Some executives of the Tema East branch of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are seething with anger, after former President John Mahama, allegedly tricked them into meeting him.
The former President recently held a meeting with the executives in the constituency, but rather than an announcement of intent to step down, which the executives said had convinced them to attend the meeting, he rather sold campaign promises to them.
“We were told that the former President had second thoughts about running for the flagbearership of the party and wanted to announce that he is stepping down for Mr Alban Bagbin. That he was coming to Tema East, which is a known stronghold of Bagbin, to make the announcement, only for us to come here and have him campaign for the same flagbearership.
“This is not acceptable, it’s like a deliberate fast one on our intelligence,” Cosmos Okumo, Ladzuahe branch Communications Officer of the NDC said in a news statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday.
“Tema East NDC regards itself as the stronghold of Alban Bagbin, and the executives of that constituency have not failed to make this known. These executives have gone to the extent of even requesting that, that constituency be renamed after Mr Bagbin to reflect the leaning of the executives there.”
The statement said former President John Mahama, who is Bagbin’s fiercest rival in the upcoming 2020 presidential primary of the NDC, however, recently stormed the constituency and campaigned to a massive turnout.
“Observers who know the affiliation of Tema East were, therefore, surprised by the turn of events, as it seemed that the constituency prostituted itself to Mr Mahama.”
However, according to Cosmos Okumo, the massive turnout at Mahama’s campaign meeting with the Tema East NDC was secured by subterfuge.
The statement said executives were contacted and told that former President John Mahama had decided to step down and back Mr Alban Bagbin, who is also the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
“We were told Mahama had chosen to come here to announce his decision to step down, because he knew that this constituency is the stronghold of Bagbin, only for him to come here and tell us to vote for him,” Cosmos Okumo added.
An equally angry James Gborgla, Organiser for the Ladzuahe branch of the NDC, questioned why, of all the three constituencies in the Tema enclave, it was Tema East that the former President had chosen to make a stopover at.
“Why not Tema Central or Tema West? Why is it that of all the nine constituencies that Mahama put together, it is Tema East that he used as a meeting place? We know why, because he knows that this is the stronghold of Mr Bagbin, and so deliberately tried to create the impression that we had abandoned Bagbin for Mahama. I want to make it clear that we have not abandoned Mr Bagbin, he is our man for 2020,” Mr. Gborgla said.
Reiterating that they had attended Mahama’s meeting in their numbers because they were under the impression that Mahama was going to step down for Bagbin, he urged all pro-Bagbin executives not to allow themselves to be misled into thinking that Bagbin’s stronghold had abandoned him.