Former Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor has revealed that former President Jerry John Rawlings asked him to run against former President John Dramani Mahama for the flagbearer slot of National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2018 but he declined so he could allow Mr Mahama to have another try after losing the presidency in the 2016 polls.
Dr Duffuor, who has expressed interest in running for the slot ahead of the 2024 general elections, told his TV station, GHOne, on Monday, 6 December 2021, that: “The late president, JJ Rawlings, asked me to take up the flagbearership of the NDC”, adding: “A lot of delegations came to my house – they are all there; they’ll testify to that – but I decided to step back and allow former president John Mahama to step forward”.
“I didn’t want to contest with him [Mahama]. No”.
“So, I had reasons why I thought Mahama should be given another opportunity instead of me taking up the job”, he explained.
The former Governor of the Bank of Ghana said apart from the late former president, “delegations upon delegations came to my house” to try to convince him to run but “[I felt that former president Mahama deserved another chance]”.
He said the current strength of the NDC must be shored up head of the 2024 contest.
“Now, the focus should be on the party; let’s build a very strong party. When you have a very strong party, you can pick anybody to lead you and you’ll make a huge success”, he observed.
He said although the NDC “is strong”, the “NPP is making a lot of inroads into our strong areas”.
For instance, he demonstrated, “years ago, we could say Volta Region – now Volta and Oti – were our preserve; we called it the World Bank of the NDC. Now, you know what is happening; in 1996, the NPP polled only 34,000 votes; in 2020, they polled almost 204,000 votes”.
“They [NPP] have made huge inroads” into “our strongholds”.
“All the areas in the northern region … whereas we are not making any inroads in their strong areas”, Dr Duffuor pointed out.
“Where I come from, I’m an Ashanti; Ashanti [Region] has huge numbers, about 2.5 million people. Whereas they polled almost 1.8 million, we had only 652,000 and we need to grow the party, especially in Ashanti and the Eastern Region”, he noted.
“We are strong but we should be a bit stronger than we are now to be able to compete”, he added.