On Saturday, about 270,000 delegates of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) will decide the fate of seven party bigwigs who have been duly nominated to contest the flag bearer position of the party.
The election is taking place at constituency centres of all 275 constituencies across the country and at the national headquarters of the NDC from 7a.m. to 5 p.m.
Final campaign push
In a final campaign push to lead the NDC into ‘Battle 2020’, the seven candidates, including former President John Dramani Mahama, who had been Vice-President for three and a half years and President for four and a half years, are leaving no stone unturned and have stepped up their game plan to win the hearts and minds of the delegates who will vote nationwide on Saturday.
The other six flag bearer candidates are Prof. Joshua Alabi, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Alhaji Nurideen Iddrisu, Alban Sumani K Bagbin, Sylvester Adinam Mensah (Sly) and Augustus Goosie Tanoh.
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Whoever emerges winner in this election will become the standard bearer of the NDC for the 2020 presidential election and will go into contest with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), even though the ruling NPP, is yet to choose its presidential candidate.
Will the anchor hold?
But the processes leading to the NDC presidential primary had not been smooth but one of controversies, suspicions and accusations and sometimes suspense-filled.
Even at this eleventh hour, the eligibility of former President Mahama is being challenged at the law courts.
Through out the processes leading to the election, no day passes without some of the candidates raising a finger of protest.
From the filing fees, lapses in the guidelines regulating the conduct of the election, voter register and perceived biases, some of the aspirants have expressed frustrations at the process.
Indeed, some representatives of presidential candidates had served warning to the top echelon of the party of an imminent “chaotic” and “controversial” election that might lead to disruptions in the electoral calendar of the party if the lapses are not rectified.
Adherents of democracy
That is why adherents of democracy will expect nothing short of a transparent process whilst issues raised are adequately discussed and addressed as a matter of urgency so that the outcome of the primary will satisfy all interested parties.
From the vetting, presentation of voter roll to all seven candidates, appeals, notice of poll, final print of notice of poll, printing of ballot papers, distribution of ballot papers and election must be conducted in a transparent manner to satisfy the broader interest.
This will go a long way to ensure that the integrity of the upcoming primary is protected.
It also behoves on the leadership of the party to ensure a smooth, free and fair elections in all polling centres.
One of the issues of concerns were that the guidelines had not provided adequate description of electoral processes to be carried out and monitored by agents.
Additionally, the guidelines did not state the rights and obligations of various stakeholders, including agents, Electoral Commission (EC), elections committee and other party officials clearly.
Also, that the guidelines did not provide standards to which the elections committee was committed and the complaints and redress mechanisms available to all candidates.
Among the other grievances raised are that “no notice of polls has been issued two weeks to the election, and aspirants were not invited to oversee printing or distribution of notices”.
Concerns were also raised on issues about the electoral college, voting modalities and ballot box printing that ought to be addressed immediately to forestall the integrity of the electoral process.
4-days to primary
All said and done, with four days to the election, I trust all the festering bottlenecks have been resolved and the NDC is ready to go.
I wish the party well and whoever emerges as the flagbearer has the task of bringing all the candidates, interested parties and factions together to go into Election 2020.