Opinion: Alex Mould, the new face of the NDC?

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In a Twitter conversation earlier this month with Ghana Democracy Forum, Dr Richard Anku shared his picks for the new class of NDC leaders.

According to him, a growing number of NDC folks are openly cheering for a competitive primary field in 2024 and encouraging candidates to jump into the race. Rightly so, the venerable Dr(PHD) in his competent opinion thinks Alex Mould is the new face of the NDC going into the future.

Even though, this was purely an academic exercise, it has gained currency and created dozens of threads and conversations on and off social media.

Well, there are dozens attractive NDC candidates in 2024 besides Mahama and I can’t help but to agree with sentiments raised on the Ghana Democracy Forum.

While Mahama still maintains more support among NDC executives than any other would-be challenger, there are growing fears inside the party about him being unelectable.

In two and a half years time, the NPP will win again if the NDC continue to ignore the fact that our electoral demography has changed profoundly and tilted towards the NPP.

Fact is, after 8 years of destructive leadership by the NDC, the party needs some proper adults in the helm of affairs, who know what they’re doing, so that they can help restore electoral success.

On the matter of Alex Mould being the new face of the party going forward, here’s what everyone needs to understand: For the NDC, progress happens brick-by-brick, with one success built on the next. We’re not going to win 2024 by repeating the same old mistakes of the past. We’re going to win by meeting voters where they live, explaining how we’re going to strengthen protections that already tangibly make their lives better.

The 2024 presidential ticket ought to be a proven pair of hands. We are talking about a ticket that can offer a specific and persuasive agenda to appeal to the economic anxieties of the good people of Ghana. It ought to be a ticket that can appeal to the floating voter and the dominant ethnic groupings in the country – a ticket with a broader appeal and a record of socialist accomplishments.

So there you have it. Is Alex Mould really the new face of the NDC? Frankly, there are multiple reasons why so many NDC activists wish he’s the one – matters of domestic and foreign contacts, values and strategy – but the overriding one is electoral. The message both from the 2016 and 2020 polls is that NDC cannot win under its present leadership and indeed, may suffer further losses. The consensus amongst election analysts is that the NDC ought to chart a new path.

The willingness of voters to choose a party is heavily influenced by their appraisal of the leader: whether he or she is seen to be trustworthy, attractive and possessing the requisite skills for the Presidency.

So far, voter judgment of Mahama has been highly unfavourable in his last two outings. Negative perceptions emerged early in his leadership and experience suggests that once initial impressions have congealed they form a gestalt through which later observations are filtered. The recent NPP intra-party elections demonstrates how much leadership image matters.

Yes, Alex Mould is dashing and handsome, and with an infectious personality. His public records speak volumes and he also appears likeable. But then, other factors plays a part in one being a winnable contender. The truth, unpalatable as it might be, is that personality, appearance and image all count. So, it is not surprising that so many NDC folks are desperate for a change in leadership.

Then again, how credible is Alex Mould? To be credible, a candidate:

☑️Must have the capacity to muster substantial support from within the party membership.

☑️Must possess the skills and qualities to convey to the wider electorate an image of him/herself as an effective, trustworthy and appealing leader

☑️Must have both the desire and the ability to re-unite a fractured party.

Quite frankly, Alex Mould is able to meet all three conditions. He appears to be both hugely unifying and have much prospect of enlisting much support. His stature has grown over the years and his Ashanti lineage put him miles ahead of any would-be contenders.

As a matter of fact, the NDC in recent times has done way below average in the Ashanti Region. Apart from Rawlings who pulled little over 32% in 1992 and 1996, no other NDC presidential candidate has crossed the 30% mark in the Ashanti Region.

It is important for the NDC to take a cold, clear-eyed look at its failings in 2016 and 2020, and then look over the voter demographics, and renew itself.

To put it bluntly, the NDC needs to break the back of the elephant in its own backyard in order to win in 2024 – the party must necessarily have an Ashanti on the ticket. Which is why I’m inclined to go along with the suggestion that more and more Ashantis needs to join the race for the presidential primaries. Realistically, the NDC cannot get a parlimentary majority without holding seats in the Ashanti Region or going past 30% margin.

Again, we are going into 2024 with over 500k votes deficit, and the party will need to double its effort to entirely eliminate that deficit carried on from the 2016 into the 2020 elections. Doing just 29% in a poll after two times contest and having been in opposition for nearly 8 years is problematic. There’s a problem which will either require that the rats jump out from the ship to save everyone else or the ship is allowed to sink everyone in perpetuity.

The question is, can Alex Mould survive a rigorous primary season? The odds are on him winning if he runs, but while he possesses a solid power base amongst the rank and file and the affiliated civil society groups, opposition to him from the Mahama bloc would be overwhelming.

Essentially, the party needs to rethink its outreach and, to an extent, bring in a softer, more approachable face, hopefully an Ashanti, in order to appeal to a fast-changing and steadily slipping away electorate.

I shall return…

Article written by Dela Coffie, a political activist

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