As the National Democratic Congress (NDC) goes to yet another crucial national delegates congress on Saturday to elect its national executive officers to steer the affairs of the party towards Election 2020 and beyond, there is a lot of anxiety as to which candidates will emerge victorious.
About 15,000 people, made up of 9,350 delegates and 5,650 observers, are expected to throng the Trade Fair Centre in Accra to elect the national executives.
So far, the race for the national chairmanship and the general secretaryship seems to be the keenest.
Two constituencies barred
Two constituencies — Affram Plains South and Kade, both in the Eastern Region — will not take part in the congress for the reason that they have not been able to hold elections at the branch level.
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Also barred from the elections are some foreign branches of the party, for the same reason.
What the affected constituencies and branches can do is attend the congress as observers but not as delegates.
A battle of stalwarts
There are five stalwarts of the party vying for the national chairmanship. They are a former Trade and Industry Minister and former NDC MP for Keta, Mr Dan Abodakpi; the party’s former Director of Elections, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo; a former Attorney General and current Vice-Chairperson, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu; a businessman, Mr Daniel Anang, and Alhaji Huudu Yahaya.
Currently, the National Chairman of the NDC is Mr Kofi Portuphy, who is not seeking re-election.
Two heavyweights of the party, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia and Mr Koku Anyidoho, are vying for the position of General Secretary.
So far, it does appear that the hype surrounding the congress is really about who becomes the General Secretary, as Mr Anyidoho, who is the Deputy General Secretary in charge of Operations, is busily campaigning to unseat his boss, Mr Asiedu Nketia, the substantive General Secretary.
The general secretaryship seems to be dicey, as the two candidates are working so hard to convince and win the votes of the delegates, come tomorrow.
Mr Asiedu Nketia’s position has been under threat since Anyidoho picked nomination forms to contest him.
For the first time since he became General Secretary in 2008, Mr Asiedu Nketia, popularly called General Mosquito, is facing stiff competition from Koku, who has vowed to snatch the post from him.
Mr Asiedu Nketia has come to own that position for some time now and very few dared challenged him. For Koku to do so brings on board new dynamics.
Who wins the position is the race to watch.
When the curtains are finally drawn in a few days’ time, political pundits will find out whether there will be a change of the guard or the old will maintain their positions?
Each constituency is expected to send 28 delegates to vote in the elections.
Total number of candidates
The National Organiser of the party, Mr Kofi Adams, said number of candidates for this year’s national executive elections was 89, out of which 65 would contest for positions on Saturday, November 17, 2018.
The remaining 24, he explained, had earlier taken part in the women’s and youth conference that had already been decided.
The positions to be contested for on Saturday are: national chairman, vice-chairman, general secretary, deputy general secretary, national organiser, deputy national organiser, communications officer, deputy communications officer, national executive committee members and the Zongo caucus coordinator.
“So there are 10 positions to be contested for on Saturday by 65 people,” he added.
Format of the congress
Touching on the format, he said the congress would be in two phases. The first phase, he said, would be the opening, when speeches would be made, in addition to amendments to the party’s constitution.
The second phase would be solely for elections.
“So the first phase, which we expect to start latest by 11 a.m., will include the opening of the congress by the national chairman.
Then there will be the general secretary’s report, presentation of the financial report by the national treasurer, solidarity messages from other parties that will be present, messages from the foreign branches. Then the Minority group in Parliament, represented by the Minority Leader, will present its report.
After that, the two former Presidents, in the persons of Mr Jerry John Rawlings and Mr John Dramani Mahama, will address the congress,” he elaborated.
That, he said, would be followed by amendments to the party’s constitution, which would bring the first phase to a close.
After that, Mr Adams said, the electoral committee of the party would hand over to the Electoral Commission (EC) for the conduct of the elections.
Choice of venue
Mr Adams said because the party had decided to hold the congress in Accra, it was thought that the Trade Fair Centre was the most appropriate venue to