The 2016 general elections was but a ‘fierce’ one which saw the former President and National Democratic Congress’ [NDC] flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama losing to New Patriotic Party’s [NPP’s], Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo.
Nana Addo’s victory was with an unprecedented margin. One could say that prior to the 2016 elections predicting which party or candidate had the upper hand was a difficult task.
Some were of the view that John Mahama, the then president had just had one term and as it seemed to be the trend in the country’s history, former presidents or parties were given two terms before they were voted out.
However, others were of the view that it was not John Mahama who was the focus for the terms in government but rather the party NDC. This was due to the fact that the former President, the late Professor John Evans Atta Mills, almost served a term before he passed on in July 2012. So, it meant that after John Mahama took over after the demise of Prof Mills and winning the 2012 election and serving from 2013 to 2016, the party NDC had been in government for two terms, thus, must be shown the exit.
These were the two scenarios. And, as the NPP with Nana Addo hoisting their flag and Dr. Bawumia backing to campaign that it is time to show the NDC the exist for they have had two terms amidst incompetence, the NDC on the other hand thought otherwise. The NDC were holding the other side of the argument.
According to the NDC, John Mahama had done tremendously well, even better than all governments; from Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to Professor Mills put together, hence, be given another term.
Campaign was intensified running up to the elections. As John Mahama and his NDC were touring the Eastern region telling voters about he and his party’s unprecedented achievements and also telling chiefs how Nana Addo will unseat them [chiefs] when he becomes President, Nana Addo and his NPP were touring the Volta region through the Eastern Corridor roads allegedly sleeping.
However, Nana Addo and his NPP were also singing the chorus of ‘1 village, 1 dam,’ and ‘1 district, 1 factory,’ and free SHS. Some Ghanaians as usual started to act as ‘backing vocalists’ in singing the chorus. This chorus, seeing how the populace had started to sing along, pushed the former President John Mahama to compose his own when campaigning in the central region with ‘1 house 1 metre,’ and ‘1 district, 10 tractors.’
Obviously, John Mahama’s chorus of EGC with ‘1-house, 1-metre,’ and ‘1 district, 10 tractors,’ was not really a hit.
Electioneering campaigns went on as one cannot listen to radio or go on social media or watch television for few minutes without being bombarded with one campaign message/song or the other. If you do not hear Mahama’s Onaapo, you’ll definitely hear Nana Yɛ Winner. It depended on which song you liked or which party you belonged to, to sing along with those campaign songs. However, some people did not care about where they belonged; they only danced to any of the tunes.
One cannot talk about elections in Ghana without mentioning propaganda. Every party that was going to contest in the 2016 elections had its message they presented to the populace for them to purchase. The then president, John Mahama and his NDC wanted voters to buy their unprecedented achievement in government for just four or eight years. But, Nana Akufo-Addo and his NPP referred to the Mahama administration as an ‘incompetent government.’
On the other hand, as Nana Addo and his NPP were trying to sell their ‘1 district, 1 factory,’ – ‘1 village, 1 dam,’ and free SHS to Ghanaians, the former president and his NDC were saying they were not feasible. Other propaganda messages were thrown at each other till campaigning came to an end.
All campaigns came to an end on December 6, 2018, but not after the NDC hijacked almost all radio stations in the capital, Accra in particular, couple days before the elections.
All political morning shows on most of the radio stations halted for the populace to listen to campaign messages from NDC communicators. They could not help to bombard the listener and potential voter of their supposed unprecedented work the then President Manama had done in the country.
However, after all, December 7 arrived and Ghanaians went to the polls. After the elections, the former boss of the Electoral Commission Madam Charlotte Osei declared Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo the winner with an unprecedented margin. He was then sworn in as President on January 7, 2017.
After assumption of office, the NPP has fulfilled its promise of Free SHS, while other promises are said to be underway. However, the NDC thinks Nana Addo’s government has not lived up to expectation, amidst several allegations of corruption.
In few weeks the NDC will be electing its flagbearer for the 2020 elections. After the former President officially declared his intention to contest, some individuals had argued that his comeback will be of no good to the party, while others say he is the sure bid for the party as the party does not have any familiar face to pull the crowd.
The advice from some stalwarts in the party that the former president stayed aside and act as a father head for the party has gone unheeded. Such people have received insults from persons who support the former President.
Now the question is, how helpful is John Mahama’s 2020 to the NDC party? I have been asking myself this, and many other questions. So who are Mr Mahama’s advisors? By the way, what has he been telling himself concerning wanting to become President again? After serving a term and few months as President, what is left for him to come back for? Can he not just remain a statesman?
Not long ago, he indicated that he has some unfinished business in government. As someone would ask; like seriously? Who told him, he could finish everything he started or was doing or wanted to do for the country? Our elders say ‘barima bɛyɛɛ bi na nso w’amɛyɛ ne nyinaa.’ So, to say that he has unfinished business in government is a groundless statement. In any case governance is a continuous process!
I hope he has not forgotten that some of the ‘legacies’ he left behind are still fresh on the minds of most Ghanaians who voted against him. Some Ghanaians still remember the SMARTIES scandal; the Brazil 2014 scandal that he could not hold the perpetrators accountable; Dumsɔ for close to five years and many more.
Moreover, assuming Mahama becomes the flagbearer of NDC for the 2020 elections and then in the unlikely situation, he wins the elections and becomes president again, he will have to do just a term in government as it is well known. In that case, the NDC will have to market a new face for the 2024 elections.
How about, if Mr Mahama as the flagbearer of the party loses the general election? I am wondering if the party will still present him for the 2024 elections or will they present a new face? I am very optimistic that they will present a new face. That means, that particular person, as it is always the case in our political system, has to be marketed to the populace well.
However, in case the NDC finds it prudent to elect a new flagbearer for the 2020 elections he may not win the general elections but would be marketed for 2024 elections, which he may perhaps win with hard work because NPP would have done two terms already. And as people put it “Ghanaians may be fed up with them [NPP] already.”
Anyway, Mr Mahama is now touring the country campaigning to delegates of the party to vote him again to become flagbearer of the NDC. He has since focused on criticising the current NPP government. He has not really focused on telling the delegates that he is the best amongst the flagbearer hopefuls and that he is capable of winning power for the party once again.
Some persons have thus cautioned against his style of campaigning as a flagbearer hopeful but all have fallen on deaf ears.
According to one other flagbearer hopeful, “the party does not need a one term president.”
So, is John Mahama’s 2020 bid a curse to the NDC or a blessing to NPP?
By: O. Y. Addofoh
The writer is a freelance journalist. Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policies of The Probe.