A leading member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Dr. Kwabena Duffour on Thursday launched Phase One of a grassroots party empowerment and self-financing project dubbed the “Ahot)” Project for the opposition NDC party at the Ashaiman constituency in the Greater Accra Region.

The party elders as well as the rank and file of the NDC including constituency and branch executives attended the launch of the project.

Speaking at the launch to formally begin the implementation of the project, the former Finance Minister and Bank of Ghana Governor told party supporters the project is an outcome of his stakeholder engagements with the rank and file of the NDC and his quest to bring a new approach to politics.

“The Ahot) project launched today is a testament of the power of stakeholder engagement and its credit rests on the rank and file of the party. All these years, you have held the fort for the party and borne the responsibility of catering for the needs of your many constituents. Late night calls about a member rushed to the hospital, days when you struggle to pool funds for party mobilization and the numerous financial burdens which come with your leadership as constituency executives”.

He paid tribute to the grassroots leadership of the NDC for their sacrifices to the party.

“Throughout these challenging times, you have risen to the occasion and sacrificed your own resources to support the welfare of members and activities of the party. Today, we celebrate you for these efforts and dedicate this project to you all for your diligence and commitment”.

In a project implementation plan outlined at the lunch of the Ahot) Project, the project manager makes clear that the main aim of this flagship grassroots party support project is geared towards setting up all the 275 constituencies with micro-businesses in order to create the much needed but currently unavailable local cash flow for the day-to-day running of the NDC party at the grassroots level.

But Dr. Duffuor reminded the grassroots leaders of the party of the need to manage the project in line with the NDC party’s basic principles.

“We are launching this initiative here in the Ashaiman constituency – one of the strongholds of our party in the Greater Accra Region. In the next few weeks and months, we will extend this initiative to all 275 constituencies for everyone in our party to benefit from it.’’

He continued,  ‘’As I have already pointed out, a resourced party is a strong party. Revenue belongs at our grassroots, not the top and we must build this party from the ground, upwards. This initiative is also a test of our highest ideals as a party – probity and accountability.’’

He disclosed the Ahotor Project is under the management of constituency leadership who will be accountable to their constituents for the proceeds of these businesses.

While advising the constituency executives against mismanaging the Ahot) Project, Dr. Duffuor threw a subtle blow at the ruling NPP government.

“It is essential that executives remain transparent in the management of this initiative in their various constituencies, for all party members to feel a part of this project. I am optimistic that our executives will manage the responsibility of this project with integrity, unlike the inward-looking leadership we see in the Jubilee House today.’’

The constituency business support project, according to Dr. Duffuor, will put a reliable support system in place to generate income for the smooth running of the party at the local level.

He advised party members to engage in the new politics of ideas and reminded party members that it is important to think of creative ways to generate money for the NDC because without money, it is not easy to run a political party or its campaigns to win elections.

“The truth is, politics is an expensive undertaking. No political party can remain competitive and relevant without being well resourced at all times. Another truth is that the core of our politics is our grassroots base. It is why matters of welfare, mobilization and outreach must always be at the heart of our efforts in party management.’’

He called the Ahot) Project the ‘’new approach’’ to politics.

“This seed is being sown in the life of our party. It is a response to a call for aid in the spirit of building the NDC. May this represent our new approach to politics henceforth. In the face of challenges, let us engage to find solutions. At all times, may we be guided by the value of collaboration and its power to generate relevant solutions. That is what the Ahotor Project represents and that is how we will rebuild our party – together’’.

The idea of Ahot) which means ‘’relief’’ in the Akan language according to the project manager Abass Osabutey, is the outcome of a business feasibility study commissioned by Dr. Duffuor and carried out by a technical team throughout the 275 constituencies in the country to identify the most feasible and sustainable business idea capable of financing NDC party activities at the local level.

He explained that each constituency shall receive accessories, logistics and equipment worth 30,000 Ghana cedis to enable the smooth implementation of the business project. This brings the total investment to 8,250,000 Ghana cedis.

“For example, in our local settings, social events such as funerals, naming ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, durbars, political campaigns and rallies are mostly outdoor activities. This places high demand on plastic chairs, canopies, public address systems, power generators, podiums, mobile toilets etc.

Phase One of the project which starts from the Ashaiman constituency will cover forty eight (48) constituencies selected, based on constituencies with the highest voter population and those that are orphan constituencies.’’

Abass Osabutey also said the project  brings relief to overburdened party MPs and local executives who have supported local party activities for years at their personal expense.

Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM/Isaac Dzidzoamenu