The presidential candidate of Ghana’s opposition People’s National Convention (PNC) says suspicion and lack of trust led to the breakdown of unity talks with the opposition Convention People’s Party (CPP). Doctor Edward Mahama said the unity talks were aimed at merging the two parties ahead of this year’s general elections. But talks reportedly broke down Thursday, leading to an indefinite suspension of a merger. Both the PNC and CPP claim roots to Ghana’s founding President Kwame Nkrumah. Some political analysts believe the breakdown of unity talks will have an adverse impact on their performance in elections. From the capital, Accra, Doctor Mahama tells reporter Peter Clottey that the breakdown of unity talks is unfortunate.
“I believe sincerely that unity is good because I am a pan-Africanist, and I believe in the continental union indeed. The issue that led to the breakdown of this was one Doctor Paa Kwesi Ndoum (presidential candidate for CPP), who did not allow the processes that we set up at the beginning. The joint statement was written and signed by the two chairmen, and then he decided to go on the air and announce that we had a done deal. That pronouncement of his prejudiced my party to say Mahama has sold out the party to Dr. Paa Kwesi Ndoum. How can he go and do this without our authority”? Mahama questioned.
He said the breakdown of the merger puts his PNC party in an awkward position.
“There was an uproar in the PNC immediately after he (Paa Kwesi Ndoum) made the statement. Some people within the PNC were calling for me to be removed, and we had to call an emergency national executive committee meeting, which came on yesterday. And the national executive committee unanimously said they are suspending the arrangements. They want me to go ahead as their candidate in the elections. So that is what happened,” he said.
Mahama denied that the two parties are fundamentally flawed after failing to unite ahead of the general elections.
“There is nothing fundamentally wrong with both parties. As I keep saying, part of the reason or part of the essence of governance is that the governed must trust the one governing, so trust is the problem. When we are asking for a merger to become one, and they are asking for an alliance because they didn’t talk about becoming one, in fact, these were the questions that were thrown at me yesterday during the executive meeting. Why did they want an alliance on which we will not feature, and then, what do we get out of it? The party is the PNC, and not me as an individual. So basically, trust. Trust is the key,” Mahama pointed out.
He said a breakdown in the merger attempt can be attributed to suspicions.
“CPP and PNC have always suspected each other of motives because this is not the first time. We have a signed document dated April 16, 2005, where the parties agreed to come together under the name CPP with the PNC symbol,” he said.
Mahama is optimistic about the chances of his PNC party in this year’s general elections.
“The chances are dictated by many factors, and one factor that gives me courage is that the people of Ghana feel let down by the NPP (ruling New Patriotic Party), and they want a change. Now, PNC has consistently over the years, even when there were seven parties contesting, we came in third. PNC has consistently campaigned on the issues, and people have begun to realize that they must vote on issues, not on tribal basis, which is a major problem in Ghana now,” Mahama noted.