Ghana's ruling party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), will officially launch President John Dramani Mahama's re-election bid on Saturday, four months before the West African country's presidential, parliamentary and local elections.
The NDC will present Mahama and his running mate, Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, as well as 235 candidates for parliament to voters at a ceremony in the Central Regional capital, Cape Coast.
Joyce Bawa Motgari, spokesperson for the Mahama 2016 re-election campaign, says the NDC is confident that Ghanaians will express their confidence in the president and re-elect him on December 7 for a second and final full four-year term.
Supporters of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and other opposition groups have accused Mahama of gross incompetence. They contend he has failed to manage the economy effectively, resulting in suffering for many Ghanaians.
Motgari sharply disagrees. She recounts Mahama's political journey - first an assemblyman, then a parliamentarian, minister of communications under President Jerry John Rawlings, then vice president. After former president John Evans Atta Mills died suddenly in office, Mahama was sworn in to serve as president for the remainder of Mills’ term, and went on to win election to a full term in his own right in 2012.
“This president is actually one of the most qualified individuals Ghana has ever produced. Indeed he is one of the most qualified candidates to ever become president of this beautiful country of ours,” said Motgari.
"He is poised for re-election, he believes he has delivered on his mandate to the good people of this country and I think that presently, he is the best candidate we have going into the election 2016.”
Critics say Mahatma has failed to follow through on his promise to resolve the erratic power supply, which the locals call “Dumsor” after its frequent on-and-off cycling. The unreliable power network has damaged industry and eliminated many jobs, opposition groups say, worsening the plight of workers and increasing the unemployment rate among youth.
To those criticisms of Mahama, Motgari replies: “The president has clearly demonstrated his commitment to resolving the myriad of problems that affect us as a people. ... We commiserate with the situation that first and foremost all the efforts that President Mahama has made is to wean us partially of hydro power and of course to move us to a more thermal and dependable power source."
"Let’s take note," the spokesperson adds, "that over the years, very little has been done beyond what Akosombo dam and Bui dam have done for us in terms of hydro power. The president has actually commissioned [new power sources], and we presently have the Karpower ship, we have the AMERI power ship, we have several other thermal interventions. And presently, the challenge is no longer about power distribution, because we do have several options now in terms of power and power supply.”
About 80 percent of Ghanaians now have access to electrical power, Motgari said. "Indeed, we have had some challenges in terms of our power distribution, but I believe that more than any other leader in this country, the president has clearly demonstrated commitment to resolving the problems. ... In his state of the nation address he clearly said he was going to fully fix Dumsor, and that is exactly what he has done.”
About unemployment and job creation, Mahama's spokesperson said, “The president has actually embarked upon one of the key drivers of employment, which is to improve upon our infrastructure - in terms of education, in terms of health, in terms of power, in terms of housing and what have you. All of these developments in these key sectors in the country are to do one thing, to create jobs for the young people."