Former President John Dramani Mahama and Mark Owen Woyongo
The turmoil in the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) since it lost the December 2016 general elections in a humiliating fashion to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) does not appear to be subsidizing.
This is because more senior members of the main opposition party are now accusing ex-President John Dramani Mahama of running a failed campaign by surrounding himself with ‘young’ and ‘inexperienced’ people, leading to the party’s crushing defeat.
A party bigwig, Mark Owen Woyongo, who lost his seat as MP for Navrongo Central in the Upper East Region and was once Defence Minister, has given a damning verdict on the ex-president’s style of leadership.
Woyongo has joined some leading members of the party like Koku Anyidoho, Deputy General Secretary; Anita Desooso, Vice Chairperson; Joseph Bipoba Naabu, MP for Yunyoo; Yaw Boateng Gyan, former National Organizer, among many others, who have blamed Mahama for the abysmal performance of the NDC leading to its humiliating electoral defeat.
Mr. Woyongo, who was also once Minister of the Interior under the previous Mahama administration, told Ultimate FM in Kumasi yesterday that “I had reservations about Mahama’s leadership style.”
He said that then President Mahama fell short of quality leadership, although he (Mr. Mahama) had tried to ‘satisfy’ everybody.
“I have my own reservations about Mahama’s leadership style but that is a personal issue,” he admitted.
“I am waiting for the committee investigating our defeat and when they come around, I will raise my issues before them.”
Mr. Woyongo, who was the Upper East Regional Minister under President John Evans Atta Mills and received the Ford Expedition vehicle ‘gift’ from a Burkinabe contractor on behalf of John Mahama, underscored, “I think the former president tried to satisfy a whole lot of people but it didn’t go the way it should have gone and I am not ready to talk about the issues in the media…as I indicated, I am waiting for the committee.
“That notwithstanding, if the party people elect him as our flagbearer in the next elections, I will support him. In fact, I will even want to see him leading the NDC in 2020 because he is already marketed and will easily be marketed another time.”
On December 13, he attributed the loss of his Navrongo Central seat and the overall abysmal performance of the NDC in the election to the failure of the then NDC government in implementing key polices, and had said he was retiring from active politics.
He told 3FM in Accra that a combination of issues, including complacency and poor management of education-related polices like allowances were responsible for the NDC’s defeat.
“A combination of factors –the fact that some policies did not go down well with a lot of the people in my areas, especially the youth, the issue of school fees, high electricity and water tariffs contributed to the defeat,” he noted.
“They talked about these and it influenced parents because they have to pay high fees such as two thousand Ghana cedis. Most of the time I spent most of my common fund paying fees,” he added.
Mr Woyongo also said complacency set in during the NDC’s campaign, saying, “Coupled with that is the issue of complacency with which we approached the elections because we had done so much in the constituencies in the area of development and the party executives didn’t see the need to strain themselves so everybody relaxed.”
He reiterated his position on Ultimate FM that some policies of the Mahama government cost them the election.
“There were some of the policies, national in character that cost me the election. Increase in electricity tariffs and the general economic hardship, aside the fact that my party executives did not work well to seal the victory,” he noted during the interview.
By William Yaw Owusu