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Playing The Blame Game After Election Loss
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Playing The Blame Game After Election Loss: The Case Of Sour Grapes by Ibrahim Dey And His Surrogates

Angry NDC members in Salaga (led by defeated parliamentary aspirant, Alhaji Ibrahim Dey) are lashing out at anyone and anything they think contributed to the party’s loss while vehemently ignoring the simple fact that Dey, and his many scandals, were the unilateral reason for their crushing defeat.  

Be that as it may, it is far easier to blame some combination of former National Security Advisor to former President John Mahama, Mr Baba Kamara, his philosophy, principles, machinations...and the list goes on and on.

I'll be crystal clear: Baba Kamal has absolutely no business determining the course of the NDC after the harm Dey did to the party in Salaga. Anyone who pretends Dey lost the Salaga South seat for any reason other than the savaging of his public image is missing the point.

But, then again, given the calamitous election result of the NDC on December 7, 2016, it was always inevitable that a certain amount of finger pointing was going to ensue in the aftermath.

Ibrahim Dey has accused Baba Kamara of unilaterally inflating the cost of a bungalow being put up by the state to house the vice president by $8million.

The defeated Salaga South parliamentary candidate was alluding to Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s allegation made in late January 2017 that the Mahama administration had pegged the cost of the edifice at $13.9million.

In a purported leaked telephone conversation, however, Dey alleges that Baba Kamara is responsible for the inflation of the cost of the project. “What is happening in our party? Are we safe? …You see, if you know somebody in BNI, let’s tip them about Baba Kamara. You know that money issue, he [Kamara] was the one involved: the vice president’s house. He was the one involved.”

According to Dey, then-Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur estimated $3.5m for the project but that amount was later increased by $1.5m after which, he said, Mr Kamara unilaterally – on the blindside of Mr Amissah-Arthur – increased the amount by $8m more of which “he [Kamara] took $6m.”

Mr Dey alleges that Mr Kamara informed the contractor working on the project that the extra cost would be borne by the office of National Security.

Also, Mr Dey claimed there were about six state cars parked in Mr Kamara’s Salaga residence and urged his interlocutor to blow the lid on the former National Security Advisor.

Meanwhile, a surrogate Dey group in the Salaga South constituency has also petitioned the Prof Kwesi Botchwey-led committee that is probing the defeat of the NDC to question Mr Kamara, who they accuse of “deliberately and maliciously orchestrating” and “masterminding” the NDC’s defeat in the constituency.

In my election post-mortem write-up (which is more like an essay now), I want to really echo the words of the legendary US congressman Barney Frank, which he said in an interview back in May, 2016, discussing the behaviour of the voting bloc of the Democratic party. I think they apply to a large minority of the people pointing accusing fingers after the NDC lost the December 2016 polls in Ghana.

Frank said, "I am disappointed by the voters who say, “OK I’m just going to show you how angry I am!” And I’m particularly unimpressed with people who sat out the Congressional elections of 2010 and 2014 and then are angry at Democrats because we haven’t been able to produce public policies they like. They contributed to the public policy problems and now they are blaming** other people for their own failure to vote, and then it’s like, “Oh look at this terrible system,” but it was their voting behaviour that brought it about."

When I see all the progressive and die-hard NDC members  angry at the party’s loss, I am saddened that it took them Mahama's defeat to be truly this vocal. Where were they when he was running?

While the former president was with them all the way, so many leading NDC members were simply not with him. So many of the people pointing accusing fingers, just months ago, were silent when the opposition and other civil society organisation were amplifying every faulty (many of them imaginary) that the former president had.

When I look at the two leading candidates, I see the NDC leader, who was such an amazing and inspiring candidate, that really there was no one in the country, not a single individual male or female, that would have been better equipped to continue Mahama's amazing legacy as president. In many ways, he was the best that the NDC had to offer.

The NPP clearly saw that and threw the kitchen sink at him to poison his public perception and it worked. On the other hand, there were leading members in the NDC campaign team who were so awful in communicating effectively the message of the party to the electorate

As painful as it may seem, I give credit to the NPP voters, because they took every imperfection and awful thing Akufo-Addo/Bawumia did, ignored it, and like clockwork, showed up at the polls and showed up in the public square to defend their guy. Followers of the NPP don't think too much, they just vote. They know that they can’t let the opposition win and any sign of weakness will do just that.

Some members of the NDC over-analyze and continue to hold their politicians to an impossible standard of ideological purity and then stay home in protest because they didn't get their way. They did that to Mahama in 2012 which led to the marginal win, culminating in the protracted challenge of the election result in the Supreme Court.

They did the same in 2016!

The election of William Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was an unforced error on the progressives’ part. They failed to realize how committed the opposing party was in getting into power and now that the chickens came home to roost, like Barney said, "They are blaming other people for their own failure to vote".

To the majority of the people using the media to blame Baba Kamal for the NDC loss – because the electorate gave all their support to the NPP and just can’t take the loss – I say sorry for the disappointment. After all, denial is a powerful coping mechanism and the first step in dealing with loss.

However, to the many people in some sections of the society that were just recently echoing attacks Mahama that the then opposition threw at him, maybe you should lock yourself in the bathroom and protest yourself instead. Don't come out until it’s time to vote again in 2020.

NDC’s closing message in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign was focused on Akufo-Addo’s temperament, his divisive nature and the fact that he was unfit for office. But the campaign’s theory that simply making Akufo-Addo unacceptable was enough to win turned out to be wrong.

The NDC lost the reality of what their opponent was doing. They went for a target and they got their target, which was too narrow. The closing picture of the campaign was an image of Mahama sharing a stage with two presidents. The message was about continuity, not change.

My hope is that the Akufo-Addo victory will be a lesson to progressives that the NDC fought NPP tooth and nail, for social, economic and infrastructural  progress that the NPP tried to obstruct in every way. Progressives took the NDC's victories for granted and failed to live up to their end of the bargain at the polls.

Those pointing accusing fingers at Baba Kamal and other progressives shouldn't look back at December 7, 2017, and ask how did conservatives deliver the presidency to the worst person the NPP had to offer.

The protesters should look back at least on the last year and ask themselves, how did we allow ourselves to get so comfortable that we failed to deliver the presidency to the best person that the NDC had to offer.

The intra-party insults, accusations and insults are not helping anyone and the earlier Dey and his surrogates learn this lesson, the better it will be for them and the NDC as a progressive party.
Source: Maxwell Okamafo Addo/ email: [email protected]

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