NDC Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka has refused to throw support for names mentioned in the race for the 2020 NDC presidential candidate.
Adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ posture towards growing interest for the position, the Asawase MP wants to see party energy concentrated on re-organising the party following its worst defeat since it was founded in 1992.
In a radio interview on Accra based Citi FM Thursday evening, Alhaji Muntaka said the “right time will tell who should lead us.”
He won’t back his ‘senior brother’ former President John Mahama or ‘his friend’ Haruna Idrrisu just yet.
Photo: Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu with Muntaka to the right; Muntaka shakes hands with former President John Mahama
Even before the Natonal Democratic Congress (NDC) completes investigations into its 2016 defeat, several names have popped up on potential presidential candidates for 2020.
Former President John Mahama has been urged to try again after his bid for a second-term was crushed by old NPP rival Akufo-Addo.
Mahama is seen by senior party figures as the party’s best bet and several former appointees have lined-up to throw in support.
Former Trade minister Ekow Spio-Garbrah has refused to rule himself out but Second Deputy Speaker Alban Bagbin has signalled interest to purse an ambition hatched since primary school.
Possible also-runs include Former UPSA Vice-Chancellor Prof Joshua Alabi, former NHIA CEO Sylvester Mensah and an NDC returnee Goozie Tanoh who is thought to want to partner Zanetor Rawlings, the former president Rawlings’ daughter.
Here is a transcript of Muntaka’s interview granted on Citi FM Thursday evening.
Question: “Do you have presidential ambitions?”
Muntaka: “Well there is nobody under this sun who starts doing something and does not want to get to the climax of it but all depends on the will of Allah, I’m a politician, if it is the will of Allah that one day I get there, why not.”
Asked if he supports Mr Mahama, who is supposed to be enjoying majority support, Alhaji Muntaka said: “Let’s wait for the right time and the right leader will emerge.”
“It would be too early to say [who] should lead us, or Mr B or Mr C or Madam B should lead us.”
Question: Is John Mahama your favourite candidate?
Muntaka: “John Mahama has led us and I think he did the best that he could.”
Question: Do you think John Mahama’s candidature is the best bet for NDC?
Muntaka: “its too early in the day.”
Question: Is it so difficult for you to tell me whether or not a John Mahama candidature is the best bet for the NDC?
Muntaka: “its so early in the days. It is very early in the days.”
Question: “Other names have popped up. The honourable Alban Sumana Bagbin?”
Muntaka: “Look from the President [Mahama] to whoever, the names that are coming, they are all qualified but as to who will best lead us [NDC] into 2020 I perfectly agree with the President [Mahama] that lets wait for the right time… I have a lot of faith in Allah that when the time comes he will give us the wisdom and understanding to pick the best person.”
Question: “Your response sound like you do not support John Mahama?”
Muntaka: “Its not true…I have very close relationship with the President [Mahama], I’m like a younger brother to him but I agree with what he said [time not ripe to decide on next leader] and I’m sticking strongly to it.”
Question: “the honourable Haruna’s name has been mentioned.”
Answer: “Haruna is a qualified person, why not, we were in school together, the right time will tell who should lead us.”