General News of Thu, 23 Aug 201830

It’s official: Mahama will contest NDC flagbearership

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The day some National Democratic Congress (NDC) faithful have dreaded is here, former President John Dramani Mahama has officially declared his intention to run for the party’s flagbearership.

Mr Mahama presented his letter of intent at the NDC headquarters at Adabraka in Accra Thursday amid a rousing support from some party faithful.

Joy News’ Kwesi Parker Wilson reported that, Mr Mahama was not present there himself but his aides were there to do the presentation on his behalf.

The party recently asked all party members who hope to run for the flagbearship to present their official declaration of intent to the party ahead of the official opening of nominations.

Eight men have already tendered in their letters. Mr Mahama completed the process by submitting his letter.

December 7, 2018 has been set aside by the party to choose the 2020 flagbearer.

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2016 Loss

Mahama’s official declaration comes after months of speculation of whether the former President would seek to return to the helm of Ghana politics after the December 7, 2016 election in which he failed his re-election bid.

The governing NDC lost power in an unprecedented fashion. As sitting President, Mr Mahama failed in his bid to secure a second term.

The NDC commissioned the Kwesi Botchwey-led committee to look into the reasons why the party lost in such an embarrassing manner – almost a million votes.

Among other reasons stated in the report were cronyism and misapplication of campaign funds.

Speculations and blame games have gone on even after Prof Botchwey and his committee presented their report.

John Mahama has taken ultimate responsibility for the 2016 loss, even though he points out that he rode a lame horse into the 2016 battle.

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Mounting Pressure

Mahama had faced intense pressure from the media and members of the NDC to make his intentions known earlier but he would not break.

The former President insisted the party had suffered a heavy blow after the 2016 loss and making his intentions known would further divide the party.

He would wait until after the processes to heal the party’s wounds were completed before he declared any intention.

Earlier in the year, he gave a strong indication he would vie for the position when he posted on his social media handles that he won’t disappoint those calling on him to do so.



Unity Walks

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Some of the steps taken by the party to heal such wounds were health walks nicknamed ‘Unity Walk’. These walks ended with some party executives and Mr Mahama addressing participants.

These, the party says galvanised the grassroots and energised them for the battle ahead, the 2020 electioneering period.

Some flagbearer aspirants including Second Deputy Minister of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, however, tagged the Unity Walks as Mahama walks, saying others were met with hostility when they tried participating in the said walks.

Campaign

The other contenders in the race have long made their intentions known to the party faithful. Former Trades Minister, Ekwow Spio Garbrah, who contested and lost to the late Evans Atta-Mills is one of the front-runners.

Nadowli Kaleo MP, Alban Bagbin is also gathering a lot of support as he tours the country to announce his intentions to the party grassroots.

He continues to hit at Mahama’s tenure in office and consistently blames him for the 2016 loss, referring to him as a “reckless driver” who led them into opposition.

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Former Vice Chancellor of University of Professional Studies, Joshua Alabi is also on the sheet.



Mahama’s advantage

Scores of analysts have predicted an easy win for Mr Mahama should he run for the flagbearership.

Speaking to Joy News in December 2017, Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Evans Aggrey Darko noted that Mahama would be the man to beat in the race.

“He has served as a Vice-President for four years and served as President for four years so he has built enough political capital within the party to trump all other contenders” he stated.

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