Big test for NDC Saturday - Status quo or new Chairman?
Come Saturday, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) will face a test case as it goes to congress to elect its national executive to steer the affairs of the party for the next four years.
The spotlight, which is the National Chairman position, has incumbent National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, and the General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, in pole position to win the slot.
Although four stalwarts of the party, who include a former Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Armah Ashitey, and a former Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Yaw Adusei, are in the chairmanship race, Ofosu Ampofo and Asiedu Nketia will be the cynosure of all eyes.
Last Saturday, delegates of the party voted to retain George Opare Addo and Dr Hanna Louisa Bissiw as National Youth and Women’s Organisers.
Women and Youth confab
Mr Opare Addo, popularly known as Pablo, defeated his sole contender, Yaw Brogya Genfi, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser, for the second time running in the Youth Organiser contest, while Dr Bissiw also beat off a challenge from Margaret Ansei, aka Magoo, a former Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Suhum, to retain her position as the National Women’s Organiser.
About 1,800 delegates of the party who converged on the campus of the University of Cape Coast, participated in the exercise to renew the four-year mandate of the two national officers of the NDC.
Mr Opare Addo polled 533 votes and his sole contender, Mr Brogya Genfi, had 508, while Dr Bissiw polled 433 as against Magoo’s 362 for the Women’s Organiser position. This leaves the race for the National Chairman, the General Secretary and the National Organiser slots for Saturday.
Already, the two leading contestants of the National Chairman candidates have criss-crossed the length and breadth of the country, campaigning to win the hearts and minds of the delegates.
Many political watchers are waiting to see whether Ofosu Ampofo can retire Asiedu Nketia from active politics or the man known in political circles as General Mosquito will upset Ofosu Ampofo. The mantra, ‘fear delegates’ will prevail once again in this contest.
Mr Ofosu Ampofo is seeking re-election for a second term, while Mr Asiedu Nketia, who has been the party's General Secretary for 17 years, will slug it out with the incumbent.
There are other national executive positions such as the General Secretary and National Organiser that also promise to be hotly contested.
The General Secretary position has three leading members of the party, namely the incumbent Deputy General Secretary, Dr Peter Boamah Otokunor; the National Elections Director, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, and a former Minister of State, Fifi Fiave Kwetey.
The National Organiser position will also be contested by five personalities. They are the incumbent, Joshua Akamba, Henry Osei Akoto, Mahdi Mohammed Gibril, Sidii Abubakari and Solomon Yaw Nkansah.
What has accounted for Mr Asiedu Nketia brazenly going for nomination forms and launching his campaign to snatch the chairmanship slot from Mr Ofosu Ampofo who himself has also declared his interest to seek re-election because he has an unfinished business?
Will it be a case of ‘dog fight dog’ within the NDC or the ‘mosquito fight the bull?’
Mr Ofosu Ampofo and Mr Asiedu Nketia, before the NDC opened nominations for the contest, had begun their campaign on a blistering note that condescended to the arena of personality attacks.
Mr Asiedu Nketia is touting himself as the strongest, most fearless, most courageous, most formidable, most electable and viable political tactician.
He further says that the NDC needs a national chairman who is not amenable to any influence, inducement or compromise by external forces.
This has received reactions from Mr Ofosu Ampofo who has immediately responded by saying “we do not go into a political contest with ‘batakari’ and a catapult”.
Mr Ampofo said the NDC had become more attractive under his leadership and, therefore, his mandate should be renewed by the delegates to lead the party to recapture power in 2024.
He said he had what it took to bring the NDC back to power again, adding that together with his team, he managed to snatch some parliamentary seats that had never been won by the party in a long while such as Tema East, Ayensuano, among others.
He said he took the NDC from a position where as a party in government it lost the 2016 elections with over one million votes and lost 53 seats and within the space of less than two years he and his team worked hard to increase the party's popular votes by almost two million and increased its parliamentary seats from 106 to 137 in the 2020 general election.
Mr Ofosu Ampofo said he and his team in the history of the Fourth Republic had pushed Parliament into a hung one and the tactics to ensure a resounding victory for the party in 2024 for the NDC to form the next government in 2025 under his leadership as the chairman to prosecute its pragmatic programmes and policies to build a resilient economy for the benefit of the people.
Mr Asiedu Nketia, for his part, has said the experience he has gained as the longest-serving General Secretary of any political party in the country makes him the best person to occupy the national chairman position of the NDC.
“We need a leadership that has the moral courage to stand up to a marauding NPP in the 2024 elections. The NDC needs a Chairman who is not amenable to any influence, inducement or compromise by external forces. It is these qualities that I humbly bring to the table in this contest for the Chairmanship position of the party,” he said.
Mr Asiedu Nketia added that: “The NDC must, therefore, be properly organised and have a leadership that exhibits untainted integrity, fearlessness, trustworthiness, proven temperament, selflessness, discipline, accountability, transparency and emotional intelligence”.
“On the evidence of the kind of governance we have seen in the last six years, failure to wrest the leadership of our dear country from the NPP will spell doom for Ghanaians as they would have been condemned to more bad governance and total maladministration,” he said.
Meanwhile, former President John Dramani Mahama, who was the NDC 2020 Presidential Candidate in a release issued last Tuesday by his Special Aide, Joyce Bawah Mogtari, reiterated an earlier caution to the various aspirants to desist from using his name to canvass for votes ahead of the elections.
According to Mr Mahama, he had no preference and, therefore, had not endorsed any candidate in the upcoming national executive elections.
He, therefore, urged supporters of the NDC to work with whoever the delegates would choose and elect at the congress as their new national executive.
The NDC Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, called on the delegates to elect a formidable team that was capable of leading the NDC to victory because Ghanaians were looking up to the party to rescue them from the current economic crisis, leadership paralysis and massive corruption.
“You must elect people with a high sense of patriotism and nationalism, who are courageous and have love for the people so that they can team up with the flag bearer to prosecute the agenda,” he stated.
He further urged the delegates to look at the current economic situation of the country and put the nation first and ahead of any material thing or financial gains, saying they should resist any temptation to be compromised.
The tense moment in Cape Coast last week can be a reflection of what will prevail in Accra on Saturday.