Professor Kwesi Botchwey, Chairman of the 13-member committee that investigated the reason why the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost the December 7, 2016 general elections, has stated that some of the party’s supporters they interviewed said former President John Dramani Mahama did not put things right and that led to the defeat.
“There were so many issues but I can’t stand here and say that when we toured the country all we could hear was that the ex-president was the main reason for the NDC’s defeat and therefore he should not be given another chance to lead the party,” Prof Botchwey told Kasapa FM in Accra Monday evening, adding, “We didn’t hear that. We rather heard so many issues which they said the ex-president didn’t fix right.”
According to Prof Botchwey, “To be honest, some party supporters we spoke to said that the former president didn’t handle things well. Some laid the blame on constituency executives. Others said there were no jobs in the country. Some talked about the cancellation of trainee nurses’ allowance.”
He said the committee did not go in search of who will lead the NDC in 2020, but rather do a simple task of what led to the party’s massive defeat, claiming, “They told us to investigate why the NDC lost. They didn’t tell us to ask about who should be the NDC flag bearer for 2020. It was not part of our mandate.”
Prof. Botchwey said, “We have submitted our report. The party’s leadership will have to look at it and then the party will go to congress; and I think that is where they will decide who should lead the NDC.”
He also stressed that the committee did not go to investigate how much the NDC spent during the 2016 election campaign.
“We couldn’t state how much the NDC spent in the 2016 general elections,” Prof Kwesi Botchwey pointed out.
He admitted that issues about funds and how money could not reach certain constituencies were rife in their interactions with the supporters, maintaining, “What came to our attention was that in many places, the party could not find the money and campaign resource for them. The huge numbers that worked for the party, not all of them were paid.
“Money issues were a problem for the NDC. We didn’t quantify how much the party spent but we looked at the amounts that were supposed to go to the grass roots where those in-charge could not do so. If you look at some places clearly, there were money issues.”
Prof. Botchwey had said at the presentation of the 455-page report on Monday that, “Everybody spoke frankly and honestly. We do make a number of recommendations, including a recommendation that the party puts together a group of credible and eminent members of our party to undertake a peace-making and healing tour of the country and visit all key sectors and constituencies. We believe this is extremely important for purposes of creating the necessary conditions for any serious work that needs to be done in the way of the party restructuring and renewal.
“We also have a recommendation that the party takes steps to restore the integrity of the biometric register and the expanded Electoral College. Additionally, we recommend that steps be taken to restore the capacity and effectiveness of the party’s organs, especially to the branch level. We believe these organs are most critical because they are the party’s immediate connections with the people. We are, after all, a truly mass party.
“We also have recommendations on ways in which we can and must improve the collation of election results.”
Yesterday, the party’s leadership reportedly held a crunch meeting to study the report and find ways to implement the recommendations.
A deputy general secretary of the NDC, Koku Anyidoho, averred on Starr FM that “we will meet as Functional Executive Committee members; we will look at the report. On Wednesday, we are meeting as National Executive members [as well].”
He added, “Any political watcher will tell you the recommendations certainly are coming out from certain major concerns raised.”
By William Yaw Owusu