Former President John Dramani Mahama says he is taking the blame for the massive defeat suffered by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which he led, in the 2016 general election, if that will satisfy those apportioning blame over who actually caused the party’s defeat.
“Of course, as the general who led us into battle, I take ultimate responsibility for our losing the election and so if it will satisfy those people, blame me for the loss.”
The former president made the statement recently when he met all the appointees who served under his government before being defeated massively by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
He acknowledged that the NDC lost the election but said, “We should have done some things better,” adding, “But let’s use this opportunity as a learning opportunity to be able to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes that we did in 2016.”
Commenting on the current jostling over who should be the NDC presidential candidate in 2020, Ex-President Mahama likened the party’s current state to a horse in a metaphorical manner and said it was premature to talk about who would be the leader.
“I believe people talking about leadership and presidency is absolutely premature. If you ride a lame horse into a race and you lose the race your priority must be to cure the lameness of the horse and not about who will ride the horse again.”
He added, “You have to cure the horse and make sure it is no longer lame; and once you have a fit healthy horse, it will throw up who the jockey should be.”
“Absolutely, I believe that the issue of leadership is based on the dynamics of the time. If we do our work well, we do good branch tree organization, bring it to the constituency level, regional level and have a strong healthy party, the dynamics of the time will determine who should lead the party; and I am saying that whoever leads the party I am a committed member. I will support that person to the hilt.”
He stated that those party bigwigs granting media interviews to wash the NDC’s dirty linen in public were doing a disservice to the party saying. “At this time we must be standing together.”
Mr Mahama said as the NDC waited for the Prof. Kwesi Botchwey Committee to present its report, the party could put in the process of what he called “branch tree organization, first looking at the register.”
The register, he said, “Was one of the major issues that people complained about – whether we have a credible register, even for the kind of parliamentary, presidential, constituency elections that we are going to hold. These are issues that we need to begin to discuss at this time.”
“I’ve been meeting with FEC and the elders; the chairman of the party is now the leader according to our constitution, but all of us are members of the party. We’ve served at high level of government and so we have a role to play both as ex-president, ex-vice president, as ministers of state and our fortunes are tied in with the party; and we are committed members of the party so we must work to make sure that we put the party in a state where we are able to contribute to the progress of this country even in opposition by making sure that we provide the kind of opposition that safeguards the interest of the people.”
Mr John Dramani Mahama added, “And that is why we need to rally around together as quickly as possible. We have set up a committee that is supposed to go round and analyze the reason for our loss. People are not taking advantage of the committee; they are going on air and saying this person was the cause of our loss, that person was the cause of our loss. But I’ve said that the cause of our loss is multifaceted. And we need to do a careful analysis of it, get the report and be able to break down exactly what resulted in our loss.”
The immediate past president has urged would-be presidential hopefuls to be confident and defend his (Mahama’s) records because they will have to run on them come the next elections.
He said the party is stuck with his records as they prepare for the 2020 polls – whether they like it or not.
“I think that we were effective in virtually every sector of the economy which we operated. And I think that we left quite a legacy for the country and shouldn’t feel ashamed or have our heads bowed in anyway.”
“Let’s continue to defend that legacy and those records because it’s the same legacy we will run on in 2020 – whether you like me or not. Whether you like Professor Mills or not, it is that term of office that we will run on. And so we must defend it even during this period.”