Ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor, might be having difficult nights sleeping settling on three individuals, who have worked their ways into his heart and whom he had at various times referred to as his sons.
Under the wings of Mr Kufuor, had been John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) stalwart, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, the Trade Minister and an aspirant of the ruling party’s flag bearer slot.
But the ex-President’s love, appears to have shifted towards Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, whom he eulogized over the weekend during the Father’s Day celebration, as having grown since he entered partisan politics in 2007.
It remains unclear, if the body language of ex-President Kufuor in recent times, has anything to do with the impending NPP flag bearer contest or must purely be seen as a harmless gesture from an 83-year old man who had grown to become arguably a great statesman, and wants to transcend partisan politics.
At the NPP level, the ex-President is hardly seen with Mr Kyerematen, compared to Dr Bawumia.
Dr Bawumia and Mr Kyeremateng, are leading contenders in the race for NPP flagbearership contest into the 2024 general elections.
Many pollsters and political pundits, have forecasted that D. Bawumia will eventually win the flagbearer elections and represent the party as the first Muslim candidate since 1992.
Mr Kufuor, had been supportive of Mr Kyerematen’s candidature since 2007, and had done everything possible, including campaigning for him to lead the NPP as his successor, but for the Akufo-Addo factor.
He did this against his then Vice-President, the late Alhaji Aliu Mahama.
Ex-President Kufour, is said to be deeply indebted to Mr Kyerematen’s father, and had done everything possible to politically project him to ascend the Presidency.
In this regard, he made Mr Kyerematen Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States of America in his first term of office from 2001 to 2004, before bringing him down, to make him his Trade Minister in his second term.
Ahead of the 2007 NPP flag bearer slot, everything, including the use of the presidential jet, was put at the disposal of Mr Kyerematen to emerge out of the 17 contestants and lead the party, but could not, as Nana Akufo-Addo got more votes than him.
In 2010 and 20014, he contested for the NPP slot against candidate Akufo-Addo, but was once again defeated, but the 2014 was most overwhelming as he was heavily thrashed beyond recognition.
In the case of ex-President Mahama, it has been mentioned that Mr. Kufuor, had known him as a young man and the son of the late Joyce Tamakloe, the biological mother of businessman, Ibrahim Mahama.
He had taken Mr Mahama under his wings as his son and despite the fact that they belong to different sides of the political divide, the two have had mutual respect for each other and had never been heard launching vitriolic criticisms at their governments during their tenures.
Indeed, in 2013 when the NPP and its defeated Presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of Mr Mahama, Mr Kufuor attended the event amidst threats of physical bodily harm and insults from the NPP zealots, some of whom were close to Mr Akufo-Addo and led by Kofi Dokyi Apreatu-Ampaw alias “Kofi 123”.
They had embarrassingly stormed Mr Kufuor’s Airport Residential Area home on the morning of the event to prevent him from going to the Independent Square, the venue of the ceremony.
Mr Mahama, has never failed to reciprocate the goodwill. Even as President, he has sometimes had graced the birthdays of Mr. Kufuor and his wife, Theresa Kufuor to demonstrate the mutual respect they have for each other sometimes amid scornful stares from the late NDC founder Jerry John Rawlings and the NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo.
While Rawlings and Kufuor remained mortal enemies and didn’t like closeness between him and Mr Mahama, Mr Akufo-Addo felt ex-President Kufour’s closeness to Mr Mahama was affecting his political fortune. Rawlings and Akufo-Addo, became great friends with Rawlings reported to have worked against Mahama’s second term bid in 2016.
Speaking at Father’s day in the Eastern Region, Kufuor said Bawumia has become like a son to him ever since he became a politician adding, the Vice President has grown in leaps and bounds since that time.
He also said one of the virtues of Bawumia is loyalty, which makes him stand out among his contemporaries.
“Let me single out one person; he is also a father, but I can claim that he happens to be my son too, and that’s the Vice-President sitting right by me,” the 83-year-old said. “In your narration, you said when the planners decided to invite the Vice-President, you learnt he had gone to the North for some duties, and you even doubted whether he would manage to come.”
“But you phoned him, and with his signature giggling, he said ‘if it’s JA Kufuor, I’m coming’. That’s so touching, very touching, but probably that’s how a son should behave towards a father. Sheer coincidence, but you may not know that I started being a father in 1963, and that happened to be the year the Vice-President was born.
“We’ve related so beautifully. It is not just for this occasion, but once I noticed him, he became like a son. And he behaves like a true son, very loyal. So, when I heard the narration that when you phoned him, he said ‘if it’s Kufuor I’m coming’, I pray for the Vice President, may God bless him,” Kufuor said.
Interestingly, Mr. Mahama and Mr. Kyerematen, the two other “sons” of ex-President Kufour, are good friends but it is not clear if they were invited. However, Ibrahim Mahama, a brother of ex-President Mahama who is expected to lead the opposition NDC in the 2024 election, was invited.
Bernard Okoh Boye of the National Health Authority (NIA) was also there.