A new think tank, the Crusade for Probity and Accountability, has demanded the resignation of all the National Democratic Congress (NDC) national executives for overseeing the worst defeat of a sitting government under Ghana’s fourth republic.
The group’s argument is that, since the NDC leadership took credit for past election successes, they should equally take responsibility for failing the party at the grass roots level.
“In the interest of the party, the national leadership should offer the best Christmas gift to the party especially its grassroots supporters by communicating to the council of elders their decisions to step aside unblocked at the earliest day possible,” the Convener of the group, Dr. Kwesi Djokoto, said at its inaugral press conference today [Wednesday].
“We don’t know what influences the judgment of leadership but it was very clear that the perspective they held and the reality were miles apart.”
He also said, the resignation of the party executives “will trigger the much-needed inquest into activities at the branch, constituency, regional and national level that led to the miserable defeat.”
Dr. Djokoto, said the expected party congress for soul searching would eventually come around, but insisted that the party leadership also lacked perspective and could not be trusted to hold an objective inquiry into the party’s failings.
“This is unacceptable because no one should sit in judgment, or decide who sits in judgment of its own performance especially when the outcome of the performance is abysmal.”
But the party’s branch in the Volta Region, has described as premature, calls by the Crusade for Probity and Accountability, for all executives of the party to step aside for overseeing the worst election defeat of a sitting government.
According to the party, the calls are misplaced, especially at a time when the party is taking stock of what led to its defeat in the December 7 poll.
In a Citi News interview, the deputy NDC Volta Regional Secretary, Mustapha Gbande, rubbished the calls, retorting that the group had no standing make such demands because it is not a recognised organ of the party.
“It is premature and unwarranted for a group of people to go out there and call on executives to step down without necessarily creating or having any concrete report of why we have lost an election knowing very well that a lot of factors contributed to our defeat. In any case, you cannot trace
our defeat to the cause of any single executive.
“The body they formed is not a recognised body under the NDC and so they lack the legal capacity to call on the past executives to step down,” he said.
Mr. Gbande, instead urged cool heads to prevail so the party could strategise, “whilst allowing the elected government the space to install themselves.”
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE CRUSADE FOR PROBITY AND ACCOUNTABILTY (CPA)
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we are grateful for your prompt response to our maiden press engagement. I acknowledge all like-minded people here in present and across the country and the globe who share a common vision with the crusade for probity and accountability (CPA).
The CPA is a think tank aligned with the founding principles and ideals of the NDC namely; probity, accountability and social justice. Its membership is drawn mainly from but not limited to the rank and file of the NDC who seek a structured and formal way of expressing their hopes and aspirations on how the identity, philosophy and image of the NDC can be reborn and made to reflect on the governance of our beloved country Ghana.
Through regular and varied forms of engagement with the populace we will seek to sustain the pressure on the leadership of our country in general with a specific focus on the NDC to adhere to the time tested principles of probity and accountability.
2016 PRESIDENTIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
We would like to applaud all key actors in the just ended elections for their invaluable contributions towards the democratic process of our country.
The CPA congratulates H.E. John Mahama, the president of the Republic of Ghana for the exemplary manner he conducted himself by graciously accepting defeat and conceding despite the reservations he had.
We also congratulate the president elect, H.E. Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo for emerging victorious. We wish him well as he takes over the challenging task of managing the Country Ghana on the 7th of January, 2017.
The Electoral Commission headed by Mrs. Charlotte Osei, the various political parties, The National Peace Council, civil society and religious groups and the electorate in general deserve special mention.
In the same vein we condemn the pockets of post-election atrocities which have been visited upon members of the NDC in the last few days. We call on the membership of the NPP to reprehend their marauding supporters and further restrain them from carrying out subsequent attacks. We commend all stakeholders for the global condemnation of these actions which threaten to mar the beauty of our democracy. The security service should as a matter of urgency take steps to avert any such attacks especially after the transfer of power on the 7th of January, 2017. Our advice to our comrades is to as much as possible avoid confrontations and stay clear off volatile environments.
PERFORMANCE OF THE NDC IN THE 2016 ELECTIONS
The performance by the NDC in this year’s election will go down as the most abysmal and dreadful by any major political party in the history of Ghana. As quoted by the electoral commission of Ghana, H.E. John Mahama garnered 4,713,277 votes as compared to 5,716,026 votes by the main opposition candidate. An unprecedented difference of 1,002,754 votes.
The picture of the monumental failure is even clearer when it is compared to the 2012 performance of the NDC. After about 1.7 million more people were added to the electoral register for the 2016 general election, the NDC’s candidate rather dropped by as much as 861,484 votes in 2016 as compared to the 2012 results. Conversely the votes of the main opposition candidate increased by 467,128 over the 2012 performance.
The NDC’s performance in the parliamentary polls can best be described as catastrophic as it lost 44 seats out of the 148 seats it currently holds in parliament. To situate issues in context, these results were churned out when the NDC government’s infrastructural development is peerless in the country’s recent history. It is quite evident that this year’s campaign was also the most resourced campaign in the party’s history. Clearly something fundamentally has gone wrong. Surely the rank and file of the NDC are justified when they demand for probity and accountability from their leaders who led them to a battle that has left them distraught, dejected and devastated.
ACCOUNTABILITY FROM OUR LEADERS
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, our mission here is simple. To communicate the feelings of majority of our rank and file of the party in order to help shape the destiny of the political party which was built on the pillars of integrity, probity and accountability. It has been 14 long days since the NDC lost the December elections, there has been no concerted effort on the part of the national party leadership of the party to address the teeming supporters, let alone assuage their pain for the humiliating loss.
In a crisis situation like this, the least expected of the national party leadership is to put in place mechanisms to begin to hear out the serious concerns of the rank and file of our party knowing very well that as a public organization, our party is open to scrutiny from both within and without. The lack of timely and relevant direction has led to the outbreak of blame games across board on both traditional and social media.
Even more problematic are high ranking party executives and other stakeholders who are also indulging in blame shifting in a desperate exercise of
self-preservation. A classic example is the Greater Accra Regional Organizer of the NDC who sought to blame the founder of the party and former president, H.E. Flt Lt J.J. Rawlings for the defeat of the NDC. It is very well known to him that the national leadership never engaged the founder before, during or after the election. He had no objections when a couple of high ranking government officials stated publicly that they didn’t need the founder of the party to win an election. He stood aloof when the founder was retired unilaterally by the General Secretary of the NDC in a radio interview carried on Joy FM. Our checks indicate that, the organizers of the Greater Accra final regional rally which included the regional organizer didn’t bother to inform the founder even though they had advertised the rally for close to a week with the founder supposedly billed to grace the occasion. It was not until less than 24 hours to the rally when a team from the region decided to come to the office of the former president on a Sunday with the intention of informing and inviting him. Not surprisingly they met his absence. In a fantastic U turn however the Greater Accra Regional Organizer has without shame decided to twist facts, conjure events and misrepresent routine protocol engagements as being
antagonistic or friendly to one party or the other.
This narration is to highlight the fact that these erratic and outrageous claims are not limited only to the non-executive members of the NDC.
NO BLAME GAME
We are admonished by our leaders not to raise party issues in the media or not to play the blame game. We have a simple question; in the face of the unprecedented accomplishments of the President Mahama led administration and enormous resources made available, do we have leadership that will step up to the stage and accept responsibility for the embarrassing defeat in the same way they took credit for previous victories?
We will not indulge in blame game but it is important for us to recollect a few factual happenings that were played out in the public domain before, during and after the elections:
1. Starvation of the grassroots in the midst of plenty; disbursement of resources and logistics was not based on any scientific deductions but rather according to the fancy of the beholder
2. There had been countless complaints of the party structure being ignored on numerous instances
3. On the Election Day, thousands of supporters were stranded and eventually did not vote as a result of very poor transport arrangements
4. The link between the poorly managed parliamentary primaries and the eventual outcome of the parliamentary elections is very strong and undeniable
The above were symptoms of a malfunctioning system which were broadly left unaddressed by leadership
A MUST FOR THE NATIONAL LEADERSHIP TO STEP ASIDE
The national leadership of the party almost led the teeming supporters of the NDC on a needless collision course which could have resulted in casualties and fatalities of innocent people.
The nation was made to believe that 8 hours after close of polls the NPP had put in a system that had collated results from 75% of polling stations with the appropriate source document. On the contrary, 48 hours later; 30 minutes to the declaration of the results by the electoral commission,the national party leadership of the NDC still claimed without sharing any facts or figures that they were in a comfortable lead to victory. Supporters were asked to wear white apparels and go onto the streets to jubilate. The eventual outcome as announced a few moments later by the electoral commissioner was a defeat by the widest margin ever in the history of Ghana- over one million votes.
We don’t know what influenced the judgment of leadership but it was very clear that the perspective they held and the reality were miles apart. It
will be difficult for party members to trust them to carry out an objective inquest at this time especially when some of them have already rushed to radio stations to tout their monumental contributions to the campaign.
Paradoxically, the leaders will go into conclave to ask themselves what went wrong. This is unacceptable because no one should sit in judgment or decide who sits in judgment of his own performance especially when the outcome of the performance is abysmal.
In the interest of the party, the national party leadership should offer the best Christmas gift to the party especially its grass root supporters, by communicating to the council of elders their decision to step aside enbloc at the earliest day possible. This will trigger the much needed inquest into the activities of the partyat the branch, constituency, regional and national level that led to the miserable defeat. An accurate diagnosis is the first step towards recovery.
The crusade for probity and accountability has come to stay. It has begun the crusade with a call redemption from within the party which was built on the pillars of probity and accountability. It however serves a note of caution to the incoming administration that they should learn from the lessons of the past and avoid cultivating the negative atmosphere of regime change which leads to the abuse and infringement of fundamental human rights. When that happens they can be sure that majority of Ghanaians will be galvanized to stand up to them in conformity with the law.
However if the processes adopted to fight corruption are free, fair,just and devoid of witch hunting we will have no reason to stand in the way justice.
DR KWESI DJOKOTO
(CONVENER- CRUSADE FOR PROBITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY)