“I see so many of these new folks nowadays that seem to have neither past nor future. Conversation’s got to have some root in the past, or else you’ve got to explain every remark, and it wears a person out.” – Sarah Orne Jewett

Independent sources within the opposition National Democratic Congress say former president John Dramani Mahama is a worried man. He is faced with two headaches the kind which forced Adolf Hitler to blow up his head in his bunker, with a pistol, after accusing Generals of betraying him. This was after the Allied Forces, united in purpose, approached Hitler’s Berlin with armies, led by Generals with fire in their eyes.

Calling everybody a traitor, Hitler had a challenge taking the decision that normal leaders, in defeat, do. He began rather blaming all those who had helped him prop up himself as the Herr Infallible – until hope faded into desperation and suicide seemed the inevitable course to take.

Cagey

As we speak, the Ahwois, Totobi Quakyis, Professor Kwesi Botchweys and the Akrasi Sarpongs have all been distanced from the Mahama Campaign Machine. Occasionally showing up only over matters of policy, while they avoided the nitty-gritty, grassroots issues, the senior NDC cadres have gone into self-isolation.

NDC and Accra Hearts of Oaks Ato Ahwoi’s e-fundraising initiative, which he pledged to support the Mahama Campaign with, is still in limbo as communicators fight over Mahama coins.

Also sitting on the fence are the second generation cadres, including former MP, Dadekotopon and NDC flag bearer Sylvester Mensah. And, Prince Afotey Nii Laryea Agbo, who is considering whether to jump off the sinking boat and go back for his dad’s Stool or just fight for honour for the MP seat in 2020. The numbers that gave him victory are still slim. With the Free SHS Programme rolling out in oketeke fashion, numbing the NDC even in their northern and Volta strongholds as well as Nii Lante’s Odododiodioo and parts of Ursula’s indigenous Ga constituency, ‘The Lion’ is compelled to capitulate and join his extrovert Ga brother, Enoch Leetei Mensah on the sidelines.

Nii Agbo is about the few friends founder Jerry Rawlings has in the sinking MV NDC. His dad was a close friend of Jerry Rawlings and was patron of the NDC. Very revered among the Ga chiefs, he is the only one who would have supported Okyenhene’s anti-voodoo crusade, were he to be alive today. He stood out as the only Ga chief who respected his authority in terms of managing massive land resources bequeathed to him.

Unlike the rest [I won’t name them], Nii Katamanso had refused under pressure to allow the cut-and-paste land sale canker that hit Greater Accra since the late 90s to afflict him. Nii Agbo is doing his best to keep up the tradition, but the smell of cash has been too much – with political friends being his Waterloo because they also bring in friends and friends’ friends.

Interestingly, the NPP, not NDC is culminating in opening the Katamanso Forest up for parceling, leaving the Dodowa Forest and the Shai Reserve as the only Ga Forests. Interestingly, the NDC is likely to pick both seats along the Ga Forests stretch – Shai-Osudoku and Kpone Katamanso.

With those last bastions of indigenous Ga fighting power gone, the NDC’s clutch on Ga is spiritually ended, according the gospel of Papavi Yao. The third Forest, which is massively encroached, is Gua in Pokuase near the interchange, administered by spitfire Wulomo, Nuumo Gbelenfo. That seat is also already fallen to the NPP.

Indecision

Instead of the running mate list shriveling, it expands by the day. So far, over a dozen names have been flown around, with the latest being two former Finance Ministers and former deputy Finance Minister in the persons of Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, Seth Tekper and Cassiel Ato Forson.

It is appearing that the search for a Bawumia Beater in the 2020 Campaign may be fatiguing as the days progress and months turn into days for the crucial 2020 Round Three between Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and John Dramani Mahama.

Headache

The worry of the NDC and its leadership is that the flag bearer has not decisively settled on a running mate. Indecisive, am told by cadre friends that Johnny goes to bed late in the night, mulling over files and wakes up in start midnight, still doing the same. Not that the material is not available, but that the permutations and interests are intriguing.

For a party sold among Gas as pro-Ga, the NDC, unfortunately, is losing its top Ga stalwarts as much as the leading Ewes are fading out of significance in the party. Little wonder that La, Teshie and Nungua will be still in the grips of the NPP, even if the sitting MPs lose their seats in the primaries.

Simply put, the NDC’s power bases which are the Volta Region, northern regions and indigenous Accra, have fallen to the swarming armies of the NPP. Even founder Jerry Rawlings admits that fact. Strangely, this is happening under John Mahama, from whose hands the baton has slipped. No roots, no conversation, no history, heritage, destination and future…like a train without control…

The NDC’s situation in its World Bank is worse. Teacher Dan Abodakpi, Speaker Ken Dzirasah, Ambassador Victor Gbeho, former NDC chair…cautious Tsatsu Tsikata and ailing [or convalescing Kojo T]…the Dzelukope Mafia, like the Fante Caucus, is losing out to Mahama’s little band of barking dogs without ground strategies. Awkward military strategy…

“The names keep flying by the day,” Papavi Yevu was told by a former late Prof Evans Atta Mills aide.

As a result, word among top party stalwarts is that he [Mahama] is violating important inclusivity ethics to the annoyance of party elders who think “it is time to have the true picture in line with convention and practice.”

However, as we do this piece, John Mahama, top party insiders, including those who secured his ticket in picking the running mate slot, are not only getting edgy, “but frustrated with the ongoing political fidgeting” that may be found only in Mark Twain heroes and stories. Sammy Ablakwah and Sammy Gyamfi didn’t read Mark Twain’s characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Sammy Ofosu Ampofo may have.

In a meeting with a top functionary of the party at a popular spot at Labone, Papavi Yao learnt that “nobody is privy to anything and name as yet…Worse still, it appears he himself is not settled on any,” one leading Ga top NDC player told me. He is dribbling everybody, not because he has a solid choice, but because he is still not convinced over one of the dozen names.

Factional fights

Granted that a running mate is available and secured with top party confidantes as is the norm, other insiders say John Mahama’s other lingering fear is “how to announce that name, without hurting two or three people with substantial constituency who had earlier been promised the slot, but may now be compelled to tolerate a change, owing to the development of fresh permutations.

“Already, Johnson Asiedu Nketia is peeved, even though his is no big deal because his secure position as party General Secretary and CEO…but what about satisfying Jerry Rawlings by picking Dr. Ezanetor Rawlings, without knowing how Nana Konadu Rawlings will react. And, how about ignoring the Volta Region and facing the wrath of NDC faithful who have fallen by the wayside in a tribal fight which the Central and Western Region stalwarts won long before Jerry exited power?”

Admitting that the NDC had already lost the North, he said “the only option is bite the bullet and rebuild party later, having learnt our lessons.”

Sunset politics

Again, I am told that though, at the grass roots, there are little indications of the factional fighting seeping downwards, the concentration of power in Mahama’s hands with no indications that he is ready to strike healthy alliances across the respective divides have created a trap for the flag bearer himself, making both a choice and an announcement difficult by the day in the light of other pressing strategies. That is in addition to creating structures which are necessary, ahead of the 2020 elections.

That frustration is what is feeding into the ‘cry baby’ unending battles with Electoral Commissioner Jean Mensa and her deputies.

Then and now

The choice of John Mahama as running mate was brokered by Ato Ahwoi, with the northern caucus led by Alban Bagbin. The odds were heavy at the time, because it had to be done at the blind side of former president Jerry John Rawlings and party chairman, the late Harry Romulus Sawyer, one of Ghana’s richest men by a ten thousand nautical miles. Ask fearless lawyer and lawmaker Sam Okudzeto…

When JJR heard the rumour about the John Mahama pick and queried party politburo chiefs, no one was ready to own up. Under pressure Ato and Mills arranged an official announcement at the former KAMA Conference Centre, less than a kilometre away from Harry’s Labone residence near the Coffee Shop and two kilometres away from Rawlings’s Ridge residence and office.

Unfortunately, under the NDC today, 2020, there exists no majeure force around to engineer a choice, except John Mahama himself – without advisers.