There’s always a tide in the affairs of any human endeavour when the moment strikes for action. For example, in association football and other sporting disciplines the blast of the referee’s whistle often pumps up one’s adrenalin and the crave for victory intensifies. In politics (like sports)that moment produces anxiety and pressure. And it gathers profound momentum even before the real showdown begins amid scheming and testing the political waters.
On Saturday May 19 2018, former President John Mahama gave Ghanaians and his party (NDC) members what could be described as a menu chart that literally suggests that he’s coming back to run for the NDC in the 2020 presidential election. However, it wouldn’t be as cool as cucumber, says this writer. Why? There are several horses in the stable figuratively.
This means he’d have to fight off a number of NDC challengers at the party’s National Delegates’ Congress which is expected to come off sometime this year.
”I’ve listened to your calls and reflected..I’ll not disappoint you,” says Mr. Mahama.
Has that moment come yet? Well it appears the ex-president has already set that tone. That line above seems to accentuate Mr. Mahama’s enthusiasm and readiness tolead the NDC into the next presidential election. It also put to rest months of speculations, assuring his friends, party supporters and loved ones that he won’t disappoint them on his promise. Before this, Mr Mahama had indicated he’d make the decision about his political future known in the course of time.
Would the comeback kid get the nod once again?
Looking into my crystal ball that appears to be a long shot. And I say so based on this observation: Over the years I’ve critically observed that there are some NDC guys who fear criticism. And I’m referring to the hawks, the fair-weather friends and the Ahithophels. Those that would stick their necks out and say you’re in ‘a comfortable lead’ when in fact, defeat is draping you with its cold garb.
So who advised president Mahama to make this decision? Was it the Botchways and the Lithurs’ group or the group that flows with the Choir Master?
Truth be told, Mr. Mahama’s chances will largely depend, first on his relationship with former President Jerry Rawlings. Mr. Rawlings still wields political clout in his party and the country at large…the Zuus or Zaas underestimated and sidelined him in the 2016 general elections resulting the party’s humiliation defeat. And they risk suffering another defeat if the party treats him the way they did in the previous political season.
Also, I think the NDC should forget about 2020, especially for a candidate Mahama, if they cannot put their house in order. At the moment it doesn’t look good and Mr. Rawlings last week or so alluded to that fact. If he gets the nod Mr. Mahama will be the first ex-president in Ghana on a major party’s nomination, while the incumbent Akufo-Addo’s will face no intra-party challenges.
This decision comes 17 months after the former president was defeated in the last December 2016 presidential election. He left the Flagstaff House now Jubilee Houseas the first one-term president in the nation.
Critic’s of the former president argue that he’s no chance in the 2020 race and should therefore give others in the party the opportunity to try their fortunes. But I don’t share that view, and I also think there is no reason for the critics to fault Mr. Mahama’s decision to take a second shot at the presidency. If Mahathir Mohamad (92years) could comeback and be elected as the world’s oldest leader less than a fortnight ago, what then should be an impediment for Mr. Mahama?Be reminded Mr. Mahathir had previously served as the country’s prime minister from 1981to 2013 Southeast Asian nation Malaysia.
It must be noted however, that apples are not oranges and the political climate in Malaysia is different from Ghana’s. Obviously, he must first secure his party’s nomination in the NDC’s national delegates congress. If Mr. Mahama becomes the nominee it would mean that he’s the party’s best bet. It would also signify a rejection of the rest.
Who are his possible contenders?
So far five individuals including the former president have declared their interest to contest and lead the umbrella to the historic election. Mr. Mahama’s likely contenders will be Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban S.K. Bagbin, former Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Ekwow Spio Gabrah, former Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr Sylvester Mensah and former Vice Chancellor of the University for Professional Studies, Prof. Joshua Alabi, are among those who have also declared interest to contest to lead the NDC for Election 2020.
In a Facebook post Saturday evening, Mr Mahama wrote: “To you the teeming supporters and sympathizers calling and requesting me to declare my intentions for the future, I wish to assure you today, that as a servant-leader, I have listened to your calls and reflected. I will not disappoint you even as we await the publication of the party’s guidelines for selecting a new leader.”
“I want to congratulate the rank & file and executives of our party, the NDC, at all levels for the commitment and work rate we have put into our reorganization efforts,” Mr Mahama wrote in the Facebook post. The former President has been touring Ghana galvanising the grassroots with the Unity Walk project which climaxes at Aflao in the Volta Region on June 9, 2018.
Meanwhile, opponents within the NDC and Mahama’s contenders have accused him of hijacking the Unity Walk project to give him an unfair advantage.
Columnist: Gordon Offin-Ameniampong