The camp of former President John Dramani Mahama has adopted a rather cunning method of procuring endorsement from National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) for him in the lead to the flagbearership contest of the party.
It has emerged that some MPs were deceived into signing a document which was supposed to seek endorsement for Mr. Mahama who unprecedentedly lost the 2016 election as a sitting president.
The MPs said they were blackmailed into putting pen on paper to endorse John Mahama.
MP for Yunyoo in the Northern Region, Joseph Bipoba Naabu, who was a victim of the endorsement scam, disclosed that he was deceived into signing the endorsement for former President John Mahama.
“NDC leadership must stop the politics of falsehood and deceit. I have not signed any letter to give support for Mr John Mahama’s candidature. I give my full support to Hon Alban Bagbin,” he is reported as saying.
According to him, the document was given to him to sign and he did so thinking he was signing an attendance sheet to check absenteeism in parliament.
He said unknown to him, he was signing a document prepared by “Mahama boys,” who wanted to create the impression that the former president has an overwhelming support of the MPs by making them sign the so-called MPs4JM document.
In an interview granted Accra-based Asempa FM, Joseph Naabu claimed the camp of the former president perpetrated fraud on him.
The MP, who has already endorsed Mr. Mahama’s opponent, Alban Bagbin, noted that there is no way he would endorse the former president after he had already endorsed another candidate.
Alban Bagbin wants to be NDC flagbearer for 2020 elections
He said when the list was making the rounds on the floor of Parliament, there was no indication that it was seeking an endorsement for the former president.
He said he later found out from former Deputy Energy Minister, John Jinapor and others who came to his office that he had actually signed a document endorsing Mr. Mahama. The MPs4JM campaign is said to be spearheaded by Clement Apaak.
“I was very furious because they deceived me into signing something I don’t believe in. I have endorsed Alban Bagbin and I believe he is the right person to lead the NDC in 2020,” he indicated.
The MP accused the camp of the former president of resorting to negative propaganda to gain cheap political advantage.
He indicated that Mr. Mahama and his ‘boys’ cannot convince him to vote for him, adding that the former president has no chance of winning the race.
“Even in my constituency, they can’t convince anyone to vote for Mahama, how much more me. These JM boys should stop this negative propaganda; on the day of elections, all these boys will sleep early,” Mr. Naabu jeered.
Dr. Clement Apaak says no MP was blackmailed
Mr. Naabu shared similar sentiments with former MP for La Dadekotopon, Nii Amasah Namoale who said that the 94 MPs that supposedly endorsed Mr. Mahama were emotionally abused and blackmailed to do so.
He described as “laughable” claims that 94 MPs had endorsed Mr. Mahama as the flagbearer of the party.
According to Mr. Namoale, out of the 106 NDC MPs, only a paltry six from the Volta Region signed the document to endorse Mr. Mahama as the party’s flagbearer after they were promised future ministerial roles.
“One of the MPs contacted told me some of them were blackmailed and others promised ministerial positions so they had no other choice than to endorse Mahama,” Mr. Namoale told Asempa FM.
He indicated that the decision by the camp of the former president to blackmail the MPs to endorse him would cripple the party if the deceit continues.
“I know the majority of NDC MPs have been blackmailed, coerced and enticed with ministerial positions just to endorse Mahama. This will cripple the party if it continues,” he added.
MP for La Dadekotopon, Nii Amasah Namoale says the MPs have been abused
The former MP also bemoaned the unfair advantage the former president seems to be enjoying at the expense of the other contestants.
Mr. Namoale, who is a supporter of Joshua Alabi, one of the contestants, stated that no amount of ‘tyranny’ from the NDC would derail their agenda.
“No matter the hand twisting and democratic tyranny, we will still contest. Nothing will convince Prof Alabi to step down,” he added.
Some 12 MPs have not signed up, including Second Deputy Speaker, Alban Bagbin, who has also expressed interest in contesting for the flagbearership position.
MP for Adaklu Constituency in the Volta Region, Kwame Governs Agbodza, told Joy FM that the Mahama lobby is a private initiative that does not need the blessing of the leadership of the Minority.
Agbodza said a campaign war chest has been opened to raise funds and resources to back their candidate.
He disputed claims that MPs are being pressurised to sign up or else risk losing their seats in parliamentary primaries ahead of the presidential primary.
But Keta MP, Richard Quashigah, argued that while it is within the democratic right of MPs to endorse a candidate, the move was not necessary.
“Is this all necessary? I don’t think so,” he said.
The MP also questioned the authenticity of the signature-collection claim and challenged his colleague NDC MP, Agbodza, to publish the list.
He said as at last Thursday, only six out of 25 MPs from the Volta regional caucus had signed up and said the party needs a new face for the 2020 general election after suffering an “unpalatable” defeat with John Mahama whom he described as “lame duck.”
Former President John Mahama wants to lead the NDC again
Meanwhile, former Finance Minister, Professor Kwesi Botchwey has indicated that the absence of decency, honesty and integrity which are salient components of ethical politics is the reason for the defeat of the NDC in the 2016 elections.
Prof Botchwey, who led a committee to investigate the cause of the NDC’s humiliating defeat in the 2016 elections, noted that integrity defects in the appointments of party executives and a general absence of ethical politics contributed to the party’s defeat.
Speaking at the 6th Atta Mills commemorative lecture in Cape Coast on Monday, he said the party is working feverishly to restore ethicality in its organizational setup.