The 13-member Prof Kwesi Botchwey Committee that investigated the causes of the defeat of the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2016 general elections identified the obscene use of money by party gurus as one of the causes.
The report says money had taken over the NDC, making the party to go for the highest bidder.
The report, which is being kept like a state classified document, posits, “The rise of moneycracy in the party generally was the NDC’s undoing.”
According to the 65-page Executive Summary of the report, the party’s ideology and philosophy had been ‘weakened’ by the influence of money and that had brought in what it calls “waning of party ideology and philosophy generally, leading to ethnicism and opportunistic attitudes to settler communities in various constituencies.”
The report claims that there is also “the neglect of the party’s democratic focus in policy-making.
It continues, “The alienation of the party’s ‘natural’ social democratic allies – workers and their unions, farmers, small-scale businessmen and women, traders, teachers, nurses, junior civil servants, etc” was also a factor in the defeat.
It further says there was “inadequate recognition of the demographic transition in our national population.”
According to the report, campaign funds used by the NDC were misappropriated by party executives and candidates.
It underscores that some contributors the committee members interacted with said the leadership of the party doled out huge sums of money to support then President John Mahama’s re-election bid – which crashed on December 7, 2016 – but the cash were pocketed by the party’s officials.
“Several contributors held the view that huge amounts were channeled through the party’s executives and parliamentary candidates who seemed to have pocketed or ‘edited’ moneys sent,” the 65-page Executive Summary points out on Page 29.
The report, however, states that “except in few cases, no executive admitted to receiving any monies from sources.”
“What seemed to be clear was that a large part of campaign financing was done through channels other than the party’s regional or constituency treasuries,” the report claims, giving an indication that most funds came through the party’s headquarters and unusual channels.
The report reveals how the NDC parliamentary candidates were receiving funds for their respective campaigns and how many NDC party agents who supervised the December 7 election were still not paid for work done.
“The team was informed that the parliamentary candidates were sometimes invited to Accra to collect campaign money directly,” it says.
”At the time of the consultations, many polling agents had still not been paid their allowances. Others complained that they had been paid reduced amounts,” it adds.
According to the report, the NDC’s finances were in a precarious situation, although there was public perception that the then ruling party was financially sound, judging by the flamboyant and profligate campaigns displayed all over the country by President John Mahama.
“We found out that the party’s finances are, contrary to popular belief, in a rather parlous state,” the report reveals, adding, “We discuss the subject fully in the main report and recommend that the party adhere strictly to the provisions of the NDC Constitution and implement a dues-based regime of party financing that would be sustainable and would moreover enable the party to stem the influence of moneycracy in the conduct of the party’s affairs, as well as give the party membership and the grassroots a sense of ownership and empowerment.”
The report says that on election day, there were widespread transportation glitches, and that affected the NDC negatively.
According to it, Kofi Adams, the National Organizer, had told the NDC campaign team that it (party) made adequate transport arrangements but the problem was abused “by some unscrupulous party members who wanted to profit from the process.”
It adds that Kofi Adams had indicated that “some party members would board the buses from the party’s headquarters in Accra, get off somewhere within Accra and then return to the party headquarters for more allowances for transport.
“This, according to him (Kofi Adams), created the congestion at the party headquarters and gave rise to the impression that there was not adequate transport arrangement for the election.”
The committee asserts that it later found out that “the reports of inadequate transport were not limited to the party headquarters and therefore Greater Accra,” adding, “the rest of the regions had similar concerns and these were made known to the committee.”
It underscores for instance, that “in some regions, the complaints were particularly related to the non-decentralization of the transport arrangements,” adding, “According to them, it was the national that sought to arrange transport for the regions without the involvement of the regional party officers, and this in their view, created a lot of bureaucratic bottlenecks in the process and its attendant shortfalls.