An aspirant for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer post and a former National Health Insurance Authority Chief Executive Officer, Sylvester Mensah, has affirmed his decision to contest for the vacant position of flagbearer despite former president Mahama's recent declaration.
Speaking on Star FM on Monday, the man many have labeled the dark horse in the race in his usual gentle but firm approach welcomed the former president to the contest saying, though late, it was expected by the rank and file of the party.
The flagbearer hopeful described his ambition as a vehicle that has already begun a journey. "I want to assure my teeming supporters across the country that I appreciate the support, trust and confidence they have reposed in me and I will not take it for granted or disappoint."
It is welcome news that Mr. Mahama has finally indicated his intention to contest even though it had been suggested that he bowed to pressure and to give the impression that he is an unwilling candidate.
“All I pray for is that neither the party nor any group of individuals would be tempted to gag potential hopefuls. A free, fair and level playing field is what the party needs in order to scale over the hurdle," he said.
According to the flagbearer hopeful, there was the need to appreciate the experiences of the past which caused the party’s defeat in the last general elections.
“Things that went against us cannot be repeated going into the future,” he said.
Speaking about the contest, Mr. Sylvester Mensah said the declaration by the former president to contest obviously calls for a change in strategy.
"Every individual comes with a unique set of talents, potential and above all, support base. Once a new person joins the race, every other contender would have to adjust to accommodate the new entrant.
“What is important is that my teeming supporters know I stand for a new face, a new voice, a new vision and a new set of relationships,” he added.
Mahama and marketing
Reacting to a question by the host as to what his chances are given that Mr. Mahama appears the most marketed, Mr. Sylvester Mensah said most of it were perception and though he did not wish to discuss any particular candidate, he believed that he would win the flagbearer race and subsequently become the president of the Republic come January, 2021.
"Comparing the former president with any of the aspirants is like comparing apples and mangoes. None of them has been Vice President and President but what is at stake is that delegates are going to measure potential and see who best represents the best set of aspirations both for the party and Ghana in general. I believe I am marketable and have more than what it takes to be a household name within one year and win power for the party.”
Mr. Sylvester Mensah, stated categorically that he may not be as financially endowed as other aspirants, “but fortunately the race is not about who has more money. Right from branch to the national level, there are different levels of investments. Party members seeking office, are being encouraged to own the party, develop a new set of orientation and to appreciate their role as 'kingmakers' with the responsibility to ensure the best leader emerges for our collective good and interest.”
"If it is about money we may not have in equal measure. But it goes beyond that, it is about mutual respect for one another, mutuality of interest, it is about the future of our country, belief in our common humanity. It is about reducing social exclusion and achieving shared prosperity. If these are the issues at stake, then I have it in abundance and I believe the delegates will choose me," he said.