Kwesi Botchwey Committee’s final report on the abysmal defeat of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2016 general election is likely to create sharp divisions in the party.
Already, it is riddled with accusations and counter-accusations as to who was responsible for the party’s humiliating defeat at the hands of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The report has emphatically blamed President John Mahama, the NDC leader, for the party’s defeat, with recommendations that he should not be allowed to lead the party in 2020.
The 67-page report, which is yet to be made public but has already been leaked, states categorically that former President John Mahama – who was painted with brushes of alleged corruption by the then opposition NPP throughout his tenure – was the principal cause of the party’s defeat in the 2016 polls.
“The NPP won because their leader was acclaimed to be incorruptible while ours was tainted with corruption and bribery, so going into the 2020 elections, we (Kwesi Botchwey Committee) propose that we elect somebody who can also claim to be incorruptible,” the committee’s report recommended.
The Kwesi Botchwey committee has also indicted Mr Mahama for encouraging the formation of various splinter groups like ‘Youth for Mahama,’ ‘Friends for Mahama,’ ‘Zongo for Mahama,’ ‘Girls Girls for Mahama,’ ‘Celebrities For Mahama,’ ‘Ambassadors for Mahama’ and ‘Doves for Mahama’ and resourcing these groups to the detriment of the party.
“The loyalty of those groups formed in support of former President Mahama was in doubt as they were not under any supervision,” the report noted, pointing out further that any future presidential nominee of the NDC (minus Mahama) must work in tandem with the party structures by bringing on board national and regional executive members, polling agents and those at the grassroots to help in its (party’s) electioneering campaign.
The committee also found out that the neglect of the grassroots party people; the founder, Jerry John Rawlings and some leading members of the party during President Mahama’s first term in office (2012-2016) played another key role in the defeat of the party, as those people were peeved with their leaders for the neglect.
According to the committee’s report, the way the party’s communicators handled its campaign messages was also very awful as they relied only on the ‘so-called’ achievements captured in the ‘Green Book’ of the party, as well as the massive infrastructure allegedly executed by the government.
The report indicates that most of the NDC communicators were pompous in their public discourses and instead of addressing the real issue of hardship Ghanaians were going through, they blatantly said everything was rosy and only concentrated on the so-called achievements chalked by the government under infrastructure and in the ‘Green Book.’
They also faulted the presidency of John Mahama for indirectly resourcing pro-opposition media houses in a bid to siphon information from the opposition camp and also lay hands on intelligence within the opposition camp, while the pro-NDC media were denied such government adverts which in a way also denied them some resources to propagate the message of the NDC.
Meanwhile, loyalists of former President Mahama on the Kwesi Botchwey Committee are reportedly not in support of the report, fighting tooth and nail to downplay the recommendations, which clearly put the former president in a bad light.
The Mahama loyalists do not understand why he (Mahama) should be ditched for a new candidate in 2020.
The dissenting posture of the Mahama loyalists has reportedly delayed the release of the committee’s report.
Information indicates that there was a serious confrontation at a meeting by the committee outside Accra last month to put finishing touches to the report, as the pro-Mahama members fiercely challenged the recommendation to change the party’s presidential candidate for 2020.
But it is obvious that Mahama may not be allowed to stand on the party’s ticket going into the 2020 general election, with the majority on the committee endorsing ‘No Mahama for 2020.’