Presidential candidates of political parties have been advised to select running mates who will be capable of stepping into the top seat if circumstances so require.
A Development Consultant and Democracy Engineer, Dr Nansata Yakubu, who gave the advice, said selecting running mates based on competence to govern when the presidential candidate-turned-President could not do his or her work should be the fundamental requirement every prospective Vice-President should be judged with.
The central question to ask, according to Dr Yakubu, is: “Can the person govern if the President is incapacitated? If the presidential candidate now turned President can no longer do his work, can the running mate turned Vice-President step in comfortably? Does the running mate have the ability to run parallel campaigns with the presidential candidate and get the same media coverage?”
She was speaking at a public forum on the Vice-Presidential Selection Process organised by the Centre for Public Discourse Analysis (CPDA) in Accra last week.
She pointed out that although selecting Vice-Presidential candidates based on regional balance was important, it was not key to our current political dispensation looking at voting trends of the past years.
A Vice-Presidential candidate, she said, should be one who had experience, not necessarily political experience but a technocrat who was competent to run a campaign that could win the party votes.
Dr Yakubu equally advised running mates who had the potential to become Presidents to be mindful of the campaigns they ran, adding that they should position themselves in such a way that when the time came for them to stand for Presidency, they would not have problems with the electorate.
NDC’s running mate
Answering questions on who the NDC, which was yet to select its running mate, should choose as a running mate, the two other speakers at the forum, Mr Evans Mensah, the Head of the Political Desk at JOY FM, and Mr Akoto Boafo, the Head of Current Affairs and Politics at Citi FM, said the person should be a long-term candidate who would take the party beyond 2024.
On the reason for organising the forum, the Chief Discourse Analyst of CPDA, Dr Etse Sikanku, said the Vice-Presidential position was an important one that should not be left to the political parties alone to decide who the person should be.
He explained that when a political party won power, whoever was the Vice-President played an important role in the governance of the country, therefore a public forum to discuss what kind of Vice-President the country needed was appropriate.
“This is a civic duty. We should not leave it to the political parties. Public conversations can feed into the choices the parties make so that the choice the parties make will not be responsive only to the parties’ ideology but be responsive to the needs of the citizens,” he stated.
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