The National Democratic Congress (NDC) set up a committee to do a post-mortem on why it lost the 2016 general election. But even before the Professor Kwesi Botchwey committee could finish its work, leading members of the party in various media interviews in the past few days have painted a picture of sharp divisions in the party.
The National Organiser, Mr Kofi Adams; Member of Parliament for Yunyoo in the Northern Region, Mr Joseph Bipoba Naabu; a Deputy General Secretary, Mr Koku Anyidoho; a Former National Chairman, Dr Kwabena Adjei, and Former National Organiser, Mr Yaw Boateng Gyan, are but a few of the leaders who have granted separate media interviews expressing divergent views.
While Mr Adams thinks that former President John Mahama should be the party’s candidate for 2020, the others have expressed their disagreement and insisted the time is not ripe for such suggestions and that the Botchwey committee should be allowed to finish its work first.
Mr Anyidoho has stated that the fact-finding election review committee tasked to investigate why the NDC lost Election 2016 has unveiled a myriad of problems within the NDC.
To him, setting up the committee was “one of the best decisions we’ve taken as a political party because it is telling us that the anger, pain and bitterness expressed by members were indicators to the reasons for the about one million of sympathisers not voting for the NDC.”
According to him, the said one million voters not only refused to vote for the NDC, but abstained from the polls and did not vote for the NPP as well.
“We are now getting to the bottom of the issues. They are telling us that these are the reasons why we didn’t go out to vote,” Mr Anyidoho said in a radio interview with Accra-based Oman FM.
Ironically, before Election 2016, the leadership and functionaries of the NDC continuously stated that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was a divided party that did not deserve the mandate to govern.
The NDC leadership touted the party as the best example of a united party that deserved to be given the mandate to rule.
In the radio interview, Mr Anyidoho said grassroots of the NDC have been giving them a litany of the reasons why they didn’t vote for the NDC.
“For me as a party leader, that is very, very encouraging. If these people did not open up to the committee for us to get to the bottom of the matter, then we couldn’t solve the problem. So I am encouraged that the one million people who did not vote for the NDC will vote for us if we solve the problems,” he added.
A former National Chairman of the NDC, Dr Kwabena Adjei, opened up on how he felt about the NDC in a radio interview last Wednesday evening on Starr FM.
He said former President John Mahama surrounded himself with “inexperienced” people.
“Relatively inexperienced people were around the President. I will say it and say it again. I haven’t mention babies with sharp teeth or blunt teeth.”
To him one of the principal reasons that led Mahama to lose the 2016 elections was the fact that he surrounded himself with “inexperienced” people.
Mosquito, Portuphy division
Assessing why the NDC lost the elections, Dr Adjei, popularly known by his peers as ‘Nkonya Terminator’ aka ‘Wayo Wayo,’ said Mr Mahama was deceived and that there was a division between the National Chairman, Mr Portuphy, and General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.
“His [Mahama] handlers misled him. They were inexperienced. I will say this anywhere without fear or favour. We are all to blame,” Dr Adjei said.
According to him, the younger handlers of Mahama prevented the older ones with “a wealth of experience” from getting close to the President; hence, his miserable defeat.
He said he was side-lined throughout the elections, but he went out of his own way to contribute during the electioneering.
“I’ve a wealth of experience. The young ones failed to tap into our experience… the NDC has run into a ditch and we have to do our best to resurrect that party. Right now who becomes an executive member is out of place,” Dr Adjei advised party members.
The NDC Member of Parliament for Yunyoo, Mr Joseph Bipoba Naabu, has fired another salvo, saying former President John Mahama lacked competence when he was President of Ghana and that contributed to the NDC’s defeat.
To him, Mr Mahama will perform poorly in the 2020 elections if he decides to run for president again.
He added: “Even though it’s my party and I wish we had won the elections, it was because of our behaviour, and President Mahama himself took things for granted, that was why we lost. He thought he was going to win hands down but rather he lost heavily and massively. I will attribute it to lack of competence and he also not having control; people were just telling him lies within the presidency.
“Take Omane Boamah, for instance. What experience has he got in politics? If he goes to contest elections in the constituency where he comes from, can he win that election? But the former president was listening to such a person and that is the problem with him. Those who surrounded him did not tell him the truth,” Mr Naabu added.
Yaw Boateng Gyan
For former National Organiser, Mr Yaw Boateng Gyan, even though the NDC was more divided than the NPP ahead of the 2016 general election, actors of the NDC decided to trumpet the then opposition NPP’s internal wranglings rather than the major crisis that confronted the NDC.
Speaking to Kumasi-based Abusua FM, he said people who dared to talk publicly about the party’s challenges were vilified and side-lined.
“If we had paid attention to what people, our own party people, were saying, I am telling you the NDC wouldn’t have been in opposition by now,” he revealed.
”The other issue has to do with the way and manner our people were talking to the electorates…very arrogant and disrespectful, how would we have appealed to the voters?” Gyan added.
Mr Adams thinks Mr Mahama should not be blamed for the defeat and that party members should use the Botchwey committee to address grievances and stay away from the media interviews.
He, however, disagrees with the criticisms and the blame game and has consequently advised that those who speak on radio and television programmes should be decorous in order not to bring disunity to the party.
"Those who go on air and speak anyhow must be ready to also appear before the committee and stop the radio interviews since this will not help solve the problems within the party," Mr Adams stated.
He added that it was surprising that some members were saying they became arrogant and disrespectful before the election. “As a leader, you cannot satisfy each individual within the party, since the needs of all may be different. These are some of the things that affected us during the 2016 general election.”
To him, Mr Mahama is the best candidate and stands a better chance of bringing back the party into power in the 2020 election.
“I will continue to say this and I will repeat it here. Mahama is the most solid and best candidate for the party come 2020 due to his achievement,” he said.