It wasn’t until the fourth general electoral cycle that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) held its first competitive primary for presidential candidates.
Late president Jerry John Rawlings was elected flagbearer for the 1992 and 1996 elections which he won comfortably beating Albert Adu Boahen and John Agyekum Kufuor of the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) respectively.
Then in 1998 towards the 2000 election which JJ was ineligible to stand in, Rawlings handpicked his then Vice President John Evans Atta Mills as candidate through the now famous Swedru declaration – a popular acclamation by party delegates.
Mills went on to lose that election to the NPP’s John Agyekum Kufuor.
In 2002 as the party planned towards the 2004 presidential elections, the NDC held its first presidential primary in December that year with two candidates in the race.
The two professors who contested were John Evans Atta Mills and Kwesi Botchwey. The results were as follows:
Delegate Congress: 21 December, 2002;
Professor John Evans Atta Mills 1116 votes 79.71%
Dr. Kwesi Botchwey 194 votes 1.85%
Mills lost that election to Kufuor again and was back on the ballot in 2006, two clear years before the 2008 election when Kufuor was also ineligible.
Mills now had three contenders in the persons of Ekow Spio-Garbrah, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu and Eddie Annan. The results at the end of the process were as follows:
Delegate Congress: 21 December, 2006;
Professor John Evans Atta Mills 1,362 (81.4%)
Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah 146 (8.7%)
Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu 137 (8.2%)
Mr Eddie Annan 28 (1.7%)
Ahead of the 2012 vote when Mills declared his intention to seek reelection, something dramatic happened, a prominent party member decided to contest him for the slot.
The professor, thus, became the first sitting president to be contested in a primary. His contender was former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings.
At the end of the July 2011 congress, Mills prevailed with another landslide win.
Delegate Congress: 9 July 2011;
Total Delegates: 3125
Professor John Evans Atta Mills 2771 (96.9%)
Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings 90 (3.1 %)
In 2012, the election year, the NDC was forced to hold a presidential primary when Mills died in office.
His Vice President John Dramani Mahama (took over from Mills as President on 24 July 2012 after his death in the afternoon of that day)
The NDC returned to its old way of electig flagbearers with a popular acclamation of Mahama’s candidature.
In the second part of this piece, we will look at Mahama’s flagbearership election trajectory which has fairly followed the same path.
Leave a Reply