The Kwesi Botchwey-led 13-member committee has expressed discontentment about the way and manner some parliamentary candidates and national officers were imposed on the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) during the party’s primaries and national congress in the run-up to the 2016 polls.
The committee in its 455 page report noted that the imposition of candidates by some unseen hands in the party played a key role in the NDC’s humiliating defeat in the 2016 election.
That, according to the committee’s report, cited by Today, was orchestrated through the use of the party’s biometric register which was introduced for the first time by the NDC.
A 13-member committee led by Prof. Kwesi Botchwey was formed by the national executives of the NDC after the party’s abysmal performance in the 2016 election to find out what caused its defeat.
The committee, after 6 months of work, last week submitted its report to the national executives of the NDC in Accra.
The report of the committee recalled some incidents in 2015 where the list of registered members from Atebubu, Ada and Ledzorkuku Krowor constituencies complained about the inaccuracy of the NDC’s biometric register, describing it as “bloated” to serve the interest of some powerful individuals in the party.
For instance, in Ledzokuku constituency in the Greater Accra Region, one of the NDC’s aspiring candidates, Mr. Daniel Amartey Mensah, according to the report, was alleged to have infiltrated the register with over 3,000 foreign names, a development which angered many party members including the Constituency Secretary, Isaac Attipoe, hence the party losing that seat to the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Another constituency in the Greater Accra Region, Ningo Prampram, although the NDC retained the seat, majority of the party members including some constituency executives, the report pointed out, were not happy about the way the then incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) of the area, Mr. E.T. Mensah, was treated, all in the name of the party’s biometric register.
Some party members in the constituency whose views were captured in the report alleged that the biometric register gave Sam George, now incumbent, the opportunity to register non-NDC members to vote for him in the primary.
In fact, in the case of E.T Mensah, it was a double agony as the report claimed former President John Dramani Mahama personally at a meeting in Flagstaff House asked Mr. E.T. Mensah to step down for Sam George to go unopposed.
And if not by their influence in the party, others like Messers Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, Mark Woyongo, Inusah Fuseini, the report noted, would have lost in the party’s primaries as they were becoming too ‘hot’ for some people in the party.
On the election of national officers, the Botchwey committee report indicated that the election of Mr. Kofi Portuphy and Kofi Adams as the party’s National Chairman and National Organiser respectively was the genesis of the party’s defeat.
“Even if for nothing at all, we would have preferred Mr. Hudu Yayah as Chairman to Portuphy,” a member of the Kwesi Botchwey-led committee who spoke to Today on strict condition of anonymity at the weekend said.
Today’s further investigations showed that Mr. Hudu Yayah was impressed upon by former President Dramani Mahama to step down for Mr. Portuphy at the eleventh hour via a telephone conversation.
As for Dr. Kwabena Adjei, who was then National Chairman of the NDC, our source on Botchwey committee said, former President Dramani Mahama saw him as a thorn in his flesh, and therefore vowed to teach him a lesson, hence his defeat.
It is for these reasons that the report, among its recommendations, urged the NDC’s hierarchy to “restore the integrity of the party’s biometric register.”
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