The Uncelebrated Architect of the NDC: Goosie Tanoh

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) stands at a crossroads, and the path it chooses will undoubtedly shape the future of Ghanaian politics.

The imminent decision regarding John Mahama’s running mate will not only shape the immediate future of the party but will also play a pivotal role in securing Mahama’s legacy, even if it’s a single-term leadership.

For a political party, leadership is the rudder that steers the ship, guiding it through turbulent waters and ensuring it remains on course. Therefore, when assessing candidates for the all-important role of the NDC’s running mate, it’s imperative to examine candidates based not on fleeting emotions or affiliations, but on an objective assessment of their credentials.

Among the potential candidates, Goosie Tanoh’s rich tapestry of accomplishments stands out as unparalleled. In light of stringent electioneering and governance benchmarks, here’s why Tanoh’s resume is compelling.

A Tapestry of Accomplishments

Goosie Tanoh is not just a name within the NDC; he’s a legacy. With a rich blend of international business, law, and vast political experience, he presents a profile that is hard to parallel.

His contributions to Ghana’s public service sphere are monumental. From serving as the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the PNDC & Government of Ghana to representing the nation at the UN Security Council, his leadership and vision are evident. His negotiations at international platforms like the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) underscore his diplomatic acumen.

Moreover, his instrumental role in molding Ghana’s Petroleum sector cannot be understated. As an architect of the 1984 Petroleum Exploration and Production Law and the 1983 GNPC Law, he has left an indelible mark on Ghana’s economic landscape.

A Formidable Architect of the NDC

It’s pivotal to grasp that Goosie isn’t merely a part of the NDC; he is an essential fabric of its genesis. Goosie was at the forefront in 1991-1993 when the party’s foundation was being laid. As Chair of the Forum for Sustainable Development (FSD), he effectively countered older political paradigms, laying the groundwork for a national democratic political party. The FSD under Goosie’s guidance:

  • Pioneered the “National Democracy” concept that became the party’s mission.
  • Organized the basic branch structure of NDC even before the ban on political activity was lifted.
  • Authored the NDC’s maiden constitution.
  • Innovated the party’s iconic logo, transitioning from the “Kyinee” concept to today’s “Akatamanso” emblem.
  • Organized the party’s inaugural congress.

This role he played is akin to a master architect designing an imposing structure. His vision birthed the NDC we know today, and his continued leadership will shepherd it towards even greater horizons.

Distinguished Political Strategist

Beyond formation, Goosie’s political acumen has been instrumental in the NDC’s electoral victories. As the Campaign Secretary for the 1992 election, his strategies led the NDC to a resounding win with 58.4% of votes. By 1996, he had fine-tuned this prowess even further. He played a vital role in:

  • The setup & recruitment of cadre volunteers that constituted a 22-member Propaganda team for the NDC.
  • Financing and orchestrating an extensive grassroots campaign.
  • Conducting a review for Vice-Presidential Candidate, Prof. Evans Atta-Mills, of NDC’s electoral chances and the deficit areas and designing a grassroots campaign program that eventually led to the victory of the NDC in the 1996 elections.

These victories underscore Goosie’s unparalleled strategic aptitude, proving his ability to galvanize party resources and ensure electoral success.

A Champion of Grassroots Empowerment

Central to Goosie’s vision is the empowerment of the grassroots. In 2018, he spearheaded the formation of Organizing for Ghana (O4GH). This initiative brought together 13 pro-NDC fronts, which Goosie had either coordinated or helped create between 2008 and 2016, under a unified banner.

By amalgamating these various groups into a single cohesive unit, Goosie contributed to ensuring that the NDC’s rejuvenation was anchored deeply within its grassroots, synchronizing national political strategies with local ambitions and needs.

His commitment to grassroots representation and national development traces back to the early 90s. In 1991-1992, as a representative of the Cadres group, he played a pivotal role in the Consultative Assembly, contributing significantly to the drafting of Ghana’s Fourth Republic constitution.

A pivotal moment in Goosie’s political journey was in the late 90s into 2000 when he demonstrated his unwavering commitment to grassroots democracy. Concerned about the lack of representation and inclusivity in the party’s decision-making processes, Goosie, in concert with other party visionaries, initiated the Reform Movement of the NDC. Their mission was clear: to remind the party’s leadership of the NDC’s core values.

When in-house efforts didn’t instigate the desired change, Goosie and his allies decided to make their concerns public. When their efforts were met with intimidation, victimization and misinformation, he and some of his comrades took the bold but difficult decision to break away. This was not a mere act of dissent; it was a testament to his belief in the power of the grassroots.

It is a true example of what President Jerry Rawlings will later reference as “Positive Defiance”. Goosie’s actions eventually led to the inclusion of Branches in the ultimate decision-making process, ensuring that local party units had a say in electing the party leadership.

This move further solidified his reputation as a champion of grassroots empowerment. It showed that he wasn’t afraid to take bold steps for the greater good of the party and Ghana.

A Statesman on the Global Stage

Goosie’s accomplishments aren’t restricted to Ghana’s borders. Between 1986 to 1988, he served as an Advisor/Minister Counsellor to the Ghana Delegation at the United Nations. Here, he shaped Ghana’s positions on major global issues, from ending the Iran/Iraq War to the security crisis in Southern Africa. His role as the principal negotiator for Ghana on the Mining Code for the Law of the Sea, and his election as Chairman of the Africa Group, further emphasize his stature on the world stage.

Today, as the NDC shortlists its candidates for the vice-presidential slot, I am convinced that Goosie Tanoh will NOT be on that list. But I genuinely believe that Goosie Tanoh’s absence from this list will be a glaring oversight. His experience, contributions, and strategic acumen make him not just a strong contender but a stalwart whose involvement can greatly enrich the party’s direction.

Furthermore, in recent years, Goosie’s distance from the party leadership has been palpable. This detachment is a loss for both the NDC and for the man whose legacy is intertwined with its success. I call upon Goosie Tanoh to reinvigorate his active involvement within the party. At the same time, it’s equally imperative for the party leadership to recognize his invaluable prowess and actively seek his counsel and contributions. The NDC stands to gain immensely from bridging this gap.

Goosie Tanoh’s legacy in the NDC is indelible. As the party looks towards the future, embracing its foundational pillars is essential. Goosie is one such pillar. It’s high time the NDC harnesses his expertise, and it’s equally crucial for Goosie to realign himself more closely with the party he helped shape.

Source: Efo Fenuku

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