A friend asked me why I have not been responding to his messages about the ongoing internal politics in the NDC and my response was simple. As things stand today, for president John Mahama is the strongest candidate that the NDC can present in 2020. The other aspirants are good materials and have what it takes to lead the NDC but timing, the strength of your opponent and the mood of the masses and their desires must be considered when doing such permutations.
In politics, personal desires are one thing, and honest political calculation is another. One must look at the five broad categories that lead people to emerge as candidates in primaries of major political parties in Ghana, at least the gubernatorial and presidential elections.
These are the five basic requirements
1. Access to Finance
2. Effective Communication network
5. Efficient mobilisation agenda.
In opposition, these are the critical areas party folks need focus on. As for people coming out to contest for the slot, it is normal and makes the internal political game interesting but the ultimate target of the party which is getting political power to implement its policies should be paramount to all party folks.
What we should be asking ourselves as we embark on our internal campaigns is ” if we should put our candidate in the market place etc, will Ghanaians know who it is”? The singular reason Kufour, Akufo Addo and Mills were viable for the Presidential elections they contested was simply because Ghanaians knew them. They individually possessed an electoral asset that it was immensely difficult for new players to quickly gather: their party delegates as well as the voting public knew their names. That is why American politics can seem like a dynasty political operatives not interested in dangerous experimentation routinely look for tried and tested surnames like Bush, Clinton, Obama etc. Yea, we had few instances where unknown faces successfully get to the top. This phenomenon applies even more significantly in countries where citizens do not have access to the body of information that is usually necessary for making informed choices. When they get disappointed and disenchanted, they typically have to employ shorthand make decisions if they thInk that could take them out of the mess they find themselves. And usually the most important question can be this “Do we know who this person is”?. This is the fundamental driver behind the massive electoral margins that President Kufour, Mills and Akufo Addo racked in the country in the 2000, 2008 and 2016 elections respectively. Their faces have appeared on the ballot paper for years, they people knew what they stood for and were familiar with their message it was therefore easy for them to vote for them.
It is the reason why political parties strategically present widows or a widower of popular politicians (MP) as replacements or candidates. The people in the constituency will vote for the replacement because of the ex husband or wife’s popularity. John Mahama has become a political institution. There isn’t a single day that his name would not be mentioned on our airwaves. He is the biggest threat to the incumbent. His achievements are too visible to be ignored and the masses mentioned his name daily when assessing the performance of the current administration.
ACCESS TO FINANCE
If you think this only applies to startups and businesses looking to expand, then you haven’t been paying enough attention to the politics of Ghana in recent times. Access to finance is distinct from personal wealth. The critical mass of the people, institutions, business persons, international organizations, head of states etc are always ready to pool the resources needed to support a candidate win an election if they know he can achieve that target. They will take that bold step if they know the candidate is popular and has the urge. No serious organization or business person will invest in a campaign of a start-up or a candidate who is not known. There is chance in heaven or hell that you are able to win election in any part of this country without adequate financial resources. While hypocrisy can lead people into viewing this as essentially negative, Freddie Blay has shown us that it is has become part of our politics. Party organisation, sponsoring of weak candidates, supporting the grassroot base, drafting of manifesto etc all involve money. By the very nature of democracy, it is,inevitable that it will be expensive. And this can be said without even referring to the $1.2 billion Hilary spent on her campaign or the $1.12 billion Obama spent in 2012. I have not factored in the planning and hosting of events you will have to do repeatedly across the country, campaign buses, campaign or reorganised party offices, road shows, TV and radii shows, newspaper and online publications.
There are reasons why politics is,called the art of selling yourself and your ideas. So if there are people who think that financial resources in elections oily comes down to buying party forms, bribing delegates and distributing phones and television to delegates, they are talking about incidental costs rather than actual cost of sale. It must be made clear that without financial resources, or the ability to get those who have those resources to part with such resources, you are a non starter. Hope we all heard what Founder Rawlings said about how the NDC gathered resources for its 2004/2008 campaign and how some foreigners supported these campaigns. They did that because of Rawlings and Mills and the Party. Rawlings had just left office so was still connected to some foreign leaders and organisations. That is the advantage Mahama is bringing on board. Looking at the mess being perpetrated on Ghanaians by this clueless President, I wouldn’t be surprised if some leaders on the continent come together to support his comeback knowing his capabilities. He commands high respect globally and has become a,resource person for most major global institutions including the world bank, transparency international, the IMF, AU etc. The crave for his return could easily be seen on faces of world leaders, heads of international financial institutions etc whenever he meets them
Most of decisions come from gut, and perception- perception mostly coloured by location, experience, interest and relationship. In essence, many of these decisions are narrow and parochial. They are not well thought out, and don’t exist based on variable facts. So you read and will continue to read articles attacking John Mahama the best net.Some of the attackers have still not been able to convince their readers and listeners why delegates must ignore John Mahama and the 2020 dream.The are just fighting their parochial interest so have no time for good reasoning and perfect analysis of situation. The are not even aware that the Npp folks,including the President sees JM as the only threat to their 2020 dream so are doing everything possible to quench the JM fire. We also have some big guns who have huge influence on some supporters. Unfortunately, whether these are the brightest or not, they are part of those who determine affairs in the matter. The south -North, South South permutations, the kind of running mate needed to augment the main candidate etc are all part of the consensus process. In spite of the few internal challenges, most of these principal forces in the party support Mahama’s comeback. Some have started their personal moves to get the man elected. These powers that be have come together to support the Mahama agenda. To them, he is the best net to unify the NDC and they are doing that without alienating any group or person. Their conclusion is that having Mahama as candidate will help suppress the north south permutations and he will have the experience to run the office and run the country simply by the fact of having been there before. They have looked around and have not found nobody else who can fill that position now. Nobody else whose name a supporter can shout intimidatedly on the main road of Kejetia market and Nkrumah circle and random people will know his name. Manama is the most formidable and more formidable than the sitting President and loved across the divide. After the primaries, the Party must come together for the main task hence the need to elect a consensus builder. The delegate and party folks will ever bet their last penny on Mahama when it comes to humility, consensus building and designing of effect strategies.
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION NETWORK
In opposition, one crucial area to look at is the communication angle. The NDC needs a good communicator who have the communication wherewithal and mental toughness to counter the packed lies the President and his party have prepared for Ghanaians. The policies and programmes Mr Mahama’s team has put together is going to make things difficult for the incumbent. Communication is not just about the usual give and take on our radio and televisions, but psychological communication. The NPP in opposition hired the services of communication experts from some Eastern European countries to support their communication. Most parties including Uhuru’s party, Buhari’s parties etc all hired the Services of these experts. So far, the former president has comported himself excellently. He communication has been excellent and relates well with all party folks including his adversaries
EFFICIENT MOBILIZATION AGENDA
The last time I discussed the party’s future with the former president, this and the party’s reorganization process came top of the discussion. His interest in the party’s reorganization and how to mobilize the grassroots were his main concern. To him, the youth own the party now a phenomenon we must accept and work with. He said whoever emerges the Presidential candidate must work seriously on these two crucial issues. His outfit has designed a comprehensive programme to support the Party revamp the grassroots base. This programme and policies include how the party and the next NDC administration will handle matters concerning the youth. Among the core ideas are how to support them further their education, support the business inclined to establish viable businesses, employment including establishment of mechanised farms etc.
To achieve such powerful goals, we need a leader who has the ability capacity to organise resources. The interesting point is, the youth have taken over the Mahama agenda. They have made their stance clear. They are not ready for any experiment and cannot wait till 2024 before they kick out this wicked administration. Just after the 2016 election, we heard all kinds of allegations and agitations because of the shock the defeat brought. The people who out of pain and disappointment persistently chastised the former president and his appointees are the very people calling for his comeback and leading his comeback agenda across the country. They have done their wisdomic assessments of why we lost the elections and the strength we have going into the 2020-with Mahama in charge.
Ghanaians who voted NPP into power are seriously bleeding. I personally have watched a lot of videos especially on Facebook where some credible websites and new online media outlets have gone to the streets of Ghana including the strongholds of the ruling party to get the opinion of the,masses on the performance of the Akufo Addo government. Of course, you should know that all their responses were negative with some die-hard supporters of the President calling for his impeachment.
Many of the people interviewed by these online websites were more eager to know whether John Mahama will come back “will Mahama come back to re contest in 2020” was the common question correspondents demanded to know.
The President Nana Akufo Addo and his party are preparing for John Mahama but no one else. They see him as the main threat to their survival and know deep within that if John Mahama decides to contest the 2020 elections, Ghanaians will be liberated from corruption inferno, harsh economic conditions, nepotism, arrogance, proliferation of homosexuality etc.