NDC.
Speaking exclusively to me moments after declaring his independent bid to be President, a sprightly Mr. Kyerematen declared that “what the country needs now is a person who will sit as an honest broker between the feuding parties so that you can be objective about decisions and utilize the talent from all parties. Not just the NPP and the NDC but even the smaller parties”.
The former Trade Minister obviously thinks he is that man.
We would delve into those factors later, but there is no denying that his departure means the end, at least for now, of a huge era within the New Patriotic Party. For two decades, he had a towering presence in the party and was always touted as a presidential material.
Somehow, he has never gotten there. He has contested four times to be presidential candidate of the NPP and lost all of them- 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2020. The closest he came was in 2007 when he placed second to candidate Akufo-Addo in the famed 2007 Legon congress during which he garnered 32.20% of the votes as against Akufo-Addo's 47.97%. Back then, like now, he attributed his poor showing in August's Special Electoral College Election to a systematic scheme in the NPP to skew results in favor of another candidate.
Since then, based purely on the numbers and his performance in presidential primaries, his popularity in the party has been dwindling. From the 32.20%, he gained only 19.91% of the votes in 2010 and then slipped further to 4.75% in 2014.
In his last attempt, he managed a paltry 95 votes out of a total of 923 cast at the Special Electoral College. For NPP loyalists, this was the perfect manifestation of his dwindling fortunes in the NPP. For his supporters, this was the result of an uneven playing field.
Alan believes the latter is the case and has used every available platform to make that clear. Convinced that he must lead this country, he declared exclusively to 3News that, “I have played my role in the party, it is now time to serve my country at the highest level of executive authority.”
Prospects As Independent Candidate
Alan Kyerematen hails from the Ashanti and Central regions. His father, Dr A.A.Y Kyerematen, is a man of notable achievement in the Ashanti region and the United Party (UP) tradition. Dr. A.A.Y Kyerematen set up the Kumasi Cultural Centre, ran Kumasi at a point as Town Clerk (In today's terms Mayor) and served as one of the civilian commissioners of the military junta that overthrew the Nkrumah regime.
The point is, Alan descends from what you will call Ashanti Political Elite. With this background, it is not surprising that Alan clings strongly on to his Ashanti roots. He is seen by some as the region's favored political son. If this is his strongest brand proposition, and, if he has the support of Ashanti, his exit may impact the fortunes of the NPP.
The Ashanti region, without doubt is the support base of the party and the electoral figures amply supports this position. Interestingly, Alan's dwindling figures in NPP presidential primaries has a seeming correlation with the NPP vote appreciation or depreciation in the Ashanti region.
In 2020 when he did not the contest the Presidential Primaries and supported the Akufo-Addo campaign effort, the party's votes appreciated. In the 2004 election, the NPP polled 77% of the votes cast at the presidential level in the Ashanti region. In 2008, after Alan conceded defeat to Akufo-Addo in the 2007 primaries, the NPP polled 72.50% representing a drop of 4.50%.
In the 2012 election, after Alan lost to Akufo-Addo in the 2010 primaries, there was a further drop of 1.6 percentage point resulting in an output of 70.90% in the Ashanti region. In the 2016 election however, there was a statistical oddity in terms of this trend analysis. Alan lost in the 2014 primaries of the NPP but the party appreciated in votes garnering 76.30%.
This may be attributed to the vigorous campaign activity by Alan for Akufo-Addo in that electioneering season. In the 2020 election, the NPP held no presidential primary prior, yet the vote percentage took a dip to 72.80%.
Could this be the effect of a region that loves its own and would withdraw that support any time he is shunned? If the votes this time will go to an Independent candidate, could that spell doom for the NPP in the 2024 election? Political Scientist Prof. Ransford Gyampo is of the view that Alan will be a threat to the NPP in the upcoming elections.
“They [NPP] should quickly put in place measures that will minimise the impact, because whether you like it or not, the man [Alan] is going to take away some support base from the party. If you want to break the 8, you cannot go into this contest with this particular incident if you don't put in place measures. He will give them a run for their money” he affirms.
Mussa Dankwah's Global Info Analytics has just concluded first round of polling in the aftermath of Alan's decision. He says based on the analysis, “Alan's entry into the race as an independent candidate will do more damage to the NPP than the NDC. If Alan is able to drag the NPP down by even 14 percent, that is significant… if you are losing another 10 percent or 15 percent from your block going to Alan, there is no coming back.”
Historically, Independent candidates have performed abysmally in elections in the 4th republic. In 2008, the first ever Independent candidate in the 4th republic, Kwasi Amoafo Yeboah garnered 0.2% percent of the votes cast nationwide. Jacob Osei Yeboah got onto the ballot in 2012 and 2016 and on both occasions gained 0.1% and 0.15% respectively at the national level.
It is a fact, however, that these candidates did not come to the table with Alan's pedigree and political clout. What is certain is that Alan Kyerematen is bent on testing his popularity on the national scale. Whether borne out of ambition or a genuine desire to change the lot of Ghanaians, he is entitled to be part of the process but what will be the outcome?
The odds are against him, historically and statistically, but can he pull the numbers to be a kingmaker and the honest broker he aspires to be in the political process? Time and posterity will provide the answers.
By Duke Mensah Opoku, Poltical Desk, Media General News