It has been difficult for a party that has governed the country for majority of its ‘democratic life’ since 1992 following its humiliating defeat in the 2016 general elections.
The National Democratic Congress lost the 2016 general elections to the New Patriotic Party despite the ‘massive’ infrastructural works that government of the day campaigned on. While many in the party still wonder if the results of the elections would have been any different, some say the difficulties that had been created in the economy by a 3-year power crisis, were too significant to expect any more than what the party got in the general elections.
The NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo polled 5,716,609, representing 53.84% of the votes cast to secure victory over then President Mahama, who despite incumbency advantage only managed 4,713,277 votes, representing 44.40%.
As if this was not enough, the then majority in parliament (NDC) also lost out in the parliamentary elections, ceding control of the legislative arm of government to the NPP. It couldn’t have been worse – one could hear some Mis whisper to one another, but it was. It actually got so much worse. Here is a piece on the NDC’s 100 days in opposition.
It has been characterized by fights, violence, accusations and counter accusations and with little to no chance given to a 13-member committee set-up to investigate the cause of the party’s defeat to come out with possible remedies on how to save the ‘sinking’ NDC ship. Not even the clarion call by the national chairman, now leader of the party, could calm heads and bring the situation under control as scores of party members fight one another on who is to blame for the party’s defeat in last year’s polls.
As if the shameful defeat and the blame game was not enough, there have also been reported cases of irate and disappointed members locking up party offices in some of the regions as they demand from executives the cause of their historic loss.
While some blame the appointees of the former President claiming they were ‘arrogant’ and denied the grassroots their rights to equal access to party resources, others blame the President himself for turning a blind eye to the cries of “hungry” Ghanaians (NDC members included).
According to a group calling itself the NDC Action Movement, the party’s flagbearer and Ghana’s former president, John Dramani Mahama, exhibited weak leadership skills by appointing ‘incompetent’ and power drunk individuals who could not see further than a four-year mandate.
The group also blames the party’s defeat on “huge billboards”, a view that is shared by a former appointee under the Mahama administration, Ben Kumbuor. Ben Kumbuor in an interview on GH One TV listed a number of reasons for which he believes the NDC lost the general elections, among which includes the use of the ‘green book’ and ‘huge billboards’ in campaigns last year.
Kunbuor would not be the only senior member of the NDC to speak to such critical issues. Former Trade minister, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, former President Jerry John Rawlings, Former Interior Minister, Mark Woyongo all seem to have their own versions of who or what caused the party’s defeat in last year’s polls.
Another group, the Crusade for Probity and Accountability (CPA), a pro-NDC think-tank, blames the party’s electoral defeat o the leadership of the party with a call for all members of the party’s national executive body to step aside to allow for thorough investigation into the circumstances that actually led to the NDC’s electoral defeat.
Convener of the group, Dr. Kwesi Djokoto, in a statement said, “In the interest of the party, the national party leadership should offer the best Christmas gift to the party, especially its grassroot supporters, by communicating to the Council of Elders their decision to step aside en bloc at the earliest day possible.
In a bid to put a stop to the bickering, the party put together a 13-member committee, under the chairmanship of party stalwart, Prof. Kwesi Botchwey to diagnose the possible cause(s) of the party’s defeat in the last general elections.
But the work of the committee has not been easy. Members of the committee have had to deal with the rage in the hearts of many party supporters who felt neglected in the past four years. The call from most of them is simple – Early Congress!
Flagbearer and former President John Dramani Mahama has meanwhile accepted blame for the misfortunes of the party in last year’s polls. He says no member of his administration should be blamed for the party’s defeat attributing the disaster to his ‘own doing’. He is urging calm in the party even as the Botchwey committee finalises its report on the party’s performance in the 2016 elections.
The party meanwhile continues to play its watchdog role as it criticizes the NPP and it’s leader for failing to call to order members of its rampaging vigilante groups.
It remains to be seen whether the leadership of the party will bow to the pressure from supporters demanding an early congress if the party is to make a significant comeback in 2020. As the Akufo-Addo-led administration touts its 103 achievements in the last 100 days, the opposition NDC also highlights a 100 days of ‘difficulties’ and ‘challenges’ under Nana Addo’s presidency.