Dr Benjamin Kumbuor, former Minister for Defence

The battle to control and lead the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2024 general election is fueling wildfire in the main opposition party.

NDC has been in a political quagmire following the second successive defeat of former President John Dramani Mahama at the presidential elections in 2016 and 2020 and the party’s failure to collate its own election results in the two polls.

Whilst Mahama loyalists are calling for his return for the next elections, a cadre group within the party and unrepentant adherents of NDC founder, Jerry John Rawlings, are said to be fighting hard to rekindle the core values of the party as well as possibly replace the defeated former president with a new flagbearer.

One of such reformists and a stalwart of late President Rawlings is former Defence Minister Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kumbuor who has indicated that there are sycophants within NDC who are “inventing enemies” for former president Mahama through their public clamour for his automatic selection as flagbearer for the 2024 polls.

“You see, that is the problem of lack of scientific analyses”, Dr Kumbuor noted in an interview with Joy News on Monday.

According to him, the clamour for former president Mahama “is childish, uninformed, unscientific and anti-John Mahama”.

Dr Kumbuor believes the sycophants are not helping the former president with their commentary.

“The question we are raising is that you are doing a great disservice to the last flagbearer by this level of behaviour because if you are holding an office in the party and you know that you have not opened up the gateways for people to decide who should be flag bearer, why do you jump the gun? Once you do that, your leaked mission comes into question and in any way, you are not helping anybody by jumping the gun”.

Dr Kumbuor said such calls must be based on scientific analysis by NDC as the party does not belong to an individual neither does anybody hold the automatic right to lead it.

“John Mahama is an individual and just look at the logic: most of these people just do not understand what they are saying. Yesterday, people raised legitimate concerns that the NDC does not belong to Rawlings and I agree with them and have always said that an individual cannot own and control the party. What are you talking about today? Since when has that narrative changed?

“I believe he (Mahama) deals with it. What I know is that John Mahama has his style of engaging this issue. I have my style which might be different. Other leading members of the part have their style.

“If I were in John Mahama’s position and I have seen bits of it with Jerry John Rawlings; when you start behaving in this sycophantic manner, giving the impression that you are the one on whose health and breath John Mahama is surviving politically; many people will not take that”, he warned.

Mahama’s presence

Dr Kumbuor who is also a former Member of Parliament for Nandom Constituency in the Upper West Region said former President Mahama has “his presence; a leading and formidable person in the party”.

He however noted this, “does that mean that John Mahama himself accepts that he is now in control of the party?

“I don’t believe that is the way he thinks and people should not be in a hurry to invent enemies for John Mahama and that is exactly what I’m saying and I don’t know the motivation for people to sandbag John Mahama in that way”.

Fixing internal challenges

According to Dr Kumbuor, NDC is better off focusing on fixing its internal challenges before even thinking of the next flag bearer.

“What we should be talking about today in terms of what you see in the media is: ‘who should be the flag bearer’, ‘who should not be the flag bearer’. Those are the anglings enabled. And I said: ‘No, you’re putting the cart before the horse’. It’s on most of the party platforms: ‘You need to deal with this and A should be the flag bearer and B should not be the flag bearer and A should be the flag bearer’ and I say that conversation is not opportune, it is irrelevant, it’s an invention of a problem onto the party, which they might not have immediate answers to but the issue of who becomes the flag bearer is contingent on a number of very specific issues which need to be addressed so that any flag bearer’s position becomes relevant.

“I can give you a number of scenarios. For instance, who has raised a question about a possible contest for a flag bearer? Nobody. So, why is it important and why are you thinking that you are helping anybody beyond sycophancy of saying that A must automatically be the flag bearer? Why do you jump when no one has pushed you?”

Selection of flagbearer

Dr Kumbuor entreated all party members to abide by the mechanisms for choosing NDC’s flagbearer and other national officers of the party.

“We have a mechanism for electing our leaders, imperfect as it might be, but what happens is that a mechanism exists. What we do not have a mechanism for are the challenges we are facing – internal party democracy, how to maintain the values of the party – and they are the ones that require engagement and wider conversation”, he insisted.

SOURCEBy thecustodianghonline.com/ Paul Awuni
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