After tagging former President John Dramani Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration as being the most corrupt in the history of Ghana, former President Jerry John Rawlings – founder of the party – stayed away from the much-publicized unity walk in Cape Coast yesterday.
In what looked like a show of what they have looted from the state, members of the previous government paraded the streets of Cape Coast in luxurious 2017 registered V8 vehicles.
Upon seeing those flashy vehicles, the people of Cape Coast hooted at them during and after the walk.
The walk, which the NDC claimed was a platform to unite its front for the 2020 election, was also apparently to test the popularity of John Mahama as far as contesting for the flagbearer position of the party is concerned.
The ‘Onaapo’ campaign song for the 2016 elections was heard being sung during the walk – which began from Swidu to London Bridge – where party faithful had the opportunity to see the personalities who are lacing their boots to contest for the flagbearer position.
On seeing that the walk was being organized ostensibly for John Mahama, two of the aspirants – Sly Mensah and Joshua Alabi – stayed away from the exercise.
Kwesi Botchwey Report
After denying what the media are putting out as excerpts from Prof Kwesi Botchwey’s 13-member committee report – which include the cancellation of the previous biometric register of the party, Mr John Mahama announced that the NDC would reopen its membership register and urged all members to go back to their branches and register.
He said after compiling the new register, the party would open nominations for the various positions.
Stan Dobge, his trusted aide, was seen again controlling affairs, much to the disappointment of some party faithful, who complained about how he (Dogbe) contributed so much to the defeat of the party as corroborated by the Kwesi Botchwey report.
Former President Mahama, under whose leadership the NDC embarrassingly lost power to the New Patriotic Party (NPP), did not openly declare his intention to contest for the position when he spoke during the unity walk. He described it as a family affair.
After his speech, he told those who were yearning for his return, “God willing we shall meet during the 2020 campaign.”
Mr Mahama said he bears no grudges against persons who have shown interest in the party’s flagbearer position.
“I have no problem with any of my colleagues who have expressed interest in leading this great party. Let us not attack anyone because whoever is elected to lead us to victory 2020, will need the support of each and everyone,” Mr Mahama posited.
He added, “Spio was my boss and later became my minister; Joshua was my colleague in parliament and later became the Vice Chancellor of UPSA; Sylvester was the NHIS boss and later a presidential staffer… It’s not now that they want to contest that I will have a problem with them. Atubiga is even my favourite presidential candidate. Let us all work in unity for victory 2020.”
About six presidential hopefuls were introduced after the walk.
They were Joshua Alabi, Sylvester Mensah, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Nii Amasa Namoale and Steven Atubiga. Alban Bagbin was conspicuously missing.
Digital Addressing System
Mr Mahama described the NPP government’s newly launched Digital Addressing System as pitiful.
According to him, the addressing system is fraudulent, and that someone must be punished for misusing state funds to procure the system.
“How can you launch a Google GPS system that is freely available on our mobile phones and say it is a national addressing system? It is such a pity. Why will you embarrass the president so much? You bring a whole president to come and launch a system that is 419?” Mahama wondered.
The former president said he had restrained himself from commenting on governance issues after losing the presidential seat to the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo because he believes that every new government needs time to settle in office.
“But it looks like the NPP is whittling away its honeymoon period with the mistakes that it is making,” he noted.
He called on President Akufo-Addo to “show that he is serious about corruption” by holding someone accountable for the launch of the $2.5 million digital addressing system which he [Mahama] believes is fraudulent.
“When we talk about accountability, this is where the president should show that he is serious about corruption. When I was in office, there was a bus branding incident – GH¢3.6m – a minister of state resigned because of GH¢3.6 million,” John Mahama recalled.
He accused the president of not being able to “take firm action in anything.”