Our priority should be to cure the lame horse - Mahama
Former President John Mahama has admonished members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to concentrate on rebuilding the party instead of focusing on who leads it to the next election.
He admitted that “yes, we lost but let’s use this opportunity as a learning [curve] to be able to make sure that we don’t make the same mistake that we did in 2016.
Addressing some of his appointees recently in Accra, Mr Mahama said, “...for [the] people talking about leadership and the presidency, it's absolutely premature. If you ride a lame horse into a race and you lose the race, your priority must be to cure the lameness of the horse.
He said you have to cure the horse and make sure it is no longer lame. Once you have a fit healthy horse it will throw up who the jockey will be. According to him, the issue of leadership will be determined by the signs of the time.
The 2016 NDC flag bearer lost the election to the the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by Nana Akufo-Addo who is now the president.
John Mahama was seeking his second term in office, even though it would have been the party's third term in office if he had won.
This means the former president still has the chance to return as the leader of the NDC in 2020 when the country goes to the polls.
However, there are a number of potential candidates who have not made public their ambitions but have supporters and identifiable groups within the party subtly campaigning for them.
Some of the names thrown up include former Trades Minister Ekow Spio Garbrah; former National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) boss, Sylvester Mensah and Prof Joshua Alabi as possible flag bearers of the NDC in 2020.
The former President said those who hope to lead the party need to build strong and vibrant branch, constituency and regional organization on the back of which to contest the election.
He said if this is done, whoever gets to lead the party, as a committed member of the NDC, “I will support that person to the hilt.”
Mr Mahama spoke against the bickering in the media by party supporters and executives, emphasis they are now in opposition and need to stick together. He rejected claims by some of the NDC's rank and file that his presidency was dominated by young people which contributed to their the NDC's loss at the polls. He said those complaining should be honest and "say, 'I don't like the people' and not that they are young."
Mr Mahama said there was no basis for the criticism because the so-called young people being referred to are men and women above the age of 40 with families. "When I became deputy Minister to Ekow Spio Garbrah, I was 39 years-old. Yes! We were young but we served and served properly. I am sure Spio was in his 40s at the time and you can't say he was a small boy," he explained.
"In the revolutionary times, all those who surrounded J.J Rawlings were in their 20s and 30s...so it is not about age as our party has always given an opportunity to young people. That is what we are and so if we lose [an election] we cannot blame young people for our loss," he added.
He observed that the demographics of Ghana are shifting in favour of young people with 60 percent of the population being 35 years and below and these people need to be given the experience to grow to become experienced politicians.