The campaign team of John Mahama has expressed disappointment over the exclusion of former President John Mahama from a recent meeting involving the party’s Council of Elders, some aspirants and representatives of the party executive committee.
The team in a statement said the development appears to suggest that the campaign to lead the party into the 2020 polls is one of eight aspirants against John Mahama, and not a competition among the individual flagbearer hopefuls.
“It is our humble view that the said meeting could have included all other aspirants or their representatives, especially as the matters in issue border on the interest of all concerned. The impending flagbearership election should be seen as a contest among individuals desirous of leading the NDC in the 2020 elections and not as one between a group of persons against a particular candidate”, the statement said.
Eight flagbearer hopefuls of the NDC, excluding former President John Mahama, on Thursday met with the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, and the Council of Elders, due to the recent misunderstanding that has ensued over the filing and nomination fees.
The meeting was at the behest of the Council of Elders who appear to serve as mediators between the flagbearer hopefuls and the NEC.
The flagbearer hopefuls had been protesting the committee’s decision to charge each aspirant GHS 420,000 as filing and nomination fee, while the NEC justified the amount.
This forced the concerned flagbearer aspirants to petition the Council of Elders over the matter, but the John Mahama campaign team believes it was unfair for him not to be included in the meeting although he has not publicly protested over the earlier guidelines for the upcoming elections as he was the first person to pick nomination forms.
Commenting on the intervention of the Council of Elders to extend the date for the presidential primaries from January 19 to January 26, the Mahama campaign team said such decisions should be taken with consideration of giving the elected flagbearer ample time to campaign ahead of the 2020 presidential elections.
“We believe that we have the most marketed candidate in John Dramani Mahama. But in the most unlikely event of a different flagbearer emerging, a longer campaign period would inure to the benefit of that person. We have to be mindful of the 2019 timetable announced by the Electoral Commission and the need to ensure that the party provides ample space to participate in those activities. In this regard, the John Mahama campaign acknowledges the changes in the guidelines, including the review of the date and reduction of filing fees announced by the Functional Executive Committee (FEC), following consultation with the Council of Elders,” it said.
It added that, “We understand that the important consideration by National Executive Committee (NEC) that should there be a need for a run off after the 26th January 2019 elections, there should be ample time for it to take place before the expiration of the 7th March 2019 constitutional deadline.”
On the cost of the filing and nomination fees, GHS 420,000, which many of the aspirants said was too high and formed basis for their petition to the Council of Elders for intervention, the John Mahama campaign team said while it admits that the funds was going to help the party organize the upcoming primaries, it needed to come up with innovative ways of raising funds to carry out its mandate.
“The John Mahama campaign shares the view that the party needs to embark on new initiatives to raise funds for party activities in the medium to long-term. In the immediate instance, we appreciate the financial challenges of the National Executive Committee conducting the presidential primaries, which per the NDC’s constitution is time-bound.”
“Fulfilling our obligations as per the guidelines is in our view an aspect of fundraising for the successful conduct of the impending presidential primaries. Indeed the John Mahama Campaign similarly honoured its obligations in helping to raise funds to ensure the success of the recent national delegates Congress in Accra.”
The statement signed by the spokesperson for John Mahama’s campaign, James Agyenim-Boateng, further assured of their cooperation with the Functional Executive Committee, National Executive Committee and Council of Elders of the party.
The eight other aspirants contesting in the party’s flagbearership race are; John Mahama, Prof. Joshua Alabi, Alban Bagbin, Sylvester Mensah and Stephen Atubiga.
The others are Ekow Spio Garbrah, Nurideen Iddrissu, Goosie Tanoh and Kojo Bonsu.
The NDC will hold its presidential primaries on January 26, after an intervention from the Council of Elders pushed from January 19, 2018.