Intelligence picked up by The New Statesman indicates that a high-powered, highly secretive faction has been formed in the ruling National Democratic Congress with a one item agenda: Stop John Mahama For 2016.
Our investigation shows that the group met over the weekend at a secret place somewhere in Greater Legon (exact location withheld) Accra, where they discussed "a draft strategy."
The timing of the meeting was prompted by ongoing moves within the National Executive Committee of the NDC to stop any attempt by any of the factions to sponsor a candidate to challenge the President for 2016.
But to the Legon group, "it would be unfair for the Fantes to be denied a second term and for the Vice President, a Gonja, to enjoy three terms at the presidency."
The first part of the strategy paper by the Legon group, which, we learnt, was prepared by a former national security high ranking personnel "is to encourage the President to be discouraged about his chances in 2016. Already, he is not too keen on 2016, we need to fuel that sense of low enthusiasm," according to notes leaked to this paper from the weekend meeting.
The President's confidence has been hit by the election petition, which exposed how badly ran the 2012 presidential election was, and the ever-increasing challenges he is facing in running the economy and, at the same time, keeping his party people happy.
The group warns, "We risk facing the kind of unstoppable voter mood we faced in 2000 if things don't improve with the economy. When the electorate turns against you that way, nothing can save you. Has the President got what it takes to stop this growing anti-NDC tide?"
The Legon group reckons that the NDC "risks losing the all-important youth vote. The President can no longer rely on the "youthful factor". The youth need results not platitudes or voting day parcels of goodies. We need to deliver on jobs or sink with the President in 2016 against the full force of a hungry, angry, meaner and wiser NPP."
There is a strong Ga and Fante presence among this Stop John 2016 faction that met at suburban Legon.
The Gas feel "very unappreciated and unrewarded. And, are waiting to punish us in 2016," the meeting was told.
Also, the Fantes in the NDC feel much short-changed after death cut short President John Mills' term in July of last year. They believe John Mahama must give way to another Fante.
While Kwesi Amisah-Arthur's vice presidential position was meant to compensate the Fantes, there is already a sort of 'silent understanding' that he will not be repeated as President John Mahama's running mate in 2016. This is not going down well.
Not even talk of the Foreign Minister, Hannah Tetteh, replacing him as running mate seems enough to dampen the enthusiasm to stop John Mahama in 2016.
The Legon group sees the support for NDC in the coastal areas dwindling, "and likely to fall close to the 2004 level by 2016 unless we can offer them something substantial and meaningful," the notes point out.
The notes point out further, "We should also not take for granted apathy among the other tribes in the North. The NDC performed way below expectation in the Northern Region in 2012, in spite of all the work and resources we put in. There's also very little to suggest that we can repeat with any semblance of success the strategies that we used in the Upper East and Upper West. The money will simply not be there and the people who led it are now very unhappy."
Notes from the Legon group meeting read further, "We must also address the growing tensions between Volta and the North. Sadly, the President has shown no appetite nor [sic] capacity to tackle this growing threat to our support base."
Even though the group appears to prefer a Fante candidate for 2016, it enjoys patronage from very powerful politicians from the North, who also calculate that to allow President John Mahama to run for another term in 2016 is to effectively kill the chances of another candidate from the North for the foreseeable future.
Interestingly, the challenge facing Ghana's President from his own party is not that different from what President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria is facing now in his People's Democratic Party as he seeks to bid for a second full term in 2015, against the broken convention which should have seen a candidate from the North doing two terms. That convention was disturbed by the death of President Yar'dua half way through his first term in office.
Recently, at a PDP mini convention, aggrieved members of the Nigeria's ruling party stormed out to form a parallel faction now known as the ‘new PDP’.
Members of the faction include notable governors from the north, their counterparts from Rivers and Kwara states.
The new faction is led by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, with Abubakar Baraje as Chairman.
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