ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana’s former trade minister said on Monday he would resign from the ruling party and run as an independent candidate during the next presidential election in December 2024, dividing a government faced with dwindling support as it grapples with the worst economic crisis in a generation.
Alan Kyeremanten, who has served twice as trade minister for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), made the announcement at a briefing and said his contributions were not appreciated. He had already resigned from his ministerial role in January.
“The new movement will be led and powered by the youth,” he told his supporters at the event.
“The (NPP) party has been hijacked by a selected group of party leaders and elders,” he said.
The NPP described Kyeremanten’s resignation as “unfortunate” in a statement.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the Accra last week for three days of anti-government protests linked to economic hardship.
Gold-, oil- and cocoa-producing Ghana’s worst economic crisis in a generation was brought on by spiralling public debt.
Last year, protests over soaring prices and other economic challenges led to clashes with police and pushed authorities to ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help.
The government has since focused on restructuring debt and reducing its spending to gain access to a $3 billion, three-year IMF loan programme.
But detractors said authorities have done too little to help those struggling to make ends meet as economic growth slows.
The NPP has yet to name its candidate to succeed President Nana Afuko-Addo, who will step down after serving two terms.
Kyeremanten had already withdrawn from an internal contest in November to elect the party’s candidate over allegations of irregularities in the selection process.
It is widely believed that Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia will be put forward.
Ghana has been ruled by two parties since it transitioned from military to democratic rule in 1992 – the NPP and the main opposition National Democratic Congress party.
Kyeremanten, 67, served as Akufo-Addo’s trade and industry minister during both of his terms.
(Reporting by Maxwell Akalaare Adombila; Editing by Sofia Christensen and Grant McCool)