A leading member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has offered a fascinating assessment of the 2016 general elections, blaming the party’s poor performance at the polls on indignant supporters.
Naval Captain (Retired) Baafour Assassie-Gyimah suggests that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) did not win the elections based on the popular appeal of then opposition party’s campaign messages, but due to NDC’s internal challenges.
“We gave the victory to the NPP. This election NPP did not win, but we lost...because many of our people didn’t vote,” he said on current affairs programme Upfront which aired Wednesday on the Joy News channel on Multi TV.
Capt (Retd) Assassie-Gyimah was part of the 13-member committee that recently completed the task of finding out why the then incumbent NDC performed abysmally in both the presidential and the parliamentary elections.
Capt (retd) Baafour Assassie-Gyimah
Former President John Mahama, then flag bearer of the NDC, lost by more than 9% of total votes to the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo.
Akufo-Addo obtained a staggering 5,716,609 of total votes cast in the 2016 elections, representing 53.84%, to snatch the Presidency from John Mahama, who secured 4,713,277 votes (44.40%).
The NDC also lost more than 40 parliamentary seats to the NPP.
NDC’s performance at last year’s polls is its worst since 1992.
Speaking on Upfront, Capt. (Retd) Assassie-Gyimah told host, Raymond Acquah, that the committee found that prior to the elections, many members of the NDC harboured unresolved grievances that caused their refusal to cast their ballot.
“It is just because people [NDC supporters] thought differently about other people,” he said.
“We have analysed the results constituency by constituency and if we are together, as I pray we come together, 2020 will be very interesting,” he predicts.
Jerry John Rawlings factor
There have been calls for the Founder of the party, former President Jerry John Rawlings, to head efforts to reconcile the party that he criticised fiercely during the John Mahama Presidency.
Former President Rawlings has accused the John Mahama administration of neglecting the founding principles of the party – probity and accountability.
Jerry John Rawlings
Asked if he shared in the call for the former President to take back party and lead the reconciliation process, Capt (retd) Assassie-Gyimah said Mr Rawlings will play a lead role, but he cannot be made to bypass party structures and constitution.
“Jerry Rawlings is not the Chairman of the party, he is not the General Secretary of the party. He is the founder of the Party,” he answered.
He adds: “Probity and accountability are not enshrined in any one person. He [Rawlings] plays a very good role, but the Founder is not everything.”
The retired naval captain is confident the NDC will put its house in order to face the NPP in the next elections.