NDC in the hot seat: Can Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin win the flag bearer race?

Feature Article NDC in the hot seat: Can Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin win the flag bearer race?
SEP 26, 2017 LISTEN

The National Democratic Congress stands at a crossroad. The race for the flagbearership is not the only question it has to wrestle with. There are other important questions about values, democracy and reconciliation. Not sure the depth of analysis that went into their current stance re the Kwesi Botchwey report, but they seem to believe that concealment does more to help their cause than transparency and confrontation. I genuinely think that’s a huge mistake. But that’s a different conversation. For now, let’s focus on the current impending implosion that might be triggered by the already heated flagbearer contest. My focal lens is on Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin. Will he become the flagbearer of the NDC in 2020? I don't know for a fact, I hope he is given a chance. But truth be told if he continues to present his case the way he has started, he is likely to shoot himself in the foot. There are three reasons why I think Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin might not be successful at his bid, should he perpetuate the current narrative.

The Ghanaian voter over the years has resoundingly rejected to the "personal savior" complex that has characterized certain political campaign messages. Case in point is the PPP. Dr. Nduom, in my view, is extremely competent. I have no doubt he will make sound decisions running a government. But whether or not he will be a successful president, is debatable. Why? Because governance is a team sport. Despite the focus on individuality during electoral contests, the party that subtly and subliminally emphasizes group capability has had greater effect on voter perception. What does this mean in practice? If you, as the candidate, are the predominant voice making a strong case for your own candidacy, you have lost that advantage of subtlety and subliminal influence. Better to sell a team/group message than a “me” message. And this is exactly the issue I had with the PPP narrative during the 2016 election. There was too much emphasis on the business and entrepreneurial success of Dr. Nduom as a person, because the narrators assumed wrongly, that his skill set could easily translate in a wholesale fashion, into the political arena. There is evidence in extant literature that show such arguments to be fallacious. But it’s not the fallacy that’s the problem. It’s the simplicity of it that is worrying. I am hearing the same message by Hon. Bagbin. He seem to be overstretching a certain syllogism, that (a) He has mentored two presidents; Nana Addo and John Mahama, (b) the mentor has even more capabilities than the protégé, and so (c) he, Hon. Bagbin, being the mentor, will be a better president if not a good one. Fallacy.

Second reason why I think Alban Bagbin might lose the bid if he continues on this path is this: The prevailing sentiments at the grassroots within the NDC is anger. Following the humiliating defeat and emerging issues of corruption, the grassroots is looking for scapegoats to hold accountable. The person who can harness this strong tide of sentiments to make a compelling argument for change, will be the candidate of choice. Not change in candidature necessarily, but change in the agenda that led to the humiliating defeat. So it might as well be John Mahama who could articulate this change, if he can convince the grassroots of his remorse, repentance and lessons learnt. So the tacit arrogance by some who think the Mahama influence is over will have a shock of their lives if they ignore this fact.

Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has blatantly gone against the 46th Law of power according to Robert Greene’s seminal book, The 48 Laws of Power. Law No. 46: NEVER APPEAR TOO PERFECT.

Observance Of The Law

“Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.”

1. How the NDC manages this slippery slope will inform the Ghanaian populace whether they can be trusted again to run the affairs of state.

2. Concealment is a bad idea. Confronting the issues in the Botchwey report may be explosive in the short-term but may open the door for genuine and authentic conversation about values and the right path for reforms.

3. John Dramani Mahama is the candidate to beat in this contest. Hon. Alban Bagbin and the other contenders face an uphill task against a remorseful Mahama, if Mahama shows remorse and humility. If not, the race will be much murkier.

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