The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) at Ashaiman was on Thursday reignited, following colossal crowd which poured out to witness the launch of the Phase One of a grassroots party empowerment and a self-financing project dubbed the ‘Ahotɔ’ Project by a leading member of the party, Dr Kwabena Duffuor.
Party elders, the rank and file of the NDC including constituency and branch executives and supporters attended the launch of the project.
The crowd flooded the streets of Ashaiman to showcase their love for the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), thereby, causing massive vehicular traffic for their party leader to easily travel through the municipality to the venue.
Members of the NDC at Ashaiman proved that, indeed, the party loves the former Finance Minister who is hoping to lead the party.
Elated-looking people from all corners of the constituency were seen singing songs and dancing to the party’s song to welcome Dr Duffuor.
Speaking at the launch to formally begin the implementation of the project, the former Finance Minister told the party supporters that the project is an outcome of his stakeholder engagements with the rank and file of the NDC and his quest to bring a new approach to politics.
He said “The Ahotɔ project launched today is a testament to the power of stakeholder engagement, and its credit rests on the rank and file of the party. All these years, you have held the fort for the party and borne the responsibility of catering for the needs of your many constituents.
“Late-night calls about a member rushed to the hospital, days when you struggle to pool funds for party mobilization and the numerous financial burdens which come with your leadership as constituency executives.”
He continued by paying tribute to the grassroots leadership of the NDC for their sacrifices to the party.
“Throughout these challenging times, you have risen to the occasion and sacrificed your own resources to support the welfare of members and activities of the party. Today, we celebrate you for these efforts and dedicate this project to you all for your diligence and commitment.”
Touching on the implementation plan at the launch of the Ahotɔ Project, Dr Duffuor explained that the main aim of this flagship grassroots party support project is geared towards setting up all the 275 constituencies with micro-businesses in order to create the much needed but currently unavailable local cash flow for the day-to-day running of the NDC at the grassroots level.
He asked the grassroots leaders for the need to manage the project in line with the NDC’s basic principles.
“We are launching this initiative here in the Ashaiman constituency – one of the strongholds of our party in the Greater Accra Region. In the next few weeks and months, we will extend this initiative to all 275 constituencies for everyone in our party to benefit from it.
‘’As I have already pointed out, a resourced party is a strong party. Revenue belongs at our grassroots, not the top, and we must build this party from the ground, upwards. This initiative is also a test of our highest ideals as a party – probity, and accountability,” Dr. Duffuor said.
He pointed out that the Ahotɔ Project is under the management of constituency leadership, who will be accountable to their constituents for the proceeds of these businesses.
The constituency business support project, according to Dr Duffuor, will put a reliable support system in place to generate income for the smooth running of the party at the local level.
He advised party members to engage in the new politics of ideas and reminded party members that it is important to think of creative ways to generate money for the NDC because, without money, it is not easy to run a political party or its campaigns to win elections.
“The truth is, politics is an expensive undertaking. No political party can remain competitive and relevant without being well resourced at all times. Another truth is that the core of our politics is our grassroots base. It is why matters of welfare, mobilization, and outreach must always be at the heart of our efforts in party management.”
He called the Ahotɔ Project the “new approach” to politics, adding that “This seed is being sown in the life of our party. It is a response to a call for aid in the spirit of building the NDC. May this represent our new approach to politics henceforth. In the face of challenges, let us engage to find solutions. At all times, may we be guided by the value of collaboration and its power to generate relevant solutions? That is what the Ahotɔ Project represents and that is how we will rebuild our party – together’’.
The idea of Ahotɔ which means ‘’relief’’ in the Akan language, according to the Project Manager, Abass Osabutey, is the outcome of a business feasibility study commissioned by Dr. Duffuor and carried out by a technical team throughout the 275 constituencies in the country to identify the most feasible and sustainable business idea capable of financing NDC activities at the local level.
He explained that each constituency shall receive accessories, logistics, and equipment worth 30,000 Ghana cedis to enable the smooth implementation of the business project. This brings the total investment to 8,250,000 Ghana cedis.
Abass Osabutey said“For example, in our local settings, social events such as funerals, naming ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, durbars, political campaigns, and rallies are mostly outdoor activities. This places a high demand on plastic chairs, canopies, public address systems, power generators, podiums, mobile toilets, etc. Phase One of the project which starts from the Ashaiman constituency will cover 48 constituencies selected, based on constituencies with the highest voter population and those that are orphan constituencies.”
Abass Osabutey also said the project brings relief to overburdened party MPs and local executives who have supported local party activities for years at their personal expense.
High profile members of the NDC including Ekwow Spio-Gabrah, former Education Minister, Fritz Baffour, former Information Minister, Horace Nii Ayi Ankrah, former Deputy Ambassador to China, Antwi Boasiako Sekyere, former Eastern Regional Minister and coordinator of Duffuor campaign among others were in attendance.