As my dear party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), currently make frantic efforts to re-organize for the 2020 elections, one question remains a dilemma in the minds of many, especially members of the NDC fraternity; who leads the party into the 2020 elections?
Should JM run again or the NDC fraternity should find and present a new suitor in 2020? He who knows it, feels it better. As an active grassroot member of the party who actively participated in the 2016 electioneering and previous elections, I took a sober reflection on the above questions and have the following points to share with my fellow Akatamansonians:
1. Ex-president Mahama, a toastmaster, will be remembered as the first one-term president since the birth of the fourth republic after meeting his waterloo in the 2016 general election. As the political head of the NDC, his actions and inactions to a greater extent determined the political fate and the way the NDC went. Unfortunately, he deliberately led the party to an alarming defeat leaving the party in a state of political somnambulism, shock and grief. With a neglected grassroot under his “able” watch, the party unprecedentedly lost many parliamentary seats in most unexpected constituencies.
2. There are calls for his comeback perhaps to redeem his image for his woeful defeat or entrench the financial gains of a select few, but the question is, will that serve the best interest of the NDC going into the future especially when he will be allowed only one term per the provisions of the 1992 constitution? Will that serve the best interest of the NDC especially when his comeback does not necessarily guarantee an automatic win for the NDC in 2020? Will that serve the best interest of the NDC especially when his 2020 candidature will take away his constitutionally guaranteed immunity from trial? Our people say that he who falls once because his walking stick was too short, soon learns how to hold a longer walking stick. Has the NDC learnt any lessons from the negative impact of the 8 months that the JM government faced in court following the first ever elections petition trial? Have those calling for his comeback taken a deep thought about the long run effect of a possible second defeat of a JM candidature in 2020? Will the NDC present JM again in 2024 if he loses 2020 again?
3. Will corruption be one of the headline messages heading into the 2020 elections especially when the current government is bottle necked with corruption scandals within two years in office? With all intents and purposes, John Mahama leading the NDC as the standard bearer will lack the morality to criticize the NPP of corrupt practices particularly when there were publicly widespread corruption allegations in his administration, which among other things led to the unprecedented defeat of the NDC in 2016. Bringing John Mahama against Nana Addo will be like asking the electorate to choose between a pot and a kettle. Just maybe, the NPP will be more excited if John Dramani Mahama should contest because they still have the opportunity to repair their damaged image. What will John Mahama also do?
4. As a former president, H.E John Dramani Mahama has become a statesman and is accorded constitutionally enshrined courtesies and privileges. Despite his heavy lost, he is also well received internationally into the circle of former presidents. As such, he is expected to live above petty partisanship. His character as a statesman is measured by the extent to which he manages national and international issues. And so, he should not be exposed to political hazards that will in anyway undermine the character of statesmanship. He is entitled to the privileges of the office of ex-president, one of which is, immunity from litigation for six years after leaving office. Should he stand as a flagbearer won’t that open the floodgates of lawsuits which has the potency of denting his image as a statesman? Won’t that deflect the main campaign message and give the NDC community more to defend than to project in the 2020 election which promises to be a crucial one? Won’t that affect the common good and political aspirations of the party as a formidable front for election 2020?
5. Is it politically prudent to market a candidate who, unless otherwise proven, has one term to serve as president after exhausting one previous term? The NDC should examine from within and elect a candidate with credible and distinguished character to lead the party in the 2020 general elections. Electing new candidate other than Mahama will provide the Ghanaian electorate a credible alternative in the general elections come 2020.
6. John Mahama is very popular, that is true and he’s implemented a number of development projects, which is also true. But in the midst of these projects and popularity he lost, that is also very true. After the death of Prof. Mills, it took John and the NDC six months to win the 2012 elections and used four years to lose the 2016 general elections. Is it not more of politics of convenience than politics of tact and strategy for the NDC to bring John Mahama again in 2020 with the simple reason that he is the most marketed and most popular person the party can boast of? Did the NDC lose the 2016 election because the candidate was not popular? Did the popularity of JM alone win the 2016 election for the NDC?
In conclusion, it would be more politically wise and strategic for the NDC to present a new candidate for the 2020 election.
Such a person should be liked by majority of Ghanaians, not just by NDC members. He should be knowledgeable, competent and vast experienced.
He should wield a high pedigree of integrity, one that the NPP cannot compare its candidate to. And he should be bold, courageous and serious enough to win the trust of Ghanaians. There are many of such people within the NDC only waiting to be discovered and utilized.
By: Fauzia Adams Yakubu
Former Women Commissioner, TEIN-UDS
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