At least five aspirants for 2020 National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer have been meeting to consider plans to ensure the party's presidential candidate is not the frontrunner, former President John Mahama.
“We have been meeting” Sylvester Mensah, who is one of the aspirants, confirmed this in an interview on Joy News’ late evening analysis show PM Express Thursday.
He would not name the other four but said they have a common understanding that the party needs to change a different president candidate for the 2020 general elections.
Joy News understands, former Trade minister under the Mahama administration, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and former Deputy Finance Minister and MP for Cape Coast South, Kweku Ricketts Hagan are part of the group of five.
The former president John Mahama is running against several of his former appointees in a 10-man race which still promises more additions before the December 2018 delegates congress to choose a leader.
Pollster and Managing Editor of the Daily Dispatch Newspaper, Ben Ephson has advised the many flagbearer aspirants seeking to lead the NDC in the 2020 elections, to merge against former president John Mahama.
This, in his view, is the only way they can minimise the margin of what he describes as an obvious win for Mr Mahama.
“I think if they consolidate, like four or five come together and say ‘we are backing one person against Mahama’ it will be an interesting race.
Sylvester Mensah who served under Mahama as NHIS CEO said the five aspirants have held several meeting based on a management concept called ‘coorpetition.
It “simply means, cooperating with your competitors. It gets to a point when you realize that competitors have a common vision in this instance… aspirants who believe in change”, he told Evans Mensah.
He said Mahama is not part of the meetings because “he does not believe in change”.
After touring several constituencies, the former Mahama appointee insisted “the mood of the party is for change” and are ready to go for “new anxiety” of an untested leader.
“Why can’t all candidates who believe in change decide to meet and have some discussion on the change that this party requires?
Mr Mahama is Ghana’s first one-term president in the 4th Republic and also delivered the NDC its biggest defeat yet when he lost by almost one million votes in the 2016 general elections.
But he is believed to retain the support of the party’s MPs and a large chunk of his former appointees.
Photo: John Mahama and a section of his appointees
Mr. Sylvester Mensah however believes, John Mahama does not have the support of the grassroots who want change.
While expressing a belief in second chances which every presidential candidate in both the NDC and NPP has had since 1992, Sylvester Mensah noted Mahama is a ‘completely different scenario’.
He explained no sitting President has ever lost an election in Ghana as John Mahama suffered in 2016.
“You have a sitting president who won an election...contested an election from a position of strength in control of all resources of this country, in control of the state apparatus...I mean real command”.
“If you lose an election from a position of strength, you don’t come back from a position of weakness”, the former Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Scheme said.
The 2020 race for NDC flagbearer has thrown up the highest-ever expression of interest.
They include veteran politician and MP for Nadowli-Kaleo, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, former university professor; Joshua Alabi, former Trade Minister; Ekwow Spio-Garbrah.
Former CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA); Sylvester Mensah; former President John Mahama, former Deputy Finance Minister and MP for Cape Coast South, Kweku Ricketts Hagan,
NDC returnee Goosie Tanoh, businessman, Nurudeen Iddrisu, Legal practitioner, Elikplim Agbemava and self-styled electrician, Stephen Atubiga. There are two political neophytes also joining the race – Nurudeen Iddrisu and Elikplim Lorlormavor Agbemava.
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