Security high at NDC congress today - 9,000 Delegates to vote
Both the planning committee and the police are placing premium on security in and around the Accra Sports Stadium where the 10th National Delegates Congress of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is taking place today to, among other things, elect new national leaders for the party.
While the police have given the assurance that they will do their part to ensure that the congress is successful, the planning committee says that it has also mapped out strategies aimed at a largely incident-free event.
Leaving nothing to chance, the security arrangements will include police presence at vantage points that lead into the Accra Sports Stadium, the Black Star Square as well as the entire radius of the stadium and within the precincts of the stadium.
Also, without proper accreditation, no one will be allowed entry into the stadium.
All these, according to the planning committee and the police, were being done to ensure that no miscreants invaded the venue to cause trouble.
A total number of 9,000 accredited delegates are expected to attend the congress and vote to elect national officers to run the party for the next four years.
They include party executive at all levels – national, regional and constituency as well as executive of the party’s overseas branches.
Also expected to vote at the two-day event will be the Council of Elders of the party, NDC Members of Parliament (MPs) and former appointees of the NDC administration.
As part of the election, last week, the party held its National Women and Youth Conference in Cape Coast during which the women’s and youth organisers were elected, but what was expected to be a peaceful event recorded some violent incidents which left two persons injured.
Following the Cape Coast conference, the planning committee of the party’s congress reviewed its initial plan for today.
No accreditation, no entry
As part of its strategy, the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Alex Segbefia, told the Daily Graphic that it had been agreed that “ no accredited person or delegate would be allowed access to the Congress venue.”
“Additionally, apart from the party colours, anyone wearing candidates’ T-shirts or any other form of paraphernalia to support a particular candidate will not be allowed at the venue grounds and the police will be out to strictly enforce this,” Mr Segbefia stressed.
He explained that since it was a delegates’ congress and not a rally, it was important to strictly enforce the rules of engagement for the delegates conference.
“We have reviewed what happened in Cape Coast and to avert a similar situation, we have decided if one is not an accredited delegate, he or she will not be allowed at the venue grounds and also, any other person who has any role to play will have to be accredited as well,” Mr Segbefia emphasised.
A police source at the venue grounds during a recce yesterday, also told the Daily Graphic that while its deployed personnel would be out to enforce the directive from the planning committee, it had also reviewed its role and operation during a similar exercise also held at the Accra Sports Stadium and had strategised to make this latest operation more effective and efficient.
“In addition to the agreed plans with the NDC, we have also reviewed a similar exercise we undertook when the New Patriotic Party held their congress last July and have mapped out a plan to make this operation also a success if not better.
“We will deploy personnel from the State House area towards the stadium and also at all the main access points to the stadium. At the designated car parks, within the precincts of the stadium, and in the stands personnel would be deployed.
“This is not the first time we have undertaken such an exercise so we have everything under control but we are also prepared for surprises,” the source said, indicating however that they were expecting a peaceful exercise.
The stake and spotlight is the election of the National Chairman as the incumbent National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, will be challenged by the incumbent General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.
Although two other stalwarts of the party - 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.
Many political watchers are waiting to see whether Mr Ofosu Ampofo can retire Mr Asiedu Nketia from active politics or the man known in political circles as General Mosquito will upset Mr 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 Fiavi Kwetey.
The National Organiser position will also be contested by five personalities. They are the incumbent, Joshua Hamidu Akamba, Henry Osei Akoto, Mahdi Mohammed Gibril, Sidii Abubakari and Solomon Yaw Nkansah.