Sammi Wiafe asks: JM2020; Redemption or Mission Impossible?

Wed, 6 Mar 2019 Source: Sammi Wiafe

On Saturday, February 23, 2019, over 200,000 delegates of the NDC went to the polls to elect John Dramani Mahama as the party’s flagbearer for the 2020 election.

With an overwhelming victory of 95 percent of the total votes cast, it was clear John Mahama will be the face on the ballot again. This is the third time he will be leading the party into a national election.

In 2012, when President Mills died (May his soul rest in peace) John Mahama was overwhelmingly endorsed as the party’s candidate and subsequently won the 2012 election.

In 2016, as a sitting President, he was again endorsed by party delegates to lead the NDC into the 2016 election with another 95 percent of total votes cast.

On a lighter note, it appears Mr Mahama has some expertise in attaining 95 percent of total votes cast in internal elections.

From the look of things, it is likely to be another Mahama versus Akufo-Addo thriller in 2020.

The third time these men will be locking horns in their quest to lead Ghana; first in 2012, second in 2016 and the third in 2020.

But what will be different from the JM we knew in 2012 and 2016? Well, in his campaign to the lead the NDC he admitted failure on his part in monitoring logistics which were expected to go down to the grassroots of the party but ended up in private pockets.

I’m sure John Mahama had taken lessons from the Kwesi Botchwey Committee Report which says a lot of logistics were not given to the grassroots as was supposed to be. The Botchwey committee was set up to probe circumstances that led to the defeat of the NDC. Its report has since been kept away from the public under lock and key. Some party stalwarts have even complained they have no idea what the report contains.

John Mahama also while travelling around the country appealing to his party’s delegates for votes, promised to close the wide gap that existed between the party and the government when he was in power.

The party’s Director of Election, Bede Ziedeng in an interview with Umaru Sanda Amadu on the Point Blank on Eyewitness News after the flagbearship election, admitted that the party and government were complacent in the lead up to the 2016 election.

The New JM

Many people have asked what new John Mahama is bringing after he has been President for four years. Former Communications Minister, Dr. Edward OmaneBoamah and his one-time spokesperson in a recent interview with Bernard Avle on Citi TV’s Point of View program, addressing the above question said John Mahama will bring back credibility to the Presidency. Dr Omane Boamah argues the presidency under the current regime is suffering credibility issues. According to him, the poor performance of the NPP gives JM the strong edge to come back to complete his unfinished business.

In 2020, are we going to hear John Mahama say he is a dead goat and will not fear knife?

John Mahama has publicly said that if given the chance again he will end the double-track system, but will parents whose kids hitherto never had the chance to enjoy secondary education agree and vote for him?

John Mahama has indicated that he will bring back decency into the country’s politics.

But will Ghanaians easily forget John Mahama? The man they claim made them sleep in darkness (dumsor) for three years, the man they considered incompetent and voted against.

How will John Mahama recover from the defeat he suffered in eight Regions in the 2016 election?

How will John Mahama recover from the 44 percent he suffered in the hands of Nana Akufo-Addo?

What will be John Mahama’s message in 2020? Mind you, his messages in 2012 and 2016 were crafted while he was in government. Now, he is an opposition leader, should we expect big promises like ‘’One-man-one-car’’, ‘’One-man-one-house’’ and so on?

In Mahama’s tour of the Western Region before the primaries, he told the chiefs and elders that the NDC were better developers than NPP. He mentioned that the plan to create a new Region out of the Western Region was an NDC promise. The claim about being better developers may be too early to make now as a lot will depend on how the Akufo-Addo government works in the next two years or so.

Should NPP be worried about JM’s come back

I have heard the NPP say that the election of John Mahama is a good sign for the party and Nana Akufo-Addo. Well, it may be because they inflicted a major political wound on him. But the NPP should never and ever be complacent going into the 2020 election. They should never think fulfilling a number of campaign promises is a guarantee to victory in 2020. I have travelled extensively across the country and l saw the footprints of Mr Mahama in terms of infrastructure. John Mahama in 2020 will campaign on his achievements as president. He will base his argument on a slogan of ‘come back’ to finish what he started, but will Ghanaians allow him to, when the NPP will paint the same gloomy picture of him as they did in 2016? For many, the mention of Mahama’s name brings back images of “incompetence’’, “dumsor’’, “corruption,’’ etc.

The NPP has a lot to do in order to defeat Mahama in 2020. The party needs to put in more effort like it did in 2016.

Being in government comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Though incumbency may work to the party’s advantage, the NPP must work hard to deserve a second term. All hands must be on deck.

Quite a number of people who voted for the NPP in 2016 may in one way or the other feel a bit disappointed and may not vote for the party in 2020. The collective efforts put in place in 2016 must be repeated to secure victory.

John Mahama will be coming into 2020 with full force most likely as a wounded lion. He has learnt his mistakes hopefully, and surely will not repeat the same lapses he did years ago.

For the NDC, they see John Mahama as their best bet to recapture political power in 2020.

They see him as a colossus of history and a gentleman. And among the seven aspirants who contested in the party’s primaries, the party saw him as the only one able to upstage Nana Akufo-Addo.

Surely, the ‘borbolibobo’ man and his party have more work to do to unseat Akufo-Addo.

He must purge himself of all the negative tags inflicted on him in 2016 and present himself as a clean man. Well, that will depend on the good people and whether they will accept the new John Dramani Mahama and vote for him. As they say, time will tell!

The author is a broadcast journalist with Citi FM and Citi TV.

Columnist: Sammi Wiafe
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