The battle lines?seem to have?been drawn?regarding who?takes control of?the National Democratic?Congress (NDC) as the?party goes to congress?today to elect national officers?ahead of the 2016 general?elections.
The event which is taking?place at the Baba Yara?Sports Stadium in Kumasi?will see over 3,629 delegates?voting to elect the officers?for the positions of National?Chairman, Vice Chairpersons,?General Secretary,?Deputies, National Organiser,?Deputies, Treasurer,?Propaganda Secretary and?Deputies.
Seventy aspirants are?vying for about 23 various?positions in the party.
Attracting the highest?patronage is the vice chairman?slot ? with 17 aspirants?and 12 vying for the deputy?propaganda position.
Today?s election is seen?as a battle for the heart and?soul of the governing party,?with various schemes and?interests at play as allegations?are being levelled?against the presidency for?using money to influence?delegates.
The contest has been?characterised by acrimony?and allegations of massive?vote-buying on the part of?persons suspected to be?supported by President?John Mahama, even though?the president has denied?any involvement.
There is general perception?that the NDC is under?the beck and call of the General?Secretary, Johnson?Asiedu Nketia, popularly?known as General Mosquito,?who is becoming too?powerful, having unilaterally?clipped the wings of the?party?s founder Jerry John?Rawlings.
It?s not clear if Rawlings?is attending the congress as?sources said he had travelled?to South Africa early?this week.
The congress therefore?promises to be an interesting?contest with incumbent?Asiedu Nketia and President?Mahama ? who according?to the constitution of the?NDC is the leader of the?party ? squaring up for the?control of the political?grouping.
While Asiedu Nketia is?waging a campaign to?retain his post and those of?most of his colleague current?executives, President?Mahama is alleged to be?sponsoring a number of?candidates to change the?old order, including the?incumbent National Chairman,?Dr Kwabena Adjei.
The general secretary is?being challenged quietly by?Abdul Ishaq Farrakan.
In the camp of Asiedu?Nketia are Dr Kwabena?Adjei and Yaw Boateng?Gyan, whose position as?National Organiser is being?seriously threatened by Kofi?Adams, spokesman for the?party?s founder.
Incumbent Deputy?Propaganda Secretary?Solomon Nkansah, who is?now seeking to become the?substantive propaganda?secretary, is equally struggling?to save himself from?the sinking ship with his?position being contested by?Kobby Fiagbe, editor of pro-?NDC newspaper GhanaianLens and Nii Doodoo, who?is believed to be in the camp?of the president.
Even though President?Mahama has denied supporting?anyone in the contest,?it is believed he is backing?candidates like Kofi Portuphy,?a vice chairperson, to?unseat Dr Kwabena Adjei as?national chairman; Kofi?Adams and Kojo Adu Asare?who is seeking to become?one of the deputy general?secretaries of the party.
Dr Kwabena Adjei has?not hidden his resentment?against the practice of delegates?being bribed to vote?for certain candidates and?in a certain direction, wondering?how a so-called?social democratic party has?suddenly allowed right?wing elements to hijack the?party, with money virtually?becoming the deciding factor.?Kofi Portuphy, who is?the National Coordinator?the National Disaster Management?Organisation?(NADMO), has been?accused of sharing relief?items, including rice, cooking?oil, roofing sheets and?bags of cement in addition?to cash, to delegates to solicit?their votes.
Asiedu Nketia, who?spoke on Adom FM yesterday,?said some of those allegations?had come to his?attention for which he?had cause to confront the?President and the Chief of?Staff, Prosper Bani, whose?names had been associated?with the bribery allegation.
He even said chits for?the allocation of seized vehicles?had been given to some?of the delegates in exchange?for votes.
The brazen use of?money had compelled pro-?NDC newspaper The?Informer, which is published?by former presidential?spokesperson and?deputy general secretary?aspirant, Koku Anyidoho,?to devote an entire editorial?space to attack the presidency?accused of working?against people who used to?work with the late President?Mills. Anyidoho himself,?who is not sure of winning?the position, is said to be?playing on the Mills card to?get sympathy votes.
In a repeated editorial of?the paper yesterday, The?Informer did not mince?words in stating that ?We?know how certain persons?within the corridors of?power are seriously trying?to induce and are splashing?money around to buy delegates?to vote against Yaw?Boateng Gyan, Ludwig?Hlodze and Solomon?Nkansah; but it will not?work.
?Those ?strangers? at the?Flagstaff House who are?destroying the NDC and?President John Dramani?Mahama should know that?the NDC delegates are discerning?and shall not be??foolishly? swayed by??filthy? money that is being?thrown around per revelations?from their own preferred?aspirants.? It insisted?that the NDC is not for sale.
Ludwig is already down?as he lost miserably in the?youth election two weeks?ago to Sidi Abubakar,?believed to be the president?s?candidate.
The use of money has?also enraged a chairmanship?candidate, Dan?Abokakpi.
Though he refused to?mention names for the sake?of party unity, he disclosed?on Kapital Radio that some?of the candidates were?expending huge amounts of?money on their campaign to?ensure that they win at all?cost.
Mr Abodakpi, who?termed the unfortunate?development as ?Moneycracy,??was of the view that the?current trend posed a threat?to the NDC if unchecked on?time, noting that money?politics used to be alien to?them.
He asked where those?that were spending colossal?amounts of money on their?campaign were deriving?their monies from. ?Some?few years ago this party was?struggling to even pay our?agents,? he recalled.
Mr Abodakpi added?that he was surprised that?suddenly the party which?was cash-strapped could?now have candidates that?were expending big monies?to get elected into national?executive positions.
But indications are that?by the close of polls today,?the scales are likely to tilt in?favour of the Mahama team?? comprising Kofi Portuphy,?Kofi Adams, Kojo?Adu-Asare, George Lawson?for deputy general secretary,?Nii Doodoo, Kobby?Fiagbe for propaganda secretary,?with Asiedu Nketia?retaining his position.
Meanwhile, the party?will not allow candidates to?deliver speeches to the delegates?before voting starts.?Asiedu Nketia made?this known during a press?conference at the Baba Yara?Stadium yesterday.
He stated that that was?going to be the first time the?party had decided to ban?candidates from making?speeches at congress, stressing?that the decision was?reached due to a number of?reasons.
General Mosquito disclosed?that a staggering 70?people are contesting for 23?positions, with 3,359 delegates?including external?branches of the NDC casting?their ballot on the day,?adding that if all the 70 candidates?were allowed to?make speeches, it would?delay the programme unduly.
According to him, the?candidate?s names and their?numbers on the ballot?papers would be?announced to the delegates?before voting starts.
The NDC chief scribe?said that some selected top?people including the NDC?founder, Jerry John Rawlings?and President Mahama?would be allowed to?address the delegates and?guests.
BY Charles?Takyi-Boadu & I.F. Joe?Awuah Jnr., Kumasi