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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Columnist: alhajjnewspaper.com

We told you so!; over to you Kwesi Botchwey committee

The ongoing turmoil in the National Democratic Congress threatening its survival three months after exiting power does not come as surprise to us at The aL-hAJJ. Indeed, this paper has over the last two and half years been warning the party risk imploding even before it lost the elections.

While many would have thought these series of admonitions would have served as a guide for the NDC, it rather incurred the wrath of some of its ardent supporters and leading members of the party, particularly appointees of the Mahama administration who, persistently maligned managers of the paper, accusing the paper of seeking to rundown the Mahama administration.

As ‘punishment’ for our consistent highlighting of the simmering troubles in the then governing party, The aL-hAJJ was blacklisted among the pro-NDC newspapers. In fact, at a appoint appointees of the Mahama government and kingpins of the NDC ‘swore’ never to have anything to do with the paper.

If the NDC had paid heed to the many analytical publications by The aL-hAJJ and took steps to address them, the party may perhaps not suffer the excruciating defeat in the 2016 elections, and prevent the current infighting. The Prof Kwesi Botchwey committee should not look far in ascertaining the cause of the NDC’s defeat and the ongoing wrangling in the party. This paper foretold it and it is now playing out some of them.

“…How did President John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress lose the December 7 polls? Did the New Patriotic Party put up superior strategy to outweigh the much-touted unprecedented achievements of the outgoing ruling party? Could it also be that the NDC willingly gave away power even if unknowingly?

These are among critical questions many Ghanaians, particularly supporters, sympathizers and activists of the NDC mesmerized by the party’s humiliating defeat at the polls are struggling to find answers to.

To the NDC, the party had at its disposal everything to win the elections, but, was it for “recklessness”?

A 13 member committee led by former Minister of Finance and Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, Prof Kwesi Botchway, has since been constituted to investigate the NDC’s defeat.

The committee has been given a 90-day ultimatum to present findings from the investigations.

The team however has the mandate to consult with members of the public who may have suggestions regarding the possible causes of the defeat.

The inauguration of this committee is probably testament to the fact that Ghanaians have become so used to the idea that incumbent Presidents seeking second term in office should win elections automatically.

And anything short of this must be thoroughly investigated.

The defeat of President John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress at the December 7 polls has therefore come as a surprise to many.

What was even shocking was the scale of defeat out-going President Mahama and the NDC suffered at the hands of Nana Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party.

Whiles the NDC’s painful exit from office has come as surprise to many, others who saw it coming aren’t any surprise.

One of such persons is former President Jerry John Rawlings. According to him “It was obvious a long time ago that we wouldn’t make it.

Our general negativity, impunity, disrespect and corruption was taking us further and further downhill.

About the time when most were living in the painful reality with stress and anger, that’s when some of us chose to be more impervious to reality. We had lost so much goodwill,”he added.

Addressing a ceremony to mark the 35th anniversary of the 31st December revolution at the Revolution Square in Accra, the NDC founder added that “I don’t think I was the only one who saw the writing on the wall.

Many people from our very own party I believe could see the writing on the wall that we were going to lose this past election.

Meanwhile, following the NDC’s excruciating defeat by the Akufo Addo led NPP; the party has been locked in heated blame game over who and what caused it.

Several post-election analyses point to varieties of factors including apathy, allegations of corruption, complacency and ineffectiveness on the part of some government appointees; even as the actual cause(s) remain unknown.

While the National Organizer and Campaign Coordinator, Mr Kofi Adams has accepted full responsibility for the party’s poor performance; Greater Accra organizer of the ruling party, Mr. Anthony Nukpenu has put the blame on former President and NDC Founder, Jerry John Rawlings.

But the NDC founder has rubbished that claim, saying “in spite of the defeat some handlers want to promote a lie about the reason for our failure.”

According to former President Rawlings “…Rather than facing why we lost, Rawlings was made a scape goat,” he stated and blamed the “impunity, disrespect, and corruption” by government officials for the defeat.

He said the uncouth ones did not even have “cognitive intelligence” to recognize the nurtured ones in the party.

Again, while some have also singled out Communications Minister, Dr. Edward Kofi Omani Boamah as the cause of the party’s defeat; other party activists are pointing to appointees they tagged arrogant.

Alhaji Bature Iddrisu and Amos Blessing Amorse take readers down memory trip to find out whether the “supposed” cause(s) of the defeat of the NDC and President Mahama in the just concluded elections were not earlier predicted?

Since the inception of the Mahama/NDC government The aL-hAJJ has consistently and persistently been raising the alarm bells of a possible defeat at the 2016 polls.

Though it was long expected he will be the automatic successor to the late President Mills after his term in office, President Mahama’s meteoric rise to the highest office of the land came as surprise to many.

Indeed, nobody foresaw John Mahama becoming president on the night of July 24, 2012. This follows the sudden demise of the then president John Evans Atta Mills.

Having been satisfied “acting” President Mahama was well groomed and grounded to lead the NDC, kingmakers of the party immediately pushed for him(Mr Mahama) to be acclaimed the party’s flag bearer for the 2012 elections.

And with their support and that of the rank and file, Mr. Mahama easily secured first round victory over Nana Akufo-Addo in that year’s election.

When Mr Mahama won the 2012 election, it was clear that he needed his “own” men to help him prosecute his vision.

But he had the rude shock of his life when party kingpins openly kicked against some of his appointments particularly, the appointment of his boyhood friend, Mr Prosper Douglas Bani, as Chief of Staff.

Mr Bani’s appointment and Mr Mahama’s uncompromising position resulted in strain in relationship between him and some party elders who earlier supported his selection and eventual election as president in 2012

Some kingpins of the party then started to murmur over how Mr Mahama had sidelined experienced hands in the NDC who have been the backbone of the umbrella party since its inception in 1992.

According to many of these people, the President failed to tap into the large pool of human resource available in the party, but decided to gamble by relying on relatively younger appointees some who hitherto; were not known in the NDC.

Subsequent developments flowing from Mr Mahama’s decision to stick to his position ended sore for the President and the NDC in general.

For us at the The aL-hAJJ, President Mahama and the NDC’s defeat did not come as a surprise.

Although we did not wish for this aching calamity to befall the genteel President and the NDC, it is important to underscore how we consistently and doggedly attempted to avert the situation the ruling party presently finds itself but to no avail.

Several publications by this paper cautioning that, the actions and inactions of some NDC MPs, Ministers, Chief Executives and party leadership are likely to cause the party’s exit from office regardless of President Mahama’s unmatched achievements in the provision of infrastructure abound.

Readers of The aL-hAJJ would have noticed that few months to the December 7 election, the paper decided to suspend its usual twice a week publication and instead begun to occasionally; publish in-depth research works and factors likely to determine the outcome of the 2016 election.

In all, six well researched publications were put out between August and December 6; highlighting the things that could possible send the NDC into opposition in spite of its impressive performance in government.

The first “special edition”, published on August 23, 2016 was titled “Can JM Survive…The Journey So far”.

This particular publication traced the political journey of President Mahama and highlighted how he rose from an Assembly man to become legislator, Minister, vice President and later President.

The publication also took stock of the “trials and tribulations” President Mahama has been through, particularly; in his early days as Head of State.

We appraised the economic challenges; cedi depreciation, dumsor, unemployment, hardship and other nail-biting challenges, and how President Mahama weathered the storm.

To cap it, the publication looked at deficiencies likely to hurt the Mahama administration at the December polls.

Among them included appointees’ arrogance, complacency, apathy, neglect of grassroots, corruption perception, unpardonable gaffes and other disturbing developments”, The aL-hAJJ.