General News of Sunday, 22 September 2013
Source: The New Statesman
Many ‘full-blooded’ members of the ruling National Democratic Congress are seething with rage, following a shake-up conducted by President John Dramani Mahama at the Flagstaff House which has, once again, resulted in “outsiders” taking up key positions at the Presidency.
President Mahama, the New Statesman has learnt, has indicated he is determined to change the face of the NDC and has therefore taken on board the call for ‘power-sharing’, advocated by his party Chairman Kwabena Agyei, at a time they feared they were losing the Presidential Election Petition at the Supreme Court.
What initially looked like a take-over by activists of the Peoples’ National Convention, with the appointment of Dr Sule Gariba and Dr Raymond Atuguba, as Senior Policy Advisor and Executive Secretary respectively, has now become a take-over by “Legon political scientists.”
Sources at the Presidency has hinted the paper that Dr Michael Kpessah Whytte, a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, has either replaced, or is set to replace, Dr Sule Gariba as the President's Special Policy Adviser, in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation of government projects etc.
When contacted yesterday, Murtala Mohammed, a Deputy Minister for Information and Media Relations, was not ready to either confirm or deny our information. “Who told you?” he queried our editor, adding: “Whether that is the case or not I am not in the position to know and tell you.”
This was after his colleague deputy minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, had asked our editor to call in two hours time to enable him verify from the appropriate sources. He did not pick our call when we later called at the time he had given us.
In addition to Dr Kpessah Whytte, who is said to be wielding great influence at the presidency at the moment, the latest appointment of another Legon political scientist, Dr Clement Apaak, as a Presidential Staffer, has also infuriated a lot of insiders within the NDC.
Yaw Boateng Gyan, the NDC’s National Organiser, the New Statesman has, learnt is extremely unhappy about the development.
Flagstaff House sources have told the paper President Mahama’s decision to change the face of the NDC was so radical that he had initially considered the appointment of some persons from the opposition New Patriotic Party, though he knew he was not likely to get any serious takers from the NPP and NDC leaders would not even allow him to stretch his hand that far.
This development has infuriated many in the party, especially failed parliamentary candidates and former Ministers appointed by President Mills. However, they are afraid of making their concerns known for fear of ‘expulsion or marginalisation.’ But these aggrieved party activists have vowed to ‘punish’ John Mahama in 2016.
Many of those who have vowed to punish President Mahama are major backers of the high-powered and highly secretive faction that has been formed in the NDC with a one item agenda: Stop John Mahama For 2016.
As reported by the New Statesman early this week, the group met over the weekend at a secret place somewhere in ‘Greater’ Legon, Accra, where they discussed "a draft strategy."
The timing of the meeting was prompted by ongoing moves within the National Executive Committee of the NDC to stop any attempt by any of the factions to sponsor a candidate to challenge the President for 2016.
To Legon group, "it would be unfair for the Fantes to be denied a second term and for the Vice President, a Gonja, to enjoy three terms at the presidency."
The first part of the strategy paper by the Legon group, which, we learnt, was prepared by a former national security high ranking personnel "is to encourage the President to be discouraged about his chances in 2016. “Already, he is not too keen on 2016; we need to fuel that sense of low enthusiasm," according to notes leaked to this paper from the weekend meeting.
The President's confidence has been hit by the election petition, which exposed how badly ran the 2012 presidential election was, and the ever-increasing challenges he is facing in running the economy and, at the same time, keeping his party people happy.
The group warns, "We risk facing the kind of unstoppable voter mood we faced in 2000 if things don't improve with the economy. When the electorate turns against you that way, nothing can save you. Has the President got what it takes to stop this growing anti-NDC tide?"
The Legon group reckons that the NDC "risks losing the all-important youth vote. The President can no longer rely on the ‘youthful factor’. The youth need results not platitudes or voting day parcels of goodies. We need to deliver on jobs or sink with the President in 2016 against the full force of a hungry, angry, meaner and wiser NPP."
There is a strong Ga and Fante presence among this Stop John 2016 faction that met at suburban Legon.
The Gas feel "very unappreciated and unrewarded. And, are waiting to punish us in 2016," the meeting was told.
Also, the Fantes in the NDC feel much short-changed after death cut short President John Mills' term in July of last year. They believe John Mahama must give way to another Fante.
While Kwesi Amissah-Arthur's vice presidential position was meant to compensate the Fantes, there is already a sort of 'silent understanding' that he will not be repeated as President John Mahama's running mate in 2016. This is not going down well.
Not even talk of the Foreign Minister, Hannah Tetteh, replacing him as running mate seems enough to dampen the enthusiasm to stop John Mahama in 2016.
Even though the group appears to prefer a Fante candidate for 2016, it enjoys patronage from very powerful politicians from the North, who also calculate that to allow President John Mahama to run for another term in 2016 is to effectively kill the chances of another candidate from the North for the foreseeable future.