Ghana’s largest opposition party has chosen the country’s former president, John Dramani Mahama, as its flagbearer for the 2024 presidential election.
Delegates of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) voted in primaries over the weekend to choose a candidate for both the presidential and parliamentary polls.
Mahama was declared the overwhelming winner after polling 98.9 per cent of the votes while his challenger, former Kumasi mayor Kojo Bonsu, scored 1.1 per cent.
The former president was tipped by most political analysts to win the primary based on his experience and influence in the opposition party.
“He has been tried and tested and comes with a lot of experience,” said Kwame Asah-Asante, a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana.
This confidence in Mahama was echoed by many of the more than 355,000 NDC party delegates who converged at 401 voting centres across the country over the weekend for the ballot.
“I believe if NDC takes power, most of the things which we Ghanaians want, NDC can come do it for us. For instance, taking care of our children. The other side promised us so much which they were unable to fulfil,” said marketer Kafur Addo.
He says he believes that if the NDC comes to power, the party will fulfil the promises they have made.
The primaries come as Ghana holds talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a $3 billion bailout to help overcome an economic crisis, and as it faces a growing jihadist threat from a conflict in neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Analysts believe Mahama will likely capitalise on the economic crisis facing the country in his presidential campaign, and delegates have confidence in his abilities.
“I believe in John Dramani Mahama. He has been a president before. He has been a vice-president before and he is a communicator too. So, there is no way the sitting president can do something for us,” said businessman Joshua Rockson.
“We have given him eight years now and there’s nothing we are seeing now. But with John Dramani Mahama, he can turn things for us. That’s why we believe in him. That’s why we are here to vote for him.”
The ruling party of incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo will hold its own primaries in November, and the presidential election is scheduled for 7 December 2024.