By Prince Paul Amuzu:
A member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Communication Team, Mr. Stephen Atubiga has served strong notice to party bigwigs who intend contesting the party’s presidential primaries ahead of the country’s 2020 general elections, noting that he will beat any contestant who dares challenge him for the party’s presidential ticket.
Mr. Atubiga who threw the caution in an interview with Rite news on Wednesday was confirming media reports indicating that he intended running for president on the ticket of the NDC. Nonetheless, the ‘boy from Binduri’ is confident of causing a major upset to known political bigwigs who have been widely speculated to harbor the intention of succeeding former president John Mahama.
‘I’ll beat all those who have reportedly expressed interest in the position. Names like, former NHIS boss, Sylvester Mensah; Paa Kwasi Amissah Arthur, former Veep; Ekwoh Spio Garbrah among others are said to have indicated leading the party come 2020 but I’ll beat all of them,’ a confident Atubiga told Rite midday news anchor, Austin Ofori Addo.
The NDC scribe had earlier this week made the headlines after he confirmed that he will contest in the presidential primaries of his party. Stephen Atubiga, however stressed that he will only pick up the nomination forms if former President John Dramani Mahama does not stage a comeback to active politics in 2020.
This came days after posters with the inscription “Stephen Atubiga as presidential candidate for the 2020 elections” on the ticket of the NDC went viral on social media.
However, the only stumbling block that would pull the breaks on his ambitions is any interest from ex-president John Mahama deciding to lead the party again in the near future.
‘I’ll pick up the NDC’s upcoming presidential primary forms except if former president Mahama also decides to contest because I cannot contest him. This means that we should all rally behind him to victory. This is because he has done enough for the country and the NDC as a party has invested a lot in him by marketing him,’ he said.
Basing his conviction on a supposed ‘strong grassroots’ support from the NDC, Mr. Atubiga, noted that he gathers his support from the party’s grassroots and footsoldiers who have remained committed to the party all these while but whose contributions to the advancement of the NDC have unfortunately been overlooked.
‘The grassroots and the footsoldiers of the party who have worked tirelessly to bring the party back to power have been neglected totally upon assumption of office by the NDC government and they have been calling upon me to take up the flagbearership of the party to lead us back to power in 2020 since they have confidence and hope in me,’ he added.
Mr. Stephen Atubiga was sentenced in 2013 to three (3) days imprisonment for contempt of court during the 2012 election petition hearing for contempt, a development that has left pundits wondering whether that was not enough to disqualify the NDC communicator from pursuing his political and presidential ambitions.
But Mr. Atubiga in dismissing the suggestions argued that he was still eligible to contest because ‘contempt of court is not a criminal offence’ and that cannot deter him from becoming the flag bearer of the NDC.
He cited the examples of political prisoners like former president of South Africa, the late Nelson Mandela; Ghana’s former president Rawlings and Kwame Nkrumah, and all political leaders who assumed the highest office of the land after having come out of incarceration.
‘Do not forget that political prisoners are the best leaders in the world,’ Stephen Atubiga added. According to him, political prisoners over the years have shown good leadership in terms of fighting corruption in their individual countries.
Mr. Atubiga announced his presence on Ghana’s political scene when he contested the 2012 and 2016 NDC parliamentary primary in the Binduri Constituency but lost on both occasions.
He subsequently joined the party’s communications team and made the headlines after he was sentenced together with Managing Editor of the Searchlight newspaper, Mr. Ken Kuranchie to three days in prison during the 2012 election petition hearing, for contempt.