NDC 2020 Flag Bearer Race: Mahama In Early Lead Despite Rawlings' Tantrums

Even before the National Executives of the opposition National Democratic Congress gives the go-ahead for the election of a flag bearer for the 2020 elections, a nationwide research conducted by The aL-hAJJ indicates former President John Mahama has an edge over his potential competitors.

This is in spite of the immediate past President’s abysmal performance in last year’s elections.

NDC supporters this paper interviewed rated John Mahama far ahead of other party kingpins jostling to become 2020 Presidential Candidate.

Majority of the party’s supporters say, they will choose him ahead of any of the flag bearer hopefuls. This verdict also runs contrary to NDC founder, Jerry John Rawlings’ plot to scuttle Mr Mahama’s comeback.

Mr Rawlings marked the 38th anniverasy of June uprising in Wa with a fiery monologue castigating the erstwhile Mahama administration, labeling it as a government of ‘sickening greed’.

In an apparent reference to President Mahama and Executives of the NDC, Mr Rawlings relied on a “lame horse” and “Jockey” allegory to call for the overhaul of the party.

"If we cannot get our claws off to allow for fresh leadership to emerge, then we shall sink even further," he stated.

According to those rooting for the Bole-born historian-turned-politician, he is the most marketable and visible candidate among all those who have either openly declared their intention of leading the party, or rumored to be interested in contesting the 2020 elections on the ticket of the biggest opposition party.

“I don’t see how any of the flag bearer hopefuls will beat John Mahama in any internal contest.

Though they are qualified to contest and are capable of leading the party into 2020 election, but before that…one will need to get the mandate of the NDC…that is where I think all of them fall short.

Mahama is ahead of them; he is the most popular person we have in party now,” a constituency executive in Ayawaso North constituency noted.

Another leading member of the NDC (name withheld) said “per our constitution, appointees of Mahama have voting rights at congress and majority of these appointees will vote for Mahama.
These appointees have some amount of influence in their various constituencies and regions…this alone puts Mahama in a comfortable position to beat anybody who challenges him.”

This paper’s findings was based on monitoring commentaries on social and main stream media by NDC activists and interviews with National, Regional, Constituency, Parliamentary caucus and functionaries of the Umbrella party across the country. We asked a simple question, “Who do you think should lead the NDC in 2020”?

And, overwhelming majority placed their bets on John Dramani Mahama. Indeed, nearly 75% of respondents were in favour of former president Mahama leading the NDC into the 2020 presidential election.

Even though this falls short of what he (Mahama) obtained at his 2012 endorsement at Kumasi and the, 83% and 97% the late President Mills had in 2006 and 2011 at Legon and Sunyani respectively, that is understandable.

Whiles many in the party say John Mahama is NDC’s safe bets for the 2020 presidential polls, a significant section of party members still have some reservations with the former President’s leadership style.

A senior member of the party told this paper that whiles “It is not in doubt that the rank and file of the NDC including many party bigwigs are rooting for John’s comeback...and even, the flag bearer hopefuls know this, and most of them are even willing to step down if he wants to run, John’s problem with many of these people is his leadership style…and he must be ready to change that…

The NDC senior member says many of those complaining about Mr. Mahama think his leadership style does not encourage inclusiveness and consultation.

“Key among some of the issues they believe the former President should be ready to work on if he is to be endorsed again is, his handling of party-government relationship…, the say John Mahama’s NDC was somewhat different from the NDC of Rawlings and Atta Mills…as you know, the NDC thrives on consultation and consensus but, under Mahama, many party bigwigs felt marginalized, so were the grassroots, and this, they say, led to our inglorious defeat. So they want him to work on some of these things.”

Some heavyweights of the NDC are rumored lacing their boots in readiness for a showdown for the party’s flag bearer post for the 2020 elections which would come off sometime in December 2018.

Vice President Amissah Arthur, Former Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekow Spio Gabrah; former Vice Chancellor of University for Professional Studies, Prof Joshua Alabi; former Ghana High Commissioner to UK, Victor Smith; Former Chief Executive of NHIA, Sylvester Mensah; former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah; MP for Nadowli-Kaleo; Alban Bagbin; former MP for La Dadekotopon, Nii Amasah Namoale; a Cadre, Goosie Tanoh and MP for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu have all been named as eyeing the NDC top job.

Though none of the names mentioned to be interested in leading the party has official announced his bid, some have been having “secret” meetings with select group of party kingpins and activists, in order to warm their way into their hearts.

Others have also made conditional statements to the effect that if former President John Mahama decides to stake another claim to the leadership of the party, they will shelve their ambitions and throw their weight behind him.

The flag bearer hopefuls have for some time, preoccupied themselves with party activities. Some, who have over the years abandoned celebration of 4th June revolution suddenly, have begun associating themselves with the occasion.

Despite their visibility and ongoing secret meetings with party faithful, majority of NDC supporters and sympathizers, particularly, those with voting rights insist former President Mahama is miles ahead of his potential competitors. Stay tuned