After a long wait, the Kwesi Botchwey Committee, which was tasked to investigate the circumstances that led to the defeat of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2016 general election, has finally presented its report to the party, with far reaching recommendations towards its reorganisation.
The 13-member committee has advised the party to put together a peace mission and take steps to restore the integrity of the party’s biometric register and the expanded Electoral College as part of its reorganisation process.
The 455-page report christened: “Listening to the Grassroots”, further recommended to the party to restore and strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of its organs at the branch level, since they were effective tools for unity and cohesion within the party.
Presenting the report to the party in Accra yesterday, the Chairman of the Committee, Professor Kwesi Botchwey, said the committee also recommended to the party to improve on the collation of election results and take steps to reconnect with its social democratic values and beliefs.
He said the report further called for steps to be taken to strengthen research and intelligence in the party involving coordination in the larger body of the party’s intellectual capacity which had not been active in the last few years.
According to him, the report also called for the scaling up and reinvigorating of the youth and women organisations within the party, in view of demographic changes and urbanisation.
Prof. Botchwey spoke about how the committee went about its work by dividing the country into zones and deploying some committee members to sample the views of party supporters who had some concerns and had views on the causes of its defeat.
Receiving the report, the Chairman of the NDC, Mr Kofi Portuphy, expressed appreciation to the committee for the diligent work it had done and gave an assurance that the party would take the recommendations and analyses of the report seriously.
Following the establishment of the committee by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party in January 2017, the media have been waiting for the presentation of the report with anxiety, with some sections of the media making their own speculations about the causes of the NDC’s defeat in the 2016 elections.
Reacting to the alleged leaked reports and media conjecture, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, thanked the committee for completing its task, in spite of the initial difficulties it encountered.
He said the NEC would proceed to analyse the report from today and that the committee had scheduled a meeting for tomorrow when the report would be tabled for its review to begin immediately.
He indicated that per the constitution of the NDC, all internal elections must be held by the end of 2018, ahead of the parliamentary and presidential primaries for the 2020 elections.
The NDC General Secretary, popularly known as General Mosquito, submitted that before that time, the party would devote time to reorganising the branches of the party across the country.
Following the abysmal performance of the NDC in the 2016 elections, it constituted the committee, with the task to investigate the circumstances that led to its defeat.
It was expected to submit its report within three months, but it could not meet the deadline, since it could not start its work on schedule due to some internal mechanisms that needed to be tackled.
The committee was also tasked, among other things, to make recommendations for the restructuring and reorganisation of the party to position it for Election 2020.
Request for extension
The committee requested for an extension of time in order to meet some individuals and groups that had expressed interest in meeting it to share their thoughts, concerns and opinions on why the party lost the 2016 elections.
Considering the reasons for the extension, the NEC agreed to the request because it was reasonable to do so.
Other members of the committee were Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, a former Speaker of Parliament (MP); Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader in Parliament; Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Odododiodoo; Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, a former General Secretary of the NDC; Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, a former Minister of State, and Mrs Barbara Serwa Asamoah, a former Deputy Minister of State.
The rest were Dr William Ahadzi, the Director of Research of the NDC; Mr Alban K. Bagbin, the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament; Mr Samson Ahi, the MP for Bodi; Mr Razak Abu, Captain Asaase-Gyimah and Dr Ibrahim Zuberu, all members of the NDC.