VOLUNTEERS FOR MAHAMA (VfM) MARGINALIZED AFTER VICTORY 2012?

…….. Has the beneficiaries of the victory suddenly forgotten those who worked tirelessly to make them what they are today?
(Part 1 of 10)
Volunteers are an essential and integral part of almost every political campaign, because a good portion of a campaign work is performed by volunteers. Every candidate’s volunteers are a great resource for his/her political campaign, they’re helping the candidate out of the goodness of their hearts or probably because they believe in the candidate, so that is why this group have to be carefully managed for future elections where their experience would be greatly needed. Volunteers also help the candidate to reduce the cost of campaigning drastically, because the candidate couldn’t afford to hire enough staff to do all the work that needs to be done.
Volunteers form the backbone of any serious campaign. They are used to fill in the gaps, but sometimes, most of the campaign work is done by volunteers.
Volunteers for Mahama (VFM) is a non-profit movement which was very much committed to getting John Mahama elected as President of Ghana in order to Advance the Better Ghana Agenda started by the late President, Prof John Evans Atta Mills.
The broader view of the group is to foster this idea of volunteerism across Ghana in order to get as many Ghanaians as possible, from diverse backgrounds to work and ensure a One Touch victory for John Mahama.
Among other things, the major reasons why such an organization must have been formed help push JM presidential ambitions further. One can also deduce the following as the reasons these people volunteered to work for JM and their favored political party, NDC;
1. To be able to get the necessary recognition within the rank and file of the political party. Hence, find his/her way through the political space which is being jealously guided by politicians who are basically paranoid
2. To be able to get some considerable amount of favor in terms of the few available opportunities such jobs, scholarships, contracts and some level of support to better their future.
3. To learn how the political system works and build his/her political carrier based on his/her experience.
With regards to the first reason, many of us were almost frustrated by the style of leadership exhibited by the crop of people at the helm of affairs immediately the party won power in 2008. .nobody need to reiterate the kind of political wrangling in the NDC party between 2009 and the last quarter of 2012. It was therefore not surprising when almost all the aggrieved members of the party try to let sleeping dogs lie after the demise of the late president John Mills. Many of us were of the view that there was the need to give the party a second chance after the gross disappointments after 2008. But it seems the whole episode of the aftermaths of the 2008 election is repeating itself again.
The second reason for volunteering for JM 2012 was the fact that all those who were marginalized for the past three and half years in terms of jobs , scholarships, contracts and the many more opportunities that are available to a ruling party rush to try their luck one more time. Before then, it wouldn’t have been easy for any of us to hold him/her self as loyal member of the party. Those were the days when the founder (the spirit behind the party) was being chastised all over the place.
Those who want to use volunteerism as a means of building their political carriers were also among the group. Some were not able to win their parliamentary primaries because they
were considered strangers in their own constituencies. Others were also trying to build some popularity for themselves along that line.
Considering the thickness of the wall constructed around the party at that time, the best and only option was to volunteer for the campaign of JM in the 2012 elections. This humble gesture was accepted by the John Mahama 2012 campaign team led by Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and Madam Hannah Tetteh. Some level of support was given to the group to facilitate the operations of the group’s work.
However, it appears the old deeds of the NDC are still hunting it. 8 months after our selfless effort at putting the party in government, it seems we have been forgotten completely. There was not even a phone call just to say thank you for our contribution to the victory 2012. The VfM top hierarchy is about 12 people and I don’t think it would be difficult for the leadership of the 2012 campaign to just pick a phone and say thank you to each of them for a job well done. That is a matured and decent way for every progressive leader to do for the sake of the future.
What Mr. Elvis Ankrah and madam Hannah Tetteh must remember is that those who formed the core of this group was not just ordinary foot soldiers who visit them in their offices for some few cedis and sing praises for them. One cannot down play the contributions of Dr (Alhaji) Haruna, Dr Clement Apak, Mr Mawutor (national coodinator), Mr, Nkansah Charles, Mr. Ekpe Stone and a host of others like myself (Carlos Dawda), Prince Ahorlu and Edem Walanyo who are holders of Masters degrees in various fields and who deliberately team up to perform this miracle we are witnessing today. Working as full time for a period of four months (August – December) with all the sacrifices it brought about, and its negative implications on our families, I think deserves much better than what we are seeing today. Even the public vilification alone would have prompted the President and his cohorts including Elvis and Hannah to think about offering this group at least a deputy ministerial position in the government.
People whose contributions were centered on a single constituencies and those who talk on radio and TV were given positions all over the place to the neglect of those who went round the entire country training volunteers on how to Get-Out-The-Vote on election day for JM as well as how to sell candidate JM on why he must be voted as the president. It is only a short sighted and narrow – minded person who after eating a food will thank only the one who serves him with the food without remembering the person in the kitchen whose tireless efforts made the food worth eating. Should we all remain in Accra and the big towns and move from one radio station to the other, will the story have been the same as it is today? Some of us at one point have to take responsibility of taking care of our own expenses because of the limited resources available for us to work with.
The President, Mr. Elvis Ankrah and Madam Hannah Tetteh should be reminded that those who disregard the one who buttered their bread will soon become hungry in no time. The portrayal of this type of gross ungratefulness by the leadership of the JM 2012 campaign team would not in any way help the future of the party. Once again the phone numbers we use to call on them and receive rapid responses are no longer functioning. They cannot claim they are busier now than in November 2012, when they were serving as ministers as well as coordinating the activities of JM campaign. They must also remember that it is only people with a short political future who think they can use people to achieve their aim and dump them with such impunity and arrogance.
We shall continue to remind them that it is not for the fact that we love them so much and want them to be ministers that we went round the country campaigning for JM. If it is their belief that there will always be people to work for them any time the need arises that would amount to sacrificing competence for mediocre. Times are changing, and they must also learn how to change and take advantage of the opportunities in the system to help consolidate the NDC party in government for a long time to come. Such attitude as we are seeing today cannot be sustained since our electoral system is extremely competitive and is now getting more and more sophisticated.
As long as things remain as it is today, with few people feeling comfortable with the happenings of the Party and will do everything possible to preserve the status quo, a time is coming when the marginalized group will revolt and the consequences will be so immense for the party. We narrowly avoided such episode in 2012; let us not revisit the same nasty scenarios again.
Expect part 2 in a short while.
Carlos Dawda Nasanbory
(Political Consultant)
carlosdauda@gmail.com

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