The General Secretary of the ruling national Democratic Congress (NDC) Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has hinted that President John Dramani Mahama would go unopposed as the second-time flagbearer of the ruling party in the 2016 Presidential elections.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia, (aka General Mosquito) in an exclusive interview with the Republic newspaper, debunked pervasive speculations that he and some people within the party are considering sponsoring a contender to challenge President Mahama’s second term bid as flagbearer of the NDC, describing potential impact of such a move as “dangerous” for the NDC going into the 2016 Presidential race.
He told this paper that he was surprised that he is being linked to moves to spring a potential flagbearer to contest President Mahama’s second term.
“I have heard people [whipping up the speculation] and I was extremely surprised, because why would somebody like me in the position of a General Secretary of the party wanting a second term for President Mahama be the person contemplating about this type of ideas,” he stated.
“Such an activity can only bring all of us down? I am beginning to get the impression that there are people who want to create problems between myself and President Mahama for whatever reasons?”
He described the speculation as an attempt to damage the NDC’s chances of winning the 2016 elections? “In political field if somebody wants to damage your chances of winning elections, they can pump dangerous ideas amongst you and then you begin disagreeing among yourselves; You begin seeing your allies as your competitors and that is the surest way of working towards removing you from power. Anybody preaching this type of thing is the person who wants to see us out of office,” he said.
In the view of General Mosquito, the repercussion of a move to challenge President Mahama’s second term bid far outweighs its benefits, “Many people don’t sit down to contemplate the result of this type of dangerous ideas [contesting a seating president from running for a second term]. In a third World country, you are lucky to have an incumbent president; your chances of going into the next elections are brighter than those who don’t have that incumbency advantage. Even in the advanced democracies, it doesn’t happen [where an incumbent president serving his first term is challenged from contesting a second term],” he told the Republic newspaper.
The NDC General Secretary believes an attempt to contest President Mahama’s flagbearership would be futile, saying even in advanced democracies, an agreed convention exists to allow incumbent presidents to run for their second term without any contention from within the party, “If the advanced democracies have developed a convention, where a sitting president is more or less likely to have an automatic second term; if they themselves know that they cannot afford it, how much more a third World country like Ghana?”
“If you want to present a candidate [to contest President Mahama] you would have two possible outcomes: You may win in having somebody defeat your sitting president to take over the flag bearership, or you may lose. If you lose, the repercussions are even less.
He argued that it would be awkward if the sitting president is defeated at the party’s primaries from running for a second time, ” So you will have a flagbearer who is different from the sitting president, both belonging to the same NDC? So tell me, how is the new presidential candidate going to prosecute his campaign and be able to win the elections, because the sitting president will be there, his Ministers would be at post, his DCEs would be at post and everybody wants to support incumbency for obvious reasons? How many people would come out to support the new candidates against the sitting president?”
He warned against repeating the 2010 spectacle where the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings contested the then incumbent President John Evans Atta Mills, saying it will just whip up unnecessary sentiments and divide the support base of the party. “?You will have your party’s support base divided; maybe one-third or half would be following your new presidential candidate, the other two-thirds would be following the sitting president, meanwhile the opposition party would be united behind Nana Akufo Addo, what would you think the possible outcome will be? How can anybody win an election in that circumstance?”
General Mosquito is not ruling out the speculations being a scheme by the main opposition party which is feverishly working towards unseating the NDC in the 2016 elections “?It may be an agenda from outside, with the objective of planting it inside, so when it is swallowed inside, then we would begin suspecting each other and then we create problems for our campaign because you cannot plan a campaign with people you don’t trust.”
Recently, a maverick member of the party Michael Teye Nyaunu who was the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Lower Manya started a debate in the party, saying it was undemocratic to allow President Mahama to contest the flagbearership of the ruling party unopposed.
“I don’t think it is good for democracy and I don’t think it is good for the development of the country in the sense that the position he stated shows that the interest of the party supersedes the interest and development of the country,” Mr. Teye Nyaunu stated last week.
“If the President is doing well, people must not just say he is doing well. Somebody must contest him,” he said.
But the General Secretary of the NDC has dismissed this line or argument, saying it will only become a legitimate propaganda ploy by the opposition to indicate the failure of the party in its first four-year term, hence the need to change its flagbearer.