Regional News of Sat, 10 Jun 20176

Why the NDC lost the Nandom seat: The Inside Story

All is still not well in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Nandom Constituency of the Upper West Region, six months after the party lost one of its safest seats at December 7, 2016, polls to the then opposition New Patriotic Party candidate, Ambrose P. Dery.

One would have thought that since that crushing and humiliating defeat, Constituency Executives, the former parliamentary candidate, Dr. Richard Kuuire and all those who matter, would come together to start reorganizing the party ahead of 2020.

But the opposite is true about the NDC on the ground following checks by mynewsgh.com. Party supporters and sympathisers claim they do not know exactly what is currently ongoing in the constituency, with regards to any post-election agenda of the party.

An obviously worried activist of the party, Fuseini Salifu, told mynewsgh.com that there had been internal wrangling in the party long before the December 2016 general elections. But failure by the top leadership to resolve it amicably, he observed, caused the defeat of Dr. Kuuire at the polls, which should have never happened.

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Mr. Salifu claimed that, prior to the election of new Constituency Executives in 2015, the former Member of Parliament, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor and the former District Chief Executive, Cuthbert Kuupiel, wanted the then Executives to be maintained as officers of the party.

“Divisions set into the party after that failed attempt to maintain the old Executives, and since then, we have had the old Executives who are believed to be in the camp of Dr. Kunbuor and Mr. Kuupiel refused to support the current Executives and our candidate Dr. Kuuire before and during the 2016 elections.”

Going forward, Mr. Salifu urged the former MP, former DCE and the 2016 parliamentary candidate to bury their differences and unite for the sake of the party if they are really interested in recapturing the seat for the NDC in 2020. “The disunity that led to skirt and blouse voting must be resolved urgently so that we all go into the 2020 elections in unity.”

He also recommended that the NDC National Executives should go back to the old system of electing executives at all levels of the party, citing the current decentralised system as inimical to the fortunes of the party.

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“The current decentralised system of elections has given the opportunity for incompetent people to be elected as leaders. People who do not understand party politics are allowed to vote to elect leaders of our party. This is a disincentive for the party”, he stressed.

Martin Dery, another activist of the NDC also agreed with Mr. Salifu’s assertion that there was disunity among the three personalities and their supporters. “The old Executives supported Kunbuor and Kuupiel whereas the new Executives also supported Kuuire who was the party’s candidate. Until the differences are addressed, it will be difficult to reorganise as a party and campaign to win the seat back”, he stated.

According to him, there were several attempts by the National and Regional Executives to resolve the differences among the trio. “It was when the campaign started in earnest that we realised the problem was still there”, he recalled.

But for this internal party problem, Mr. Dery said many supporters of the party were very certain that Dr. Kuuire was going to win the seat. “As a first timer, he got more than ten thousand votes. The difference between the NDC and NPP in terms of votes was just about 878.

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In a message posted on his Facebook wall on December 13, 2016, at 5:37 pm, Dr. Kuuire said: “….on the elections itself, I wish to state that I am not satisfied with the turn of events. I could have done better than what I received as election results from the good people of Nandom, but some of my own party members, for reasons best known to them, after losing the NDC primaries to me, championed and campaigned for “skirt and blouse” voting against me.

“I thank them so much for this. I have no ill against anyone of them but to call for all to let whatever differences between us to die down and let’s refocus on building our party again. A house divided against itself cannot stand but fall to the enemies.”

When contacted, he told this reporter, that it is his wish to see the party united once again. “I will do everything possible to see the old Executives and current Executives work together for the party. I will do all I can to reach out to my brothers Kunbuor and Cuthbert to consider the interest of our party first and not our individual interest.

“It should never be in our party’s records that when I or Cuthbert decided to run for the party’s parliamentary seat contest, the NDC in the Nandom Constituency suffered disunity. But rather, it should go down in history that it was through the two of us and the efforts of all past and present Executives as well as former MPs that Nandom Constituency grew stronger in strength and bigger in size”, Dr. Kuuire stated.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kuupiel has refuted allegations that he and the two other personalities were responsible for divisions in the party. “I personally supported Kuuire with resources to campaign. Kunbuor also supported him with resources. I went round with him and campaigned for him”, he said.

He appealed to the party’s supporters to be active in their own small way at various levels of the leadership structure in the party instead of getting disappointed over perceived divisions linked to him and other key members of the party.

He also downplayed suggestions that growing disillusionment among supporters could cost the NDC the Nandom seat again in 2020. “We will not lose the seat come 2020. We’re winning it back from the NPP. We lost because of ignorance and disgruntlement among some supporters”, he observed.

Mr. Kuupiel further appealed to the 2016 parliamentary candidate and the constituency Executives to start reorganising the party and if they were in need of any kind of support from him or his presence in any meeting, they should let him know and he would gladly honour it.

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