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The opposition NDC will soon go to the polls to elect the party’s Presidential candidate for the 2020 election. Aspirants have started their under underground operations. There is an equally important aspect to their promises and other operations, often unappreciated and usually impossible to plan. But aspirants forget it at their peril, for it can mark their legacy. It is to act as the leader of the party, the unifier and healer. The NDC needs a unity candidate now, who can appeal across the party and bring all the factions together. John Mahama has the necessary experience, both inside and outside the party and he perfectly exhibited that trait when he addressed his party folks at Cape Coast after their Unity Walk.
The former President has not formerly declared his intention to contest for the position. But he is now leaning towards running, and if he did he would be the clear favourite. If John stands, which i think is very likely, then he is the one who will knit the supporters and sympathisers together and that is what the party needs. He has proven per his actions and comments that he is the one who can meld the party together in a way that, frankly, no one else can. What I am hoping this time is the party can settle which way they’re going as a party, and then unite around whoever leads, with policies they can go and sell to the people. I have listened to the full speech delivered by Mr Mahama after their Unity Walk and must say, it was a perfect speech delivered at the right time. He communicates well and has so far shown that he is a team player and good at listening and empathizing. He makes everyone including those likely to contest him and their supporters feel uplifted, listened to and respected. This attitude is improving collaboration and loyalty in the party.
The founder should have been the right person to give the party and its supporters that comfort, direction and hope. He should have taken over the nerves of the party after the defeat and offer members the needed psychological motivation. But the party folks must come to terms with the reality on the ground. The founder will never go against the wife and will never embark on any crusade likely to land the wife into serious legal challenges. The party needs a true unifier to play the founder’s role. Without the unifier force, the party would have no ability to respond to change efficiently because the party would not be able to act as a whole. The more the party crave for the founder’s return and active participation in its internal activities, the more difficult they make the 2020 agenda. The party doesn’t need a “Big U”, a leader who always seeks to curry favours and plays the political wind to his or her advantage.The party doesn’t need a leader whose words or actions can’t really be trusted because their loyalty will shift with the prevailing political wind.
I have been monitoring the former President Mr Mahama for sometime now and little I have gathered of him is, he is strategizing to bring his party, not necessarily himself, back to power. After months of agitations, blame game and attacks, the former President , Mr Mahama is no longer regarded as the cause of the party’s problems occasioned by his defeat at the 2016 election. He is now regarded as the silver bullet that is capable of bringing back the party to power in 2020(21). The former President’s posture is bolstered by the efficient and effective opposition being offered by the party’s parliamentarians and communicators. Those who were supposed to take charge of putting things together after the defeat, took positions and took advantage of the defeat to push their personal and group agendas, others absconded. The founder could have put a mechanism in place to keep the party together, instead he stayed aloof which allowed the usual internal punches and attacks to thrive. That role is what Mr Mahama is effectively playing culminating in the unity the party enjoying. As the immediate former President, people respect him and people listen to him so must continue with that role until a new leadership emerges.
During my days at the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), i had the opportunity of working closely with almost all the the aspirants and have confidence in their ability to deliver if voted to lead the country. That notwithstanding, we have other factors apart from administrative efficiently to consider when settling on a political leader. That is where the Mr Mahama comes top. He seems to command huge respect among the party’s supporters and the public in general, his achievements are still fresh and gigantic to bury and his demeanor poses great threat to his opponents. Probably, the party’s supporters were so angered and desperate to have the leadership of the party and that is all but they recognise Mahama as their leader and I am sure they will continue to give him that respect After the defeat the party’s stakeholders held talks with all the sides and appealed to various organs to arrive at a political solution, the intervention led to the decision of the former President to call for reconciliation and healing of the lame horse.
The former President’s statement after the Unity Walk should bring all the forces together for Ghana to have a credible, formidable and effective opposition.
By Dr Ignatius Asenso Bediako