May 24, 2024
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Duffuor’s NDC 2024 political strategists out – Spio-Garbrah, Fritz Baffour & others make list

Former Finance Minister Dr Kwabena Duffuor, who is gunning to lead the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) as its Presidential candidate in the 2024 general election, has subtly outdoored his political strategists ahead of the party’s presidential primaries on a yet to be announced date.

On the list are; a former Trade Minister under the Mahama administration, Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah, former Minister of Information and former Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma South Constituency, Fritz Baffour; a founding member of the NDC, Kofi Aikins, and Antwi Boasiako Sekyere, who was appointed as Eastern Regional Minister by Mahama, but was later sacked. 

The others include; Winfield Akuako, a failed parliamentary aspirant for the Klottey Korle Constituency and Dome-Kwabenya Constituency Chairman Lamptey among others. Previous events have had the NDC ex-National Organiser; Yaw Boateng Gyan, in attendance. 

They were at a ceremony organized by Dr Duffuor, at Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region, to launch a social events business venture for the grassroots of the party dubbed ‘NDC Ahotɔ’ saying it is to fund activities of the party into next polls.

While, Fritz Baffour has been a JJ Rawlings loyalist and might still be carrying the late ex-President’s qualms against John Mahama with him hence his association with the Duffuor ticket  Dr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah, has also been seen as renegade general who is ready to defy party’s structures and its “godfather worshiping system” while pushing his agenda and personal ambition. 

Dr Duffour is a Rawlings’ loyalist too, but Dr Spio-Garbrah’s membership of the Duffuor team, will not surprise many, as he has always seen Mahama as his “small boy” because the latter had served under him as Deputy Communications Minister during the Rawlings era, until he was made the substantive minister, and Spio moved to the Ministry of Education.

 Dr Spio-Garbrah, came under severe criticism for making late President John Evans Atta Mills’ sickness public by scheming to have him replaced as the 2008 flagbearer of the NDC.  

His conduct made Mills’ health a topical issue on various media platforms for months with private text messages exchanged between him and the late Rawlings finding their way into newspapers, including the Daily Guide newspaper, ahead of the polls which Mills eventually won, but died almost four years into his presidency.

Not long after the inception of the Atta Mills government, Dr Spio-Garbrah wrote and published an article in the Daily Graphic newspaper in which he had berated Prof. Mills of surrounding himself with Team B members of the NDC, who were underperforming, thus making his government weak.

Former Minister of Energy in the Rawlings government, Ato Ahwoi, whose words were powerful in the Mills government, sharply replied Dr Spio-Garbrah accusing him of “pissing” into the government which he was on the side seeking to join as a “Team A” player and was emphatic that over his dead body will such a thing happen. 

Mr Mahama, a Vice-President at the time, upon taking over from President Atta-Mills after his death and his 2012 Presidential victory, made Dr Spio-Garbrah, his Minister of Trade and Industry.

Many, till date speak about this, albeit quietly that Mahama did that to cut off the influence of Ato Ahwoi in the NDC and his government. 

The 2016 defeat of Mr Mahama, is sometimes blamed on Ato Ahwoi and his brothers with claims that they together with the late ex-President Rawlings, the late  Captain Kojo Tsikata among others, had worked against the NDC and Mr Mahama, whom they talk of as “silently snobbish”.  

The murmurings and claims against Flt. Lt. Rawlings, Captain Tsikata and the Ahwois, were heightened and given impetus when Nana Akufo-Addo, the President-elect, had in his acceptance speech singled them out for thanks for supporting and counseling him in the past.

Mr Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, were later to become very inseparable from President Akufo-Addo.

In 2018, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, who made another attempt to be NDC flagbearer, sunk his teeth into the flesh of Mr Mahama, using the NPP’s tagline to warn his party’s delegates against electing a leader who has the tendency of being called “corrupt or incompetent”.

“…it is time to get fresh, re-energized blood into the system for a new and improved NDC; people who can be sent to the battlefield, and in the case of the flagbearer, a person who cannot be accused by the NPP of being corrupt or incompetent, which were the two main charges that the NPP leveled against us,” Dr. Spio-Garbrah stated, adding the needs of delegates have changed hence their call for a leader who will not be an easy target for their opponents come 2020.        

“There is a strong wind of change blowing through the party; right from the grassroots. This wind of change within the NDC is saying that, yes some people have served us well, some four years, some eight years, some even more than that,” he said on the Sunrise Morning show on 3FM.

At the ‘NDC Ahotɔ’ launch, Dr Duffuor’s campaign team, the Project is meant to lessen the burden on MPs and relieve local executives of the huge financial difficulties they face in running the party.

It is believed that the NDC ‘Ahotɔ’ Project, will create a medium for the local party machinery to be financially self-sufficient through regular income streams to help support their ongoing initiatives.

 It is also to empower and reposition the NDC and make it battle-ready for election 2024 and beyond.

Dr Spio-Garbrah, who endorsed the micro-business initiative by Dr Duffuor, urged the NDC to change the perception held by many that it is anti-business, saying doing so will enhance the image of the Party as it looks forward to victory in the 2024 elections.

“As the chairman of the NDC Business Development Committee, the Committee’s objective is very similar to what Dr Duffuor is doing, which is what we can do in the NDC to change the image of the NDC from what some people think is not a business friendly party, to one that is more business friendly.

“I don’t know whether you are aware that is one of the biggest problems facing NDC as a party. People think we are anti-business, because during the PNDC time, certain things happened to some business people. So, it is still prevailing till today,” he admitted.

While acknowledging that the age-long perception is adversely affecting the NDC with a fall-off of membership in universities, the former Education Minister called for more support for the project to make the Party vibrant even at the grassroots level.

 “So, if somebody rises in the NDC such as Dr Duffuor who says I’ve got a good and brilliant idea; why don’t I make some of my resources available to the Party, to foot soldiers at a time of difficulty in the Ghanaian economy, when the government of the day doesn’t know what to do and all they’re doing is E-Levy, then you have to support the person, because he’s doing the right thing.”

According to the project manager, the NDC ‘Ahotɔ’ Project will be used to support micro-businesses focusing on social events such as funerals, naming ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, durbars, political campaigns, and rallies, mostly outdoor activities. 

The nature of these activities places a high demand on the use of plastic chairs, canopies, public address systems, power generators, podiums, mobile toilets etc.

A local rental business of the accessories owned and run by the party at various constituency levels will create employment opportunities and generate income, bringing relief (Ahotɔ) to the grassroots.

Dr Duffuor is, therefore, sponsoring and financing all the 275 constituencies with all the equipment and accessories necessary to set up a rental business.

On his part, the former Finance Minister, Dr. Duffuor stated that the opposition NDC are better managers of the economy than the governing NPP.

According to him, Ghana’s unmatched gains under his stewardship as Finance Minister when the late Prof John Evans Atta Mills was president, are a testament to that.

“We made it possible and we will do it again because we know how to do it,” he said at the launch of Phase One of a grassroots party empowerment and self-financing initiative dubbed “Ahotɔ ” Project for the NDC at Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region.

“I hear some people are talking somewhere on the economy today [Thursday, 7 April 2022]; whatever they do or say, what we achieved under Professor Mills, they cannot do it because they just don’t know how to do it”.

“For almost two years, Ghana was adjudged the best-managed economy globally under professor Mills,” Dr Duffour stated.

Dr Duffour said: “We’re changing the face of the NDC by empowering the branch executives of the party”. 

Earlier the former Finance Minister, had taken a dig at the governing NPP following the passage of the controversial Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy) arguing that the government’s decision to pass the unpopular levy despite wise counsel from economists such as himself means President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration is not a listening government.

Lamenting on his Facebook wall the morning after the e-levy was passed, Dr. Duffuor said, “The NPP has progressed in their passage of the unpopular e-levy bill. May it be on record that despite the hardship of the Ghanaian people and disaffection for the e-levy, the NPP ignored these concerns and added to our tax burden.”

Many Ghanaians have openly kicked against the E-levy, which was passed by the majority of Parliament on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, despite a walkout by the Minority Caucus.

Just like many well-meaning and experienced economic specialists, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor has, in the past, offered several suggestions on alternatives to the E-levy.

Dr Duffuor had in an interview on Starr FM in February 2022, ahead of the IFS’s forum on domestic revenue mobilization, said, “Currently in Ghana, foreign interests are largely the main beneficiaries of our extractive sector at the expense of Ghanaians who benefit from very little revenue from our natural resources”.

He also added “we must start looking at the sector we have ignored over the years – the extractive sector. A well-managed natural resources centre has emerged as the safest route to prosperity in many developed countries such as the USA, UK, and Germany. We must go back and renegotiate our mining agreements for higher revenues rather than stick to colonial agreements to the detriment of our people”.


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