The Kwesi Botchway Report is the result of a committee set up by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) after the party’s disastrous performance at the 2016 polls. The nation was informed amid wild publicity that the KB Committee will unravel some of the reasons why the largely popular NDC performed also abysmally during the 2016 elections.
So high was the expectations of then outcome and deep the sense of loss, that many Ghanaians did not want any analysis on the whys and hows for the NDC’s poor performance. Prior to the end of the KB Committee’s consultations, and immediately after the elections, some pundits diagnosed the NDC’s problems. Such pundits were often told, “let us wait for KB report.”
Now that the KB Report is out, at least that is what we are told, the message has changed. Now we are told it is an internal report, whose contents must remain hidden. Anytime reference is made to the report by independent political and media analysts such as Kweku Baako, some sections of the NDC describe them as ‘fake’ news. The NDC can do itself a favour by releasing the report, at least for its members. However, that is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future. Why?
It appears that the KB Committee was hurriedly constituted by old sages within the NDC (names withheld for now), whose sole agenda was not to unravel the reasons for the party’s poor performance, but for three reasons.
Reason number one, to put the blame for the party’s defeat at the door step of former President John Mahama (JM) in order to stop him from harbouring any future Presidential ambitions. There is a cabal within the NDC which sees President Mahama as leading a core group of non ‘cadres’ whose presence in the NDC they abhor and blame for everything from climate change in Ghana to the party’s electoral defeat. Some of these elements are also loyalists of the last John Atta Mills who seemed to have lost leadership positions in the President Mahama. This cabal would also like to see the back of President Mahama whom they tried to undermine throughout his period in office. Cast a look back to the 2016 campaigns. Where was the NDC leadership in the campaign? Almost non-existent during the Presidential campaigns.
Reason number two is how to deal with the NDC’s bogeyman, the founder of the NDC, ex-President Jerry Rawlings. The same cabal mentioned above have no lost love for President Jerry Rawlings. Like Mahama, they would like to see the back of Jerry Rawlings. The only problem is that Rawlings seem to remain largely popular among the grassroots NDC members and is as unmovable as the rock of Gibraltar. In addition, Rawlings is not about to lie down and allow those he considers “greedy bastards” to take over his party, and has been making manoeuvres since the 2016 elections.
Since the 2016 elections, rumours and counter rumour have been swelling about Rawlings striking deals with elements close the former National Reform Party for a Presidential candidate acceptable to him (Rawlings), someone more to his liking. Since he was defeated, Rawlings has always fancied the role of backseat driver in Flagstaff House. Others maintain that Rawlings could still be hunting for his man at the helm of the NDC.
Reason no 3, some refer to the unfulfilled ambitions of people like Kwesi Botchway, who since he lost power as Minister of Finance, has also harboured ambitions of leading the NDC as its frontman. Come to think of it, this is legitimate, but unlike ex-Presidents Rawlings and Mahama, Kwesi Botchway does not seem to have grassroots support. His supporters seem to be backroom, old shadowy ideologues incapable of mobilising popular support either in the party or out of it.
There are many of such people in the NDC. Ex-President Mahama irks them. Without the charisma of former President John Mahama, nor popular recognition in the country, such elements can only remain in the news by propagating a report whose conclusions might not favour their ambitions.
By all accounts, the un unintended consequences of setting up of the Kwesi Botchway Committee is coming home to roost. It seems to have failed on all counts. Former President Mahama still has a hard core of loyal supporters in the NDC. They will not abandon their leader at his time of need. Rawllings too has his core of supporters in the NDC, who are likely to stand by their man.
Both camps (Rawlings and JM) remain ebullient and confident of their role within the NDC. The KB report may have failed to deliver the killer punch which would have seen both NDC stalwarts sprawling on the floors of their multi-million-dollar complex.
If that is the case, does the KB report (which I have not seen) provide the raison d’etre for other leaders of the NDC to feel triumphant? I doubt it. Until the report is made public, and the issues interrogated, all those with ambitions for high office in the NDC will have to wait, they could be in for a shock.
In the meantime, by failing to make the KB Report public, the beneficiaries remain Ex-Presidents Jerry Rawlings and John Mahama. The report has not seen Rawlings or Mahama cowering for cover. That seems to suggest that if the old backroom initiators of the Kwesi Botchway Committee thought they could kill off these two leading lights in the NDC, they have miscalculated. They will need a different approach.
The Writer is the Managing Editor of Public Agenda Newspaper