Politics of Thursday, 16 August 2018
Even before the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) goes to the polls on December 7, 2018 to elect a flagbearer for the 2020 general elections, one of the contenders, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, appears to have thrown in the towel.
The former Trade and Industry Minister is now saying that he would gladly accept to become former President John Mahama’s running mate, and in the same breath he is insisting that he will defeat Mahama to become the NDC’s flagbearer.
Mr Spio-Garbrah’s statements about his presidential ambition since the NDC was defeated massively in the 2016 general elections have always been contradictory.
He said in May last year that he would not contest if former President Mahama decides to contest the NDC flagbearership position.
He, however, made a U-turn in August last year about his plans to become flagbearer when his spokesperson Kweku Tawiah Ampah urged the public to disregard any news that Dr Spio-Garbrah had abandoned his plans to lead the NDC in 2020.
“I can assure you that come 2018, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah will run,” he said on Citi FM in Accra, emphasizing that the former minister would contest even if former president Mahama decides to make a comeback.
“Even if he decides to run, he should know that he will be contested, that is what he stated. What it means is that we should give the former president a courtesy of either refusing or deciding to run as a respect for his presidency and the fact that he was the leader of the NDC…But this doesn’t mean that Spio-Garbrah will not run,” his spokesperson said.
The Coordinator of the ‘Spio-Garbrah Fan Club’ Isaac Kofi Ahimah, 63, who was said to have been dismissed by the former minister, accused him recently of not being serious about his presidential ambition.
He said “Dr Spio-Garbrah is lying about his resolve to lead the party in 2020.”
Mr Ahimah said Spio-Garbrah declared in Aflao during the NDC Unity Walk that he was withdrawing from the race to throw his weight behind ex-President Mahama.
He said he even facilitated a meeting between Spio-Garbrah and former President Mahama through Julius Debrah where the former Minister allegedly reiterated that he was no longer interested in the NDC’s flagbearership race once the ex-President wants to contest again.
However, on Joy TV in Accra yesterday, Mr. Spio-Garbrah, said he will accept to be the running mate of former President John Mahama to serve Ghana and strengthen his party.
His explanation to the host, Kojo Yankson, was that he and former President Mahama had worked together in the past and he would not hesitate to continue that relationship.
“He was my deputy at the Communications Ministry once and when he became President, he asked me to join his government and we worked together…” he said adding “…I am happy to work with him in any of the permutations that you are speculating.”
He then said he expects to win the contest rather than settle for running mate, saying “but the scenario you are painting is not what is likely to happen, I intend to win the flagbearship race of the NDC.”
Speaking on the loss of the party in 2016, Dr Spio-Garbrah noted that the communication of the party’s message failed them.
Reflecting on the NDC’s massive defeat in December 2016, he said some of the party’s communicators in places like the Ashanti Region, did not know the campaign message of the party in the 2016 election.
“I asked them what message the NDC had for the electorate in 2016 and of the 58 communicators, none of them knew it,” he lamented, adding “there was a big manifesto but it was in big English and not broken into simple language.”