The well-organised and successful event brought together many power brokers within the party to University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA Hall), but also absent were some equally influential personalities within the party.
Founder of the party, Jerry John Rawlings; a former head of Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the Presidency, Dr Tony Aidoo; former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Kwabena Duffuor; the Ahwoi brothers – Kwamena Ahwoi, Kwesi and Ato Ahwoi, who are famed as masterminds of big shifts within the party – were among the notable names absent at the manifesto launch.
With general elections just three months away, the NDC is keen on rallying the rank and file of the party to forge a united front that will secure victory in the race to the Jubilee/Flagstaff House on December 7, 2020.
For a party and a presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama, that lost the last election due to divisions within the party, the need to present a united front is paramount if victory is to be assured.
According to a committee led by Dr Kwesi Botchwey, a former Finance Minister and a respected member of the party, to find out why then governing NDC lost the December 7, 2016 general election to then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), issues like divisions within the party – especially among the top echelon – were mentioned as among the reasons for the defeat.
Although factors such as the party’s internal biometric registration of members, profligate campaign, diversion of campaign cash and materials, public perception of corruption and complacency among others, were also cited as some of the major causes of the party’s defeat, the issue of the division within the party remained prominent.
Recently, the issue of divisions within the party was stoked again when a book published by Prof Kwamena Ahwoi, made stark revelations in the erstwhile Jerry John Rawlings administration.
The book was criticised for its badly-timed release, and triggered a series of rejoinders from the Founder of the party, Mr Rawlings and other members of the party.
For weeks, the book and the issues it raised reignited perceptions that there are notable cracks within the party, although the party is confident of reclaiming power in December.
In the lead up to the selection of Mr Mahama’s running mate, there were rife speculations that Mr Rawlings had wanted the NDC presidential candidate to choose, Dr Kwabena Duffuor.
Curious about the absence of these power brokers within the party – especially the Founder – at the manifesto launch, GhanaWeb sought to inquire if it is evidence that the divisions within the party still persist.
Speaking on the matter to GhanaWeb, a top executive of the party said the absence of these notable persons cannot be indicative of divisions within the party.
The top executive declined to go on record because the matter of perceived divisions within the NDC shifts focus from the launch of the party’s manifesto.
However, the top executive mentions that for some time now, Mr Rawlings has not attended any major party event, mentioning that the Founder of the party was absent at a political function organised by his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.
The Ahwoi brothers, he stated also rarely attend party events and cannot be construed as divisions within the party.
“I don’t even remember the last time I saw the Ahwois at any event. They hardly go to any party event. Even Council of Elders [event] that we do it in-camera they don’t come. We have a united front. We don’t have any division in the NDC,” the top NDC Executive said.