JM 2020 or not - The big elephant in the room

John Mahama Sad2 Former President John Mahama

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 Source: Daniel Osei

Our great NDC party, founded on the principles of probity and accountability, is rooted in the Social Democratic political ideology. This ideology emphasizes the importance of governments respond to the most vulnerable in society.

We are the voice of the voiceless. Some call us progressives because our ideology appreciates the nuances of human life as we know it; and the difficulties associated with keeping things real.

We strive to bring opportunity and equity to the calculus of life. We are not ashamed to be called populist or progressive. We embrace it. Because we know life can sometimes be unfair, and government must protect those amongst us who face challenges that can deny them basic fairness. So we work to protect the least amongst us as Christ came to save and serve the least amongst humanity. Indeed, we are the people's party. The last election was a verdict on how well (or not) we lived up to those core values.

As a party, we exist to win power and we are currently being tested. There are two "elephants in the room. 1) A local one of unity amongst the different factions and the Party one of "JM for 2020 or Not."

I've been monitoring events locally and I am pleased with recent developments. I've had the pleasure of discussing matters with different chairpersons and I am very confident things will improve as they must. We've been told united we stand, divided we fall. The fierce urgency for victory demands we unite now and immediately. The battle ahead demands it and I encourage our local leaders to stay on the track of unification. Yes, we can and must unite. The bigger elephant of JMs return requires thinking, patience yet urgency!

Maya Angelou said and I quote "when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." We've all experienced Mahama through different lenses and must answer the question of his return as flag bearer through those lenses.

It is not enough to be for or against JM or any particular person. For those who want the return of JM; it is important for their voices to be heard and their reasons discussed and analysed for substance. Equally, for those who don't want him; there must be good reasons and those reasons must be put through serious thinking and analysis to help digest it for substance. The idea is for us all to strengthen our debate to help make the best decision for the party. There is a saying that 'die3 w) twa kwan, nim s3 na kyi akyea' I don't believe either side is totally wrong or totally right but an honest discussion will help us reach a good consensus. There must be a civil and intelligent analysis to help us make the right decision.

This is not to suggest I don't have a position on the matter. I do. But my position should be informed by substantive factors void of emotional and speculative thinking. More than anything, my position should be one that helps the party move forward and position us for victory in 2020.

The truth is that this issue of Mahama's return is currently the MOST DIVISIVE factor in NDC politics. The KB report, apology tour, appointees and all the other factors combined don't come close to how divisive JMs return is. That it's a 'divisive factor' should be discussed as well. Is the party better off having this singular item hold us to ransom? and the merits of it. I have seen people give '1000%' approval to JMs return and others proclaim we will win 'hands down with JM.' There is also the big 'Noooooo' with several ooos for emphasis. They make for good reading and it's absolutely within individuals rights but it's more productive to discuss indisputable reasons why we will win 'hands down' and convince others. The "1000%" endorsement etc should emphasize specifics because, on its own, it only deepens the divide.

Our party is in a very terrible place and we need to up the discussions to reflect an end or goal of success. We urgently need to put on our thinking caps.

We can't keep doing the same things and expect different results. It is unpardonable that a party in power will sit and allow the opposition to feed us election results and it was possible because the party seemingly strong was rather very weak with clueless persons given important responsibilities.

Many people don't know that this Anokye guy credited with the superb IT infrastructure of the NPP during the elections first approached us. We treated his attempts with disdain as if power was a birthright and belonged to us. We are currently divided in two camps 1) JM is our only hope 2) the never JM again Camp

Sadly, neither of these camps is helping us in terms of steps to improve our votes. The JM at all cost camp can't see beyond JM. They are not even willing to entertain any suggestion that JM did or said anything wrong. When they can't justify a mistake, they simply blame JMs handlers and appointees. Their posture suggests JM was brainless and all that went wrong was because of his appointees and handlers. They suggest he said things because his handlers asked him to say it and people did not vote because his appointees annoyed the grassroots. Really?

I don't blame the "JM by force" group. At the base level, it's very understandable. JM is a very calm mannered and pleasant person. It's easy to love him. At the appointees level, you can't blame them because many had their major life changing experience as appointees of JM and did well for themselves and their families. It's normal and their loyalty can be respected.

The never JM camp are mostly peeved for one reason or another and believe absolutely JM is the easiest candidate for the NPP to beat, after all the NPP defeated him as a sitting president.

I am particularly shocked by those executives who "pretend" as if we run a winning campaign and lost. Maybe they just don't know any better. We did not run a winning campaign. Opulence and money was not enough and in many instances very harmful to our cause. In the 2016 campaign we were grossly out campaigned by the opposition on all fronts. Our messaging was off in many areas. Our organising did not exist and certainly our GOTV was very poor. Almost absent. The over reliance on "the president has won already" made us bankrupt of thinking. It's time to put on our thinking caps. It's time for a paradigm shift.

What we need to focus on is the fact that JM was possible because NDC was strong. Our love, admiration and purpose should be channeled more to the party than a personality. JM could never have succeeded as an independent candidate and so whatever JM represent to us was possible because of a strong NDC party. Our party is in need of a strong center. A weak party will deliver weak results even if JM is our candidate. We saw this in 2016. A strong party can field a strong candidate in a spirited contest so that even if JM emerged as that candidate, he will be better for it.

Political organizing is a science and there is direct correlation between work and results. Like many people, I too have been paralyzed by the painful defeat. It was very painful because I saw the defeat coming but was helpless.

The NDC needs to think strategically. Again, in the words of Maya Angelou "..when someone shows you who they are, believe them"

Columnist: Daniel Osei