Mahama's 'movie star' lifestyle contributed to election loss - Botchwey Committee report
The Professor Kwesi Botchwey Committee that investigated why the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost last December's elections said former President John Mahama's lifestyle in the run-up to the election was a factor in the loss.
According to the 65-page Executive Summary of the report, “President Mahama lives a life of a movie star,” getting to the election in which the NDC performed abysmally.
The report made damning conclusions on the role played by Mr Mahama and a few of his aides in the massive electoral defeat of the NDC last year.
It said President let himself down with his attitude towards the campaign, saying, “John Maham lost the elections and not the NDC.
“President Mahama ignored the Akuse strategy. It included no flamboyant campaign, no amorphous group, etc,” it said.
It also maintained that “the president’s inner circles were so intolerant that when you criticize the president, you are condemned.”
The report described the NDC’s collation of the election results as ‘complete mess,’ saying, “The situation brought dysfunctionalism in the party to a head”.
It said the NDC was “intolerant of the media and disrespected its own media.”
“Party spokespersons go and mess up with other stations and come to do the damage control on Radio Gold.”
According to the report, there was “disconnection between the government and party, as well as disconnection between the party and the grassroots.”
Some have said that the damning revelation is going to make it difficult for Mr Mahama – who is lacing his boots to lead the NDC once again for the 2020 presidential election – to make a comeback, but recent events show clearly that the former president is on course to become the NDC flag bearer again.
The 13-member committee, chaired by Professor Kwesi Botchwey with influential personalities like the former speaker of parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho on board, had presented the report on Monday, June 19 and the party subsequently formed an Implementation Committee (IC), made up of respected NDC gurus like Kofi Totobi Quakyie, Nana Ato Dadzie, Kwame Peprah, among others, to work out the modalities of re-organization of the party as recommended in the report.
However, the Implementation Committee did not even know that the Functional Executive Committee (FEC) of the NDC had already set up sub-committees to commence work until recently.
Some members are already complaining bitterly about what they claim to be a subtle attempt by the camp of former President Mahama to take control of the NDC so that his ambition to lead the NDC again will be fulfilled.
Some cynically claim that the Mahama camp is getting its people to head the various sub-committees so that the damning verdict about the former president and his inner circle in the report would be watered down.
The situation has got some NDC members of the grassroots – who believe the former president might not be the ideal candidate for the party for the 2020 presidential election – agitated because they are claiming that it was these same bigwigs who were indicated in the Prof Kwesi Botchwey Committee report.
“They have been able to push the former president’s trusted lieutenants to head committee positions for the reorganization exercise, even though these same groups of people were mentioned as contributing heavily to our disgraceful defeat on December 7, 2016,” an NDC source said.
According to him, the report had tasked the party’s leadership to assemble persons with ‘unquestionable’ backgrounds to spearhead the reorganizational process, but it is turning out that the same old faces are doing the work.
“Former President Mahama is bent on doing everything possible to ensure that he becomes the NDC 2020 flag bearer. He wants to do it without any fierce competition.
"As we speak, he has managed to get his loyalists like Julius Debrah, Dzifa Ativor, Prosper Bani, Nana Oye Lithur, Omane Boamah and others to take over committees formed to implement the report” the source claimed.
The sources said that the FEC had formed sub-committees such as Women’s Affairs Committee, to be headed by Dzifa Aku Attivor, former Minister of Transport, with Nana Oye Lithur, former Minister of Gender and Social Protection, in support.
There is also the sub-committee for Welfare and Fundraising to be headed by former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah and former Interior minister Prosper K. Bani, while Fonu Kapatakpa and Abigail Elorm Mensah are said to be heading the Committee on Youth.
“Recently, FEC meeting ended abruptly because of disagreement over the inclusion of these people. Page 26 specifically mentioned their names as persons who contributed to our defeat. When this point was raised at the FEC meeting, it resulted in exchanges,” the source revealed.
According to the source, almost all those appointed to the sub-committees are also lacing their boots to contest national positions when nominations open.
The source claimed for instance, that Julius Debrah would contest for the national chairman slot; Dzifa Ativor, national vice chairperson; Nana Oye Lithur, national women’s organizer; Prosper Bani, Volta Regional chairman; and they are said to be doing it to consolidate their hold on the party so that Mahama would have unfettered access to the flagbearership position.
According to the source, some of those appointed into the sub-committees are said to be campaigning vigorously at the FEC to get their names deleted from the Prof Botchwey report, and that delayed the release of the report to the public.
"They want to do this to dwarf Rawlings and the Ahwois’ influence in the party, but it won’t work,” he charged.