By way of introduction, let me say with the greatest conviction that the New Patriotic Party has the potential to govern the country beyond two terms. The only thing that can prevent the party from going beyond two terms is the party itself. One important thing the party must do is to manage its presidential and parliamentary primaries very well to avoid two regrettable situations – skirt and blouse voting and wrong candidates for the 2024 elections. It is in the light of getting the right presidential candidate for the party’s victory in 2024 that I write this article to proffer the suggestions below.

First and foremost, it must be said that the NPP was not formed to favour any particular group of people or individuals, neither was it formed to operate on a rotational basis relative to the selection of presidential candidates. It was formed with only one unbending objective of winning political power for the wellbeing of Ghanaians. This means that at any point in time, the party’s delegates’ primary concern must be to look out for a winnable-candidate, regardless of where the person comes from. The party ought not to forget that political power is extremely expensive and fragile – very difficult to have but easy to lose.

As a result, in no circumstances should the party include external elections as part of its reward system. Individuals and groups in the party can be rewarded for their long-term service, commitment, dedication and loyalty through appointments and, perhaps, internal elections. However, when it comes to the positions that require an external election, the party’s only consideration should be the marketability of the person within the framework of the socio-economic, religious, ethnic, gender and demographic factors that characterise the political market.

Significantly, when all the market factors are objectively considered, any aspirant who is found to have a power-threatening “but” to his person or name, should be the first to be rejected by the delegates. It doesn’t matter how good the person is seen to be in the party, as it takes more than the party’s membership to win an election.

Indisputably, the 2024 presidential election is going to be the most crucial election for both the NPP and the NDC. It would be a make-or-break election for both parties. In fact, one does not need an Einstein to do a scientific calculation to determine what is to come in 2024 – what ensued in the last elections and on the floor of parliament during the election of the Speaker, served us with a perfect foretaste of it.

Moreover, any person who has really been following the trend of the Ghanaian politics and appreciates the significance of marketing in politics would agree with me that going into the 2024 presidential election, the NPP would need a charismatic candidate with a unique personality and brand name that easily resonates with the electorates across the country.

In Ghana, it is a truism that having the full support of your party, is not sufficient enough to ensure a victory in an election – it is only a necessary condition. In fact, these days, there seems to be nothing special about having the support of your party. In most cases, all it takes to get the support is to be the highest bidder during the primary. However, for any candidate to be able to win an external election, the person must necessarily be able to appeal to people beyond the party’s base (floating voters) and that requires a very significant degree of political prudence, tactfulness and thoughtfulness.

Trade Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremateng

This is where it becomes imperative for the party to take into consideration the significance of strategic marketing in its decision-making process. Marketing strategies such as branding and promotion are very imperative when it comes to selling. A careful study of elections history around the world reveals that political jargons and brand names play very important roles in politics. Sometimes, all a political party would need to win an election is to have an attractive political jargon or brand name that resonates with the electorates with respect to how it offers hope and optimism. That is why elsewhere beyond our borders, political parties spend a lot of money to create and promote jargons and brand names for their parties and candidates. Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” and J. A. Kufuor’s “Ase3 Ho” in the 2000 elections on my mind.

There is no denying the fact that in a country as ours where the illiteracy rate is high, people rarely consider the manifestoes of political parties when deciding to vote for them. Comparatively, studies have shown that people put more weight on the kind of candidates the parties present than their manifestoes. That notwithstanding, there are also people who always vote for “their party” regardless of which candidate or manifesto it presents. Unfortunately, such people alone cannot be depended on to win an election. Any political party that depends solely on the voices of this group of people to make decisions relative to elections, is more likely to regret its decision. This is why political parties would always have to look at the bigger picture when deciding on who should be their candidate for an election.

Let me be quick to say that in a situation where a party has grown to a certain height in terms of market acceptability and likability, it is usually the brand of the party that makes all the difference in elections. Such parties don’t necessarily need a charismatic candidate with any unique appeal or brand name to carry it to victory. However, when the party is having wobbling feet in the political milieu, a charismatic candidate is needed to carry the party on his or her shoulders to victory.

At this point, I humbly would like to appeal to those who think that it is time for a particular ethnic group to lead the party to kindly reset their thinking in the light of what happened in the last election and the difficult-to-break two terms cycle. Individual party members must know when to sacrifice their personal interest for the general good of the party. When it becomes so obvious that presenting a particular candidate could easily cause the party to lose political power, compromises would have to be made for the good of the party.

For example, in driving, when you have a right of way on the road, you don’t insist on your right into the grave when it is an articulator truck that is approaching your Hyundai Atos from the wrong way. In such circumstance, all a person needs to do to save his or her life is to let go of his or her right of way. In the same vein, people can let go of their personal political ambition when prevailing circumstances don’t favour its realisation, so as to save the party.

On the basis of what happened in the last elections, the NPP cannot be said to be safe up there in terms of political market acceptability and likability. It is a common knowledge that the party struggled in the last election due to certain factors some of which the NDC would definitely replay in the 2024 elections. The party, therefore, would need a candidate with a distinctive, authentic and outstanding personality and brand name that easily resonate with the Ghanaian electorates. More importantly, the party would need a candidate who can easily appeal to certain important segments of the political market, notably the women and youth.

It is not for nothing that political parties have women and youth wings of the party. The significance of these groups of people in politics cannot be overstressed. As a matter of fact, a political party must necessarily harvest the support of women and youth to win an election. Thus, a candidate’s suitability must be measured, to a very large degree, in relation to his or her ability to appeal to the women and youth in the country.

Unquestionably, the Alan brand is currently the most trending political brand in Ghana that easily reverberates with the women and youth. From a marketing perspective, the brand has the greatest potential to be the magic wand with which the NPP can break the eight years cycle if it is managed properly. Before you disagree with me on this assertion, kindly read with me to the end. The brand has been one of the most outstanding and enduring brands on the Ghanaian political market since 2005. Arguably, there is no household in Ghana in which the name Alan has not been heard. His towering personality and calm demeanour have won the hearts of many Ghanaians, particularly the women. This is an indisputable fact and a common knowledge in the country that needs no debate.

Not only that, currently, there is no political brand name that resonates with the Ghanaian women and youth like “Alan Cash”. For an obvious reason, the brand name has its own magnetic appeal in addition to his already magnetic personality. Without a doubt, any party with such a candidate would certainly have an invaluable political advantage over its competitors. The NPP would simply be fortunate to have such a candidate who seems to have no power-threatening “but” to his name or person in the eyes and minds of Ghanaians. He wouldn’t have to do all manner of things for acceptance. A good product with a good brand name is always easy to sell, isn’t it?

Without any malevolence towards women, “Alan Cash”, easily resonates with women more than any political brand name in the country. This is because, mostly, it is the women who gravitate towards cash. From a marketing standpoint, this is a very strong political pointer. The hardworking women of Ghana usually would need cash to start or expand one business or the other. If you visited any susu company or microfinance company, you would notice that most of their customers are women. The market women, for example, are always in need of cash to expand and grow their businesses and what else can attract them more than the brand name “Alan Cash”. I dare to ask my fellow Ghanaians! In this country, who doesn’t love Cash? Real people love cash.

Moreover, when it comes to the youth, his slogan “Job for the People, Cash for the People” would give the teeming unemployed youth in the country the needed hope of gainful employment. A careful look at Alan’s record shows that his “Job for the People, Cash for the People” slogan is not a mere political cliché, as he has proven beyond reasonable doubt over the years that, when it comes to creating jobs through initiatives, his acumen is of a different class.

Without doubt, his job creation footprints from his days at EMPRETEC to date are already dotted in the sands of now and posterity. He has proven to be a result-oriented person who talks less about his achievements. No wonder in 1994, Time Magazine, one of the top-notch global magazines, pencilled him out as one of the top 100 Global Leaders for the New Millennium alongside the likes of Bill Gates and John F. Kennedy of the USA.

The Trade Ministry, under his leadership, has seen a lot of job creation initiatives. Every claim made so far can easily be fact-checked by any interested Ghanaian. Therefore, the brand name “Alan Cash”, is not only distinctive, outstanding and enduring, it is also trustworthy when it comes to job creation. The women and youth in Ghana would cheerfully and optimistically welcome Alan Cash with open hearts and arms. If the NPP can eschew petty squabbling and rally behind Alan Cash, victory will undoubtedly be theirs in 2024.  Once again, he wouldn’t have to act for acceptance. The good people of Ghana would naturally love him.

Now, let me conclude my write-up with this important political angle. It is often said that plenty of meats don’t spoil the taste of soup. They only enhance its deliciousness. Here is another advantage the party stands to have over the NDC should they decide to present Alan Cash as their presidential candidate in 2024. Significantly, Alan’s ancestral heritage, specifically his maternal lineage, situates him in two critical political regions in the country, namely the Ashanti Region and the Central Region, precisely Ejuso and Elmina. No wonder he speaks the Twi and Fante languages so fluently. I was amazed by his fluency in the Fante language the first time I met him. It was at that time I got to know his mum’s father was from Elmina in the Central Region.

Ipso facto, the Asante Region has been the mainstay of the NPP’s political fortunes over the years. Going into the 2024 elections, all the NPP would need is to have a candidate whose personality and charisma can churn out a monumental voter turnout in the region. Obviously, of all the potential candidates whose names have come up, Alan Cash is in a pole position to be the candidate with that magic wand.

The Central Region, on the other hand, can be said to be the most swing region in the country currently and, mysteriously, it has always been the case that the party that is able to win the presidential votes in the region, wins the general election to form a government. This claim can also be fact-checked by any interested Ghanaian. This makes the Central Region an important battleground in every presidential election. This political conundrum is yet to be unravelled by the political scientists in the country.

However, the NDC seem to understand the significance of this conundrum better than any other party in the country.  It is not for nothing that the NDC, since 1992, have been focusing on the region when it comes to the selection of Vice-Presidential candidates. Well, it may interest you to know that, since 1992, they have always had one person from the region on their ticket, either as a presidential candidate or a vice-presidential candidate. It was Arkaah in 1992; the late Prof. Mills in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008; the late Amissah-Arthur in 2012 and 2016, and Prof. Naana Opoku Agyeman in 2020 and most likely 2024.

Therefore, having a candidate who hails from these two critical regions, would undoubtedly bring to the party an invaluable political advantage over the NDC. I have nothing more to say to the NPP.

God Bless our Country and Make the NPP Develop it in Freedom for Many Years.

Real People Love Cash #CashIsComing

Nana Kobina Atta is a political strategist, opinion leader and former NPP executive Member