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NDC 2020 Presidential Candidate KWESI BOTCHWEY JOINS RACE

Politics

Information trickling into the offices of the Daily Statesman from the cadre front of the National Democratic Congress is that former (P) NDC Secretary/Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Kwesi Botchwey, is expected to make a strong case for the 2020 presidential slot of the opposition party.

Information trickling into the offices of the Daily Statesman from the cadre front of the National Democratic Congress is that former (P) NDC Secretary/Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Kwesi Botchwey, is expected to make a strong case for the 2020 presidential slot of the opposition party.

 

Senior NDC cadres, who support his bid, and are putting pressure on him to step forward, include some party Regional Chairmen and former MPs.

They have confirmed reports that Dr Botchwey is warming up to contest as the flagbearer for the tottering NDC “at the right time,” citing his economic prowess and credentials, his cross-sectional appeal and unblemished track record as ‘great assets’ for the party. 

Kwesi Botchwey abandoned active party politics after 2002 to work with the World Bank on a programme to help restructure economies in the Third World, after a fruitful stint handling Ghana’s economy for over a decade under the World Bank’s Structural Adjustment Programme and PAMSCAD of the 1980s.

The NDC is currently being ripped apart by branch elections, arising from bogus processes blamed on party General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, and alleged divisive tendencies of former President Mahama, who, stalwarts like former Deputy Minister of Finance Moses Asaga, point out, should not attempt to run for the presidency again, on account of the corruption tag hanging on his head, like the proverbial Sword of a Damocles.

Mustapha Mohammed Tahiru Ayariga, NDC Vice Chairman in Asawase, and Alhaji Ibrahim Ali, alias Dan Baba, a leading party member, believe the 2020 campaign will be dominated by corruption, and therefore want the party to present a candidate who is “not dogged by corruption”, a clear suggestion that Mr Mahama is ‘dogged by corruption.’

“As the 2020 campaign will be dominated by corruption, NDC will do itself a lot of good if it presents a candidate not dogged by corruption,” Alhaji Ali was quoted by the GNA to have said.

Daily Statesman has learnt that the corruption tag is so much damaging the former President’s campaign efforts that his initial support base on the ground, fuelled by cash, is dwindling, with quiet defections into other camps, even though the defectors maintained their presence in the just-ended Unity Walks to earn their foot-soldier campaign allowances.

Cadres known personally to Kwesi Botchwey, including former drivers and Ministry of Finance general staff, hail the former Minister as an “affable and understanding politician, who mingled positively with the crowd, while improving their lot as Minister at the Finance Ministry.”

Dr Botchwey’s landing on the turf affirms the ‘corruption’ and ‘incompetency’ tag assailing the John Mahama campaign, and has compelled several flagbearer hopefuls to pop up, including Alban Bagbin, Sylvester Mensah, Joshua Alabi and Ekow Spio-Garbrah.

It would have been the second time the longest serving Minister for Finance would be running for the flagbearer of the NDC, after a failed attempt in 2002 to annex the position.

In 2002, Dr Botchwey, in a rare show of bravado, defied the NDC and, with the support of then party Chairman Obed Asamoah, contested the slot under mired circumstances at a Congress held at Legon.

Frustrated with the culture of silence reigning in the NDC, Dr Botchwey resigned and left Ghana to engage in international development agencies’ effort, while Obed Asamoah moved on to form the Democratic Freedom Party, with persecuted Bede Ziedeng as General Secretary and former NDC National Women’s Organizer Frances Assam, who was also terrorized at that Congress, becoming Women’s Organizer of the DFP.

The former Finance Minister decided to contest the slot in the heat of the decision that foisted the late Professor Atta Mills on the NDC by the party hierarchy in what was then known as the Swedru Declaration, following the exit of Jerry John Rawlings, after 2000.