George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan
Another member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has formally declared his intention to contest the position of the party’s flagbearer for the 2020 presidential election, with a promise to share a new ‘vision’.
George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, a former Central Regional Minister during the Mahama-led NDC administration and currently the party’s MP for Cape Coast South in the Central Region, wants to challenge his boss and other gurus who are all lacing their boots for the top job.
He says NDC needs new ‘vision’, ‘direction’ and ‘start’ which should be hinged on the party’s principles of probity and accountability in order to win the 2020 elections.
With former President John Mahama entering the race alongside Prof Joshua Alabi (former Rector of University of Professional Studies), Sylvester Mensah (former CEO of NHIA), Alban Bagbin (current deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Nadowli Kaleo), and Ekwow Spio-Garbrah (former Trade and Industry Minister), Mr. Ricketts-Hagan becomes the 6th NDC guru to officially declare his intention to lead the party in 2020.
The NDC flagged off the race on August 2, announcing that presidential hopefuls can campaign.
Interestingly, the announcement was made at the time the party was yet to elect national officers who are going to preside over the process and set guidelines for the conduct of candidates.
Various sources have said the main opposition party was stampeded in lifting the ban on campaigning following declarations by minority MPs to throw their weight behind ex-President John Mahama.
However, the party in lifting the ban, gave a caveat that aspirants should notify the party before hitting the ground.
Mr. Ricketts-Hagan, who was also a deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and also a deputy at the Ministry of Finance, notified the NDC General Secretary in a letter on his intention to enter the race on August 10, 2018.
The letter was copied to the NDC Founder, former President J.J. Rawlings; Council of Elders, National Chairman Kofi Portuphy; as well as the Cape Coast South Constituency office.
He said “With your permission, I will proceed to officially launch my campaign to enable me take my case to our people across the length and breadth of our country. I hope to share a new vision, a new start and a new direction anchored on our principles and values of accountability, probity, social justice and transparency that will give us realistic chance of winning power back in 2020.”
He added that “I am of the firm belief (sic) that the NDC party, if well strengthened and reinvigorated to reflect the modern aspirations of our people, will continue to remain relevant to Ghanaians, because it is naturally the only political party in Ghana that can genuinely develop the resources nature has endowed with us, sustainably by making use of full mobilization of talents and energies of all our people, to get us out of poverty, improve the living conditions of our people and hold a better prospect for our people.”
“I am by this letter also assuring NEC and the entire party that I would conduct a decent campaign devoid of any negatives and abide by the NDC’s ‘rules of engagement’ in conducting the presidential primaries.”
Already, there has been an uneasy calm in the NDC since they were sent packing by the electorate in favour of the New Patriotic Party on December 7, 2016, making Mr. Mahama a one-term President.
The temperature heightened when it became clear that Mr. Mahama is preparing to contest the presidential election once again, using the NDC Unity Walk as a stepping stone.
Some elders of the party, especially those from the Volta Region, which is the NDC’s stronghold, have dumped Mr. Mahama for Joshua Alabi, the immediate–past Rector of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA), to lead the party in 2020.
Mr. Gbeho took a swipe at Mr. Mahama recently when he called him a failure for leading the party to a miserable defeat in the 2016 election and called on the rank and file to dump the former President and rather support Prof. Alabi to lead the NDC.
The open condemnation by Mr. Gbeho and others has incensed some Mahama loyalists like former Eastern Regional Minister, Emmanuel Victor Smith who said the experienced diplomat and his associates have personal scores to settle with Mr. Mahama.
According to Victor Smith, Mr Gbeho and other old guards of the party, who are against Mr Mahama’s comeback, are full of bitterness.