Politics

Benjamin Kumbuor calls for early congress in NDC

Dr Benjamin Kumbuor, former Defence Minister under the Mahama administration, has called for early congress in the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He argued that early congress is in the interest of the party because it will afford it more time to prepare and galvanise the party’s support base for the 2020 elections.

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“A party that has suffered this level of defeat with so much internal acrimony and internal pain still in the mind, if we could not take eight years to galvanise that into an electoral victory, I don’t see how we can do that within one year or one-and-a-half years”, the former Member of Parliament for Lawra/Nandom said on Class FM.

Dr Kumbuor is leading a faction of the NDC calling for early congress to elect new executives to steer the affairs of the party.

But others, including the National Organiser, Kofi Adams, believe such calls are premature especially when the fact finding professor Kwesi Botchwey Committee is yet to finalise its work.

“Given all the preparations that are involved, it will mean that by the time you are getting to elect your flag bearer, you will be in 2019,” Dr Kumbuor said.

Touching on the 2016 elections, the former Defence Minister said his analysis showed the party was going to lose the election, saying “I was a bit frightened about the parallels and similarities of 1999 and 2000 which eventually led to our electoral defeat at that time. So there was cause for worry at that time.”

His said the increasing unemployment situation in Ghana contributed greatly to the party’s defeat.

According to him, the Mahama administration had gone into an IMF package which the consequences were of very high level austerity.

“The external environment, you don’t always control it. Externally, we had gone into an IMF package which the consequences were of very high level austerity. The austerity hit directly at our constituency,” he maintained, adding, “There is no way that with the global unemployment, particularly youth unemployment you have in this country, that will not become an election issue.”

“In the peculiar case of Ghana, I saw the percentages of graduate unemployment reach an astronomical level to the extent that an association of unemployed graduates had to be formed to articulate these concerns… and that clearly mirrors what exactly was going on in the country. There were many more but they all fed into the package.”

“There is no way you can run austerity in this part of the world of an emerging economy in which hardship cannot be wished away. And because you are incumbent, it becomes difficult. You can’t say as we take this major step, this is going to be the outcome. It becomes easier for your opponent. They simply look at it and because they have no responsibility at the time, they make a very clear statement so there is no attempt at rationalising the state of the economy. They were in a relative comfort zone.”

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