The Professor Kwesi Botchwey-led Committee that investigated why the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost the 2016 general elections has indicted the leadership of the party for allowing the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to win votes of the youth, particularly in tertiary institutions.
According to the 13-member Committee’s report, the NPP did not only take over control of the youth, but also made inroads into the NDC’s youth base.
“Party lost its youth at the tertiary institution,” the 65-page Executive Summary of the report – which the largest opposition party is keeping like a state secret – confirms on Page 29, explaining that the NDC youth organizer, Siidi Abubakar, was virtually missing in action.
On December 7, during the counting of the ballots, the NPP and its candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Add, won in almost every tertiary institution in the country, but in the case of the NDC, it could manage victories only in the prisons and other detention centres where movements of inmates are highly restricted.
According to the report, Siidi Abubakar was missing in the scheme of affairs in the course of the NDC campaign, while Sammi Awuku (NPP Youth Organiser) was everywhere, saying on Page 36 that “The National Youth Organizer was difficult to reach.”
Siidi Abubakar, in the course of the campaign, appeared sidelined and movie actors like John Dumelo and Clement Bonney aka Mr. Beautiful, took the centre stage of the campaign.
Dumelo was later allegedly rewarded with a state Toyota Landcruiser V8 vehicle which was later retrieved from him by the current NPP administration in his attempt to conceal it.
John Dumelo, for instance, was given unfettered access to senior high schools (SHSs) in the country to propagate the Mahama second term agenda, even though the (NDC) government created the impression that the actor was going round the schools to give peace talks to the students ahead of the election.
During the launch of the official NDC campaign in Cape Coast, the Central Regional capital, for instance, where Mahama delayed the programme for several hours, it was John Dumelo who took the centre stage instead of the National Youth Organizer – even speaking after former President Jerry John Rawlings – who founded the NDC – had delivered his speech, in a clear breach of protocol.
According to the Botchwey report, the formation of what the committee called ‘amorphous groups’ to campaign for the NDC and then President John Mahama’s second term bid ended up destroying known institutions in the party such as the Tertiary Educational Institutions Network (TEIN) – a students’ wing of the party.
“The amorphous groups took over the work of TEIN,” the report says on Page 36, adding, “The party could not organize item 13 (small chops) for TEIN programmes” anytime there was an NDC programme on the campuses although there were budgets allocated.
The report says that the NDC “could not mobilize for students voter registration and transfer during EC national exercise,” adding, “about 80 percent of Accra Technical University were NPP polling agents on election day.”
According to the report, the NDC did not have any plan for TEIN, saying, “The Youth Organizer did not have any plan for TEIN across the country.
“There was usually no budget to support TEIN programmes after several attempts were made to reach the National Youth Organizer.”
The report indicates that the NDC lost about 900 people in the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) where Professor Joshua Alabi was the Rector and said the students “could not obtain transport to go and vote on Election Day.”
The report also indicts then NDC MP for Madina, Amadu Sorogho, whose jurisdiction covers UPSA, saying there was complacency on his part. He eventually lost the seat to the opposition.
“MP was complacent in the Madina Constituency,” the report observes, adding, “His NPP counterpart (Boniface Abubakar Saddique) was praying with students on campus.”
It also says that the poor attitude by government appointees towards the youth was a factor in bringing apathy in the NDC.
The report has already revealed how some NDC gurus, with the blessing of the Mahama presidency, formed many groups to campaign for his (Mahama’s) second term bid but none of those involved were not real party members.
“None of the amorphous groups were NDC members,” the report reveals on page 28, adding shockingly that “NPP (then opposition) infiltrated the NDC’s ranks and built these groups to execute their agenda within the NDC.”
Groups like Girls Girls for Mahama, Zongo Girls for Mahama, Zongo for Mahama, Youth for Mahama, Celebrities for Mahama, Mahama Ladies, I Choose JM, Ambassadors for Mahama, Doves for Mahama and others, were formed with massive resources at their disposal to prosecute the agenda, which failed woefully in the end as Ghanaians overwhelmingly rejected Mahama.