The aftermath of the recent NDC National Delegates Congress has underscored the demand by the delegates for the party to change its direction if they are to wrestle power from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2024 election.
For the thousands of the party delegates who had assembled at the Accra Sports stadium electing the right people for the NDC chair and General Secretary positions are critical to the chances of the party in the 2024 elections.
Besides, the delegates over the period feel the party leadership had neglected the grassroot and there was a need for fundamental shift to re-energize the party base.
In an interaction with some delegates at the congress, the sentiments among them show that members would prefer the party to elect strong and dynamic leaders who would be able to address issues concerning the grassroot and to lead the party to victory.
For the delegates, the immediate past Chairman, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo was too soft on issues when it comes to taking on the NPP and defending the party’s members and interest, and would prefer somebody like Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the current Chairman of the NDC who is known for his “hawkish” views on issues to lead the party and mobilize the ordinary people of the party for victory in 2024.
It was however not surprising that Mr Asiedu Nketia, popularly known as General Mosquito won the NDC chair race with an overwhelming margin by polling 5,569 votes to beat his main challenger Mr Ofosu Ampofo, who got 2,892 votes at the National Delegates Elections.
The campaigns by the two front runners leading to the contest had generated a lot of interest because of the power the position wielded and the nature of the personalities contesting.
In the race for the General Secretary position, the delegates did not have any favourite persons among the contestants to vote for at the congress and the surprise was how Mr Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, former MP for Ketu South won over the other two contenders at the Congress.
The former Deputy Minister for Finance and former propaganda secretary contested with Dr Peter Boamah Otukunor, who served as Mr Nketia’s Deputy and Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, a former Sports Minister.
Apart from Mr Elikem Kotoko, Mr Kobby Marlon and a few others who are fresh faces among the NDC’s National Executive, the rest of the executives who won were old members who contested for new positions or went for re-election.
Besides, security in and around the venue was beefed up to forestall any unforeseen circumstances and ward off persons likely to foment trouble that could compromise the election procedure.
Hundreds of personnel from the Ghana Police Service together with their equipment were stationed at the entry points to enforce the ‘No Accreditation, No Entry’ policy of the party.
The party leadership assured of an incident-free congress following the chaos that tainted the NDC Youth and Women’s Organizers election at the University of Cape Coast.
Also, officers of the Ghana National Fire Service, medical teams and clinics were set up within the precincts of the stadium at attend to emergencies.
The election for the NDC national executive was peaceful as the aspirants complied with the directive given by the Electoral Commission officials ensure smooth voting process at the congress.
In all over 60 candidates contested for different national positions while over 10,000 delegates including those from the diaspora participated in the voting at the 10th National Delegates Congress.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Dr Alidu Seidu, a political Scientist, stated that the election of the new national executives of the NDC was timely and crucial to the party’s electoral fortunes.
“They are the best to be elected by the party as they attempt to wrestle power from New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2024,”
According to the Senior Political Lecturer at the University of Ghana, both Mr Asiedu Nketia, new NDC Chairman and Mr Fiifi Kwetey, the General Secretary, had the experience of prosecuting national elections and it showed in their own individual campaigns as former Members Parliament (MP) as well having in-depth knowledge in government business after handling various ministerial portfolios.
Dr Seidu also explained that strangely the current political challenges and circumstances of the country were similar in 2008, when the NDC prosecuted its campaign to defeat the NPP government.
Drawing parallels, he said at the 6th National Delegates Congress of the NDC at Koforidua that elected the executives to prosecute the 2008 campaign, the incumbent Chairman Dr Obed Asamoah, was defeated by Dr Kwabena Adjei, and Mr Asiedu Nketia was elected the General Secretary while Mr Ofosu Ampofo and Mr Fiifi Kwetey were elected National Organizer and Propaganda Secretary, respectively.
He said curiously enough, the NDC was having a repeat performance of same crop of political actors; “Mr Asiedu Nketia is the Chairman of the NDC, Fiifi Kwetey, the General Secretary, holding two important positions within the party and have had the experience of national elections, prosecuted their own individual campaigns as former Members Parliament (MP) and served in government at various levels.”