Alan Cash Boycotts Akufo-Addo’s SoNA For Campaign
Resigned Trade and Industry minister, Alan John Kwadwo Kyeremanten, was conspicuously missing from the State of the Nation Address (SoNA), presented by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in Parliament yesterday.
The absence of the revered governing party stalwart at yesterday’s event, organized by a government he recently served, is raising several questions about Mr. Kyeremanten’s whereabouts and whether he was in the country.
Interestingly, former President John Dramani Mahama, who has been absenting himself from the annual ceremony, suddenly showed up this time, amid cheers from the minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs).
The former minister’s seeming snub of the annual event by a sitting president was noticeable mostly because of his announced aspiration to lead the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as the flagbearer and subsequently president of the republic.
It is, however, unclear whether the former minister is somewhat falling off from the President Akufo-Addo-led government, considering recent pronouncements by some members of his campaign team in response to that of Dr. Bawumia’s camp.
Mr. Kyeremanten is often labelled as a leading contender in the New Patriotic Party presidential contest to be held later this year.
Owing to his influence and aspiration to lead the party as the flagbearer, it was expected that, Mr. Kyeremanten would join the event after leaving government, to give his full support to the man he is aspiring to take over from.
But The Anchor cannot independently tell why the flagbearer-hopeful did not attend the address, but his absence has been described as injurious to the government and the President because of the influential role he played in the current government.
Recall that Mr.Kyeremanten, in the heat of the 2016 campaign, was the only member of the Akufo-Addo team who was introduced on platforms as a minister, even before the NPP won the 2016 general elections.
The last time much was heard of Mr. Kyeremanten, the resigned minister who left the government last January, has been touring the country, announcing and introducing himself to all who matter, as far as the yet-to-be organized contest is concerned.
Other dignitaries present at this year’s SoNA were former presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama, Vice President Dr.Mahamudu Bawumia and Chief Justice Anim Yeboah, among others.
Mr. Mahama has, in the past years, made it a point not to grace the event for no known reason, but no explanation has been given by his office except in 2021 when he indicated that he could not attend the event because he was challenging the outcome of that election at the Supreme Court. President Akufo-Addo is on record to have cited the same reason when he lost the 2012 elections and dragged the then government, led by Mr. Mahama, to the Supreme Court, not to participate in the 2013 Address.
Interestingly, barely two weeks after announcing his intention to contest for President for the fourth time in 2024, accompanied by a former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, National Chairman of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketiah and General Secretary Fifi Kwetey, he has surprisingly appeared in the august House.
Days ago, at Ghana’s 66th Independence Day celebration, held in the Volta Region, Mr. Mahama yet again boycotted the programme, but this time with explanation.
According to him, he refused to partake in the ceremony because the government has made the supposed national programme a political jamboree. He accused the NPP of bussing their supporters from all walks of life in branded t-shirts to the venue of the programme at Adaklu, near Ho, the Volta Regional capital.
“I am not going to be in Ho because I don’t want to be part of an NPP jamboree,” the former president said, when speaking with the media concerning the celebration.
“Nkrumah got us an independence; I’m an ‘Nkrumaist.’ I will attend an Independence Day any day if it is not hijacked by one party because it should be a national day for all of us,” he explained.
Last year, for instance, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, OseiKyei-Mensah-Bonsu, had cause to complain bitterly about Mr. Mahama’s continuous absence from national events.
The Suame MP said, per his calculation, the 2020 flagbearer of the NDC has been absent seven times at events the president has attended. He cited the 2022 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on March 29, as the most recent case in point.
Contributing to the debate on the SONA in Parliament, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the conduct of John Mahama does not speak well.
“Conspicuously absent [during the recent State of the Nation Address] was former President John Dramani Mahama.
That certainly is not a good account of the immediate past President and [former] Presidential candidate, he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mahama, in a brief conversation with journalists, said that the debate by Members of Parliament will bring out all the issues with the State of the Nation Address that President Akufo-Addo delivered yesterday.
Asked whether what President Akufo-Addo delivered reflected the real state of affairs in the country, Mr. Mahama said that “It is for the MPs to debate.”
He added, “The president has fulfilled his constitutional obligation, you might not agree on all the points but he has done what he is expected to do. The rest of the debate is left to the Members of Parliament.”
Asked again whether the President’s language and diction appealed to the conscience of the people, he answered, saying “It is not for me to judge, I think in the debate it will all come out.”
The presentation of the State of the Nation Address is a constitutional requirement performed by every sitting president every year.
It is delivered beginning and close of every parliamentary session. This means that President Akufo-Addo has three more SoNAs to present before he leaves office in January 2025.