Fear Grips NDC Committee
Dr. Kwesi Botchwey
It has emerged that some disgruntled foot soldiers of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are putting fear in members of the 13-member committee the then ruling party tasked to investigate the circumstances leading to its overwhelming defeat in the December 2016 general elections.
The committee, chaired by Dr Kwesi Botchwey, is said to be having a tough time in some of the constituencies they have visited to investigate the party’s defeat, due to the continuous threats and other verbal abuse members have been receiving from some party activists.
There is credible information that some NDC members are planning to beat them up, particularly in the Northern Region, when the committee goes there for its assignment.
The committee has reportedly been sending clandestine notices to the party’s executives at the local level, informing them about its intended visits for meetings due to fear that angry foot soldiers might ambush the members at such meetings.
As a result, some former Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) who are supposed to be part of the meetings, are reportedly wondering why such important confabs should be announced almost at midnight and expect participants to attend the next day.
“We are wondering why such an important meeting was announced close to midnight for people to attend today. The committee can do far better than it’s currently doing!” an aggrieved former DCE in the Volta Region said, adding, “They are afraid party members will beat them.”
There are claims that NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia aka General Mosquito, who was instrumental in the formation of the committee, could be using that process to prepare the grounds to contest as the party’s national chairman.
According to one of the committee members, who did not want to be named, General Mosquito did not ‘consult’ some of the members before their names were mentioned as being part of the committee and said he even heard his name on radio.
The said member was not happy to learn that the committee’s formation was engineered by Mr Asiedu Nketia and a few other national officers just to ‘calm’ the angry party supporters for fear that the foot soldiers, particularly the youth, might storm the NDC headquarters to close the office down.
The member cited a nasty scene at the Ledzokuku Constituency in Accra where he said they were lucky to leave the meeting venue, saying, “The young men wanted to cause trouble there, so quickly we left when we heard they were organising themselves to come.”
He cast doubts on the committee’s ability to do a thorough work if the attacks persisted, asserting that it would be difficult for the NDC Election Review Committee to do comprehensive job because there were no broad consultations to solicit views from party members, especially former appointees and MPs who lost their seats.
He said “for instance, the founder didn’t meet us because we didn’t plan to meet all council of elders, and the founder asked that we meet some other time.
“The youth are not happy with us; MPs don’t know our programmes; candidates who lost are not even aware of our visit to their constituencies; no funds to go round and other challenges which are difficult to handle,” the member lamented.
Already, some NDC members have criticized the setting up of the committee, saying everybody knows the reasons why the party shamefully lost the December elections.
Notable among them, he stressed, was their Central Regional Chairman, Bernard Allotey Jacobs, who described the formation of the committee as unnecessary because he said the reasons for the party’s defeat are know by all.
On February 7, the party announced that the 13-member committee had begun its work and called on the rank and file “to take note and must be ready to submit their evidence that would help the committee to come out with the right report.”
Addressing the media, Dr Botchwey, a former Minister of Finance and Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) under the NDC regime, said the committee was ready to engage party members in all the 10 regions.
He charged, “Members of the party are to note that each region has been zoned and each zone is made up of one or more constituencies, depending on size and distance.”
During the inauguration of the committee in January, the NDC General Secretary had said, “The committee is expected to review and validate the results of the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections and find out the causes of the poor performance of the NDC in both the presidential and the parliamentary elections, as well as to deal with other matters reasonably related to the above objectives and to make recommendations to the National Executive Committee about the way forward.”
Apart from Dr Botchwey, other members of the committee are Edward Doe Adjaho, immediate-past speaker of parliament; Alhaji Hudu Yahaya; Naval Capt. Asase Gyimah; Dr. William Ahadzi, director of research at the NDC headquarters; Ibrahim Zuberu, lecturer at Accra Technical University; Razak Abu, researcher; Juliana Azumah Mensah, former MP for Agotime-Ziope; Barbara Serwah Asamoah, former Deputy Minister for Lands and Forestry; Alban Bagbin, former majority leader as well as three members from the current parliament.
The NDC and its candidate John Dramani Mahama who was seeking a second term as president, had a rude shock when they were flatly rejected by Ghanaians at the polls on December 7, last year, and rather gave the mandate to the opposition candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) to govern Ghana.
Nana Akufo-Addo polled 5,716,609 votes, representing 53.84 per cent, to snatch the presidency from incumbent Mr. Mahama, who secured 4,713,277 votes, representing 44.40 per cent.
Apart from President Akufo-Addo’s historic achievement, the NPP also secured majority in parliament, clinching 169 seats as against the NDC’s 106 seats.