15th July 2024

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) appears to be embroiled in some confusion over the current identity of the party as well as the party’s future, especially in respect of how it should handle the issue of who becomes the 2024 flagbearer.

While some party giants, including Goosie Tando, think the party is “suffering from identity crisis”, others like Ade Coker insists the party’s unique identity of “social democrats” remains intact.

Also, while some MPs like Clement Apaak and other young ones within the party want the NDC to present its two-time failed flagbearer, former President John Mahama, for the third time in 2024, other senior party activists like Dr Benjamin Kunbour are opposed to any idea of opening discussions on who becomes the flagbearer at this time.

Interestingly, loyalists of both the late Founder Jerry John Rawlings and the late former President John Evans Atta Mills believe the party is facing identity crisis, and need to purge itself first.

They also believe the leadership of John Mahama has rendered the party lame, putting it in a position unable to win elections.

Securing the future                    

Speaking at a forum, dubbed “Securing the NDC’s Future”, in Accra over the weekend, former NDC Vice-Chairman, Dan Abodakpi, said the party had over the years deviated from its founding principles. This situation, he said, has cost it fortunes in presidential and parliamentary elections.

“This forum is a recognition of the fact that we have a formidable political organisation which unfortunately has become lame. Assuming that you are running a race with a strong horse, the horse is lame. Can you ride the horse to victory? So it is our collective responsibility to think through the actions that will heal the horse, strengthen the horse so that when we get a rider, however capable that rider is, he will have a very strong horse that will carry him to victory,” he said.

He accused the current leadership of the party of neglecting its grassroots, and called for a national programme to unite the party at all front.

Identity crisis

A party stalwart and a former flagbearer hopeful, Augustus Goosie Tanoh, said the party is currently going through an identity crisis, adding that in order to restore its true identity, it will have to go back to its founding principles.

“NDC is facing what is called identity crisis. People cannot tell the difference between the NDC and the NPP, and what we are saying is that we must go back to our founding values, our founding principles…that we are a social democratic party,” he said.

But, the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the party, Joseph Ade Coker, has dismissed claims that the party has lost its identity.

2024 flagbearership discourse

Meanwhile, former Interior Minister Dr Benjamin Kunbuor has cautioned the party against holding conversations around the selection of a flagbearer for Election 2024 at this time.

According to him, the party should rather focus on reorganisation, saying it will be a serious political blunder for the NDC to narrow its problems to getting a flagbearer to lead the party into the next elections.

Speaking at the ‘Securing NDC’s Future’ forum, Dr Kunbuor said the party’s challenges go beyond succession to internal wrangling and weak cohesion.

“Look for succession machinery and institution, one that will endure and be sustainable over the times. As comrade Dan Abodakpi has said, you can put any rider on that horse and the horse will win. When you start by closing any forms of conversation and let it look like the real problem for NDC today is a conversation about succession and flagbearship, you are committing a serious political blunder because by the time you get that successor or that individual in place; he is going to be riding a weak and tired and sick horse,” Dr Kunbour maintained.

He bemoaned the absence of systems and structures to deal with internal politics, saying that is an affront to party cohesion and unity.

“Who says succession in NDC is a political problem? It is not because we have a number of mechanism for electing our leaders. Yes, it might have its own weaknesses but that system exists. It only needs to be improved. So why is that a problem?” he asked.

Mahama come back

Dr Kunbour’s comments come at a time when the leadership of the NDC has just returned from a three-day retreat in Ho to assess the party’s performance in the 2020 general elections

Already, some loyalists of Mr Mahama have started pushing for a ‘Mahama-come-back’ for the 2024 general election.

The Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr Clement Abas Apaak, MPs for North Tongu and Ningo Prampram, Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa and Sam George, respectively, think Mahama must be the obvious choice for the 2024 election.

Dr Apaak, for instance, has insisted that former President John Dramani Mahama won the 2020 presidential election but was denied his mandate by institutions whose leaderships were “handpicked by his competitor to do just that”.

“Mahama, therefore, deserves a free pass to reclaim his stolen mandate…only JM can rescue Ghana,” he has said.

He maintains that NDC stands to lose the 2024 general elections if it presents another candidate other than Mr Mahama.

“If Mahama doesn’t lead the party in 2024, the likelihood of the NPP breaking the 8 is very high…We know we’re going to win the election 2024, but as to if a new face is going to lead us to that victory is another thing,” he said.

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