Flag bearer-aspirant of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Kojo Bonsu, has said the Unity Walks he organised for the party following its defeat in the 2016 elections were not meant to serve as a proxy for former President John Mahama.
“The walks were for the grassroots who are aggrieved. The walks were to mobilise the party. I have been around the country, spoken to the people and listened to them. Kojo Bonsu wants to run”, the former Kumasi Mayor said on Friday when he paid a courtesy call on former President Jerry John Rawlings to inform him of his intention to run for president on the ticket of the NDC.
According to the new entrant into the race, contrary to widespread views that the unity walks were to prepare the way for Mr Mahama’s comeback, it was his (Bonsu’s) contribution to the party’s efforts to motivate and revitalise a despondent party.
Mr Rawlings, at the meeting, described Mr Bonsu’s decision to run for president as “refreshing”, since, in the NDC founder’s view, “not only is he a leading, active, prominent member of the party, but the very fact that he’s an Ashanti for me is quite refreshing”.
“Some of our narrow-minded colleagues from the past did not handle the Ashanti factor well enough. The Akan-speaking areas of Ashanti provided a very dynamic presence during the revolution days,” the former president said when Mr Bonsu paid a courtesy call on him to inform him of his decision to run for the slot.
Mr Rawlings added that as the country entered multi-party constitutional rule in the early 1990s, some took advantage of ethnicity for political expediency, adding: “There are those who can only play the politics of ethnicity, so, it began to weaken the nationalistic climate and fervour.”
The former president said the role of party flag bearer required a strong tenacity of purpose and the support of a dedicated and committed crop of people who possess a high level of integrity.
Accompanied by his campaign team and some sympathisers, Mr Bonsu, said the walks afforded him the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the grassroots supporters, hence his decision to contest.
Former Eastern Regional Minister, Antwi Boasiako Sekyere and former Member of Parliament Fritz Baffour, who were part of Mr Bonsu’s delegation, further disabused the impression that Mr Bonsu was a proxy for Mr Mahama.
Mr Boasiako Sekyere said the NDC needs to demonstrate a compelling narrative for the future, describing Kojo Bonsu’s action as a ‘bold move’.
“It will demonstrate to the grassroots that we need to go back to our principles and values. We need to demonstrate that the NDC is not a party for the rich. That is why I followed him here,” he stated.
For his part, Fritz Baffour said when the NDC was established it was a party for the people, but apathy set in because of the lack of accountability to the people. The man on the street, he stated, says we are in a hopeless situation. He said it was important that members of the party make a stand to fight what is inimical to the fortunes of the party.
Source: Class FM