Weak research base cause of NDC’s defeat – Kwesi Botchway committee report

The much awaited report by the Kwesi Botchway committee has disclosed that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has a weak intellectual and research base indicating that this played a key role in the party’s defeat in the 2016 elections.

According to the committee, the NDC needs to take steps to crowd the party with critical thinkers in order to make the NDC a better party.

The report also recommended a “peacemaking and healing tour” which should be led by some eminent personalities of the party.

He was speaking at the NDC headquarters in Accra where national executives gathered to receive the report of the 13-member committee.

After six months of work, the committee has handed the report to the NDC National Chairman Kofi Portuphy. The chairman Prof. Kwesi Botchwey proceeded to feed the media with some seven recommendations contained in the report.

In the report subtitled “listening to the voice of the grassroots”, Prof.

Botchwey pressed the NDC leadership to consider the peace-making and healing tour as “extremely important”.

This is because it will create the “necessary conditions for any serious work that needs to be done” in restructuring the party, he said.

The Committee also touched on the big issue of the party’s biometric register which become a source of discontent within the grassroot.

There were claims the register had been infiltrated by non-NDC members while recognisable party figures at the branch level could not find their names on the list.

Prof. Kwesi Botchwey committee recommended, that party must work to “restore the integrity of the bometric register”

The report mentioned the expansion of the party’s electoral college in its recommendations.

In 2014, the NDC announced an expansion of its electoral college from 4,000 to about 250,000. The NDC General Secretary explained “our intention is to scrap the electoral college system and then allow every party member to vote when it comes to our primaries for the selection of parliamentary candidates and then for the selection of the presidential candidates.”

The 13-committee suggested the expansion of the electoral college to include ordinary party members needs to be re-examined to restore confidence in the democratic novelty.

A key recommendation was that the party needs to reconnect to its social democratic roots. Other recommendations included restoring the capacity and effectiveness of party organs believed to have been sidelined in the run-up to the 2016 elections.

Several splinter groups were formed alongside formal party structures, a situation believed to have resulted in competition for campaign resources.

Prof. Kwesi Botchwey committee also wants to see the party to strengthen the youth and women wings of the party.

He told the party’s national executives at the press conference Monday, “my job is done…it is up to you to implement recommendations”.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) 2016 presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo surprisingly secured a resounding one-touch victory by polling 53.85% of total valid votes cast against incumbent NDC Presidential candidate John Dramani Mahama who managed 44.40%.

The party also outperformed the governing National Democratic Congress in the parliamentary election by increasing its seats from 122 to 169 to form the majority, while the NDC saw its representation drop from a majority of 148 to 106.

Tasked to find out why the NDC performed poorly, the former Finance Minister Prof. Kwesi Botchwey Committee toured the country meeting the grassroots of the party.

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