Some leading members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who have shown interest in contesting for the party’s flagbearership, turned their backs on the ‘unity walk’ initiated to ‘unite’ the party ahead of the 2020 polls.
They and the founder of the party, former President Jerry John Rawlings, were absent from the unity walk at Tarkwa on Saturday.
The party stalwarts, including former majority leader and current 2nd deputy speaker of parliament, Alban Bagbin; former Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and former National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) chief executive officer (CEO), Sylvester Mensah, as well as the immediate past Rector of the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA), Joshua Alabi, stayed away.
Their absence left the walk to earn a sobriquet ‘Mahama Unity Walk’ because it was only former President John Mahama and his supporters who undertook the exercise.
Not even former Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur was present.
Mr Amissah-Arthur, who enjoys the support of Baba Kamara – former National Security Advisor – for the NDC presidential race, was also conspicuously missing at the Cape Coast walk.
It was unclear why he did not attend the two events staged ostensibly to bring harmony to the seriously divided party.
In his address at the event, Mr Mahama conceded that the party was polarized ahead of the 2016 polls, although he strongly insisted during last year’s electioneering campaign that the NDC was a united party.
I’m Not Aspirant
Former President Mahama blatantly told the NDC activists who have been endorsing him as the next candidate of the party for the 2020 general elections to focus on the party’s re-organization, particularly at the grassroots level.
“I have not said anywhere that I am contesting as president. The time is not due for that and we have lots of work to do. So today if I open my mouth to say I will contest or not, it will take our focus from the re-organization.
“I promise you when the time comes I will make my intentions known, but now let us all focus on the job we have at our hands,” Mr Mahama underscored.
Immediate past Rector of the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA), Joshua Alabi
According to him, some people had taken the unity walk at a different level.
He explained that the NDC currently does not have a presidential candidate and that the nomination would be opened next year.
He said the NDC was divided particularly at the grassroots levels prior to the 2016 elections, hence the need to organize the walk to help unite it at the grassroots.
He therefore admonished the party supporters to play active roles in its rebuilding process and ensure that they offer maximum support for any person who emerges as the flagbearer.
“Let us forgive the sins of each other so we can forge ahead and then when we go for the presidential congress, we all support the individual that emerges as flagbearer, then that person takes us to the elections in 2020,” he declared.
Some leading figures that took part in the Tarkwa walk were Ato Ahwoi; former Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo; former High Commissioner to India, Sam Pee Yalley; former Minister for Energy and his deputies, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah and John Abdulai Jinapor and former deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Sampson Ahi, among others.