John Mahama joins NDC flagbearer race

BY: Kobby Asmah & Chris Nunoo
Former President John Dramani Mahama
Former President John Dramani Mahama

The official communication and declaration by former President John Dramani Mahama to contest the flagbearership of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the year 2020 was characterised by fanfare as party stalwarts and supporters, some from other parts of the country, besieged the party’s headquarters at Adabraka in Accra to lend their support.

Mr Mahama now joins a host of other aspirants including, Alban Bagbin, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Joshua Alabi and some others who have already expressed interest in the vacant position.

Nine persons have already written to the party officially to inform it about their intentions to lead the party for the 2020 presidential election.

They are the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin; a former Trade Minister, Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah; a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr Sylvester Adinam Mensah; a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Professor Joshua Alabi; a banker and oil and gas consultant, Mr Nurideen Iddrisu; the MP for Cape Coast South, Mr George Kwaku Ricketts Hagan; a member of the NDC’s communication team, Mr Stephen Atubiga; a lawyer,­­­ Mr Elikplim Agbemava and Mr David Doste Kwame Kuwadah.


Presidential hopefuls

The NDC on Thursday, August 2, 2018 announced that its presidential hopefuls could start campaigning for the election slated for December 7, 2018, but they must officially inform the party.

It is an open secret that even though campaign activities towards the party’s presidential primary officially began on Thursday, August 2, 2018, some of the aspirants started campaigning about a year ago.

Many contestants

According to Mr Nketia, it appeared many party stalwarts were jostling for the NDC flagbearership slot because “they think there is the writing on the wall that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has failed.”

“They are all rushing to have a stake in a future NDC government,” he stated.

Party structure

In view of what is happening within the NDC, Mr Nketia said it was better and timely for the working structure of the party to be reconstituted to sanitise the process as well as save time.

In line with this, he said the party was encouraging the various aspirants to campaign openly instead of doing so underground.

“It is better for the aspirants to campaign in the open rather than indulge in what is known as ‘galamsey’ (underground). If you do not allow them to campaign openly and they do so underground, it will not be good for the party’s wellbeing.”

By asking the aspirants to campaign openly, Mr Nketia pointed out that “we are rather controlling what they do and say on the field of campaign to avoid excesses.”

As a party, Mr Nketia stated, “we are encouraging the use of decent language and a refrain from personality attacks throughout the campaigns.”

He added: “What the party people want to hear is not the venom against one another but the plans and visions of the aspirants for the party and the country. These will form the basis for consideration by the delegates.”

The focus, he stated, would be on the message to delegates, with a campaign that is civil and devoid of acrimony.

Warning

Mr Nketia, however, warned the party structures not to court support for any aspirant, explaining that “while an individual member of the party can support an aspirant, it will be totally wrong for that individual to say for instance that “we the executive of so and so branch or region have declared our support for so and so aspirant.”

Issue based campaigns

It will be recalled that barely 24 hours after the leadership of the party released a timetable for the party’s upcoming elections from regional to the national level, presidential aspirants were all out in the field campaigning vigorously for the hearts and minds of the delegates.

Undoubtedly, the aspirant to watch is the former President who even though is yet to declare his intention has become the man to beat in the NDC race to win the flagbearership of the party.