…. As General Mosquito’s campaign resonates with the youth
As the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) head for the polls on December 17 to elect their national officers, one position that is being watched keenly is that of national chairman.
The two front-runners for the chairmanship are the current chairman Samuel Ofosu-Ampofu and General Secretary Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, AKA General Mosquito.
There have been arguments about the propriety of the seating General Secretary contesting for the chairmanship when the seating chairman hadn’t stepped down. NDC members, including Said Sinare went to town leveling several allegations against the former Wenchi West MP.
“Asiedu-Nketia has been General Secretary for 17 years, what else does he want?” asked one vociferous Ofosu-Ampofo supporter going by the facebook name Butrous Andy Kwaku Yirenkyi.
And this has been the main campaign message of most of the attack dogs of the national chairman. But history shows that Ofosu-Ampofo has spent about the same number of years in office as Asiedu-Nketiah, having been national organizer from 2002 to 2010, first National Vice-Chairman from 2014 to 2017 and chairman from 2018. In the same vein, General Mosquito also became General Secretary in 1996 and has remained in office.
So using the time in office as a campaign tool against Asiedu-Nketia is a weak propaganda message because Ofosu-Ampofo has spent the same number of years in national office as his closest contender.
Campaign must be based on track-record, and that is what many think Ofosu-Ampofo and his propagandists have been running away from, since General Mosquito’s track record in office has been sterling.
Many NDC youth see the current chairman as a political journeyman, compared with the solid track record of the General-Secretary.
In 2002, Ofosu-Ampfo became the party’s National Organizer (NO), but the first signs of his lack of organizational acumen came to the fore when the party sought to organize a street protest in 2003, some party members recalled.
Some who spoke in interviews recalled how the then Director of Communication of the party, John Dramani Mahama, had to call for a suspension of the protest, reorganized, and that resulted in huge turn-out of party faithful to participate in the protest, in those days of John Agyekum Kufuor’s high-handedness and conspiracies against NDC and its leaders.
Subsequently, NDC lost the 2004 elections with Ofosu-Ampofo still in the saddle as NO. With the stakes very high in the pending 2008 elections and with the parliamentary caucus in an uncompromising mood, the MPs and some party elders, including the late founder, JJ Rawlings impressed upon Dr. Kwabena Adjei and Johnson Asiedu Nketia to sacrifice their parliamentary careers to save the party from imminent defeat in 2008.
The two did, and proved a mouthful for the ruling party. Asiedu-Nketia’s “Akronfuo du-nkrong ere koyi kronfo panyin” (19 thieves going to select their chief criminal) is still fresh in the memory of Ghanaians. The dexterity with which he handled issues ahead of and during that election made him the delight of many.
It is true that Ofosu-Ampofo remained the NO of the party, but sections of party members believe, the party’s victory came from the new leadership spearheaded by Kwabena Adjei and Asiedu-Nketia, with the young blood of Baaba Jamal, Haruna Iddrisu, Fifi Kwetey, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, Vincent Kuagbenu and many young folks who were ready to die for the party, supporting their efforts.
Prof. Mills himself, being an action-oriented man decided to take his destiny into his own hands in that election, carrying out a door-to-door campaign throughout the country to sell his message and brand of politics to Ghanaians.
And even when Ofosu-Ampofo left the NO position n 2010 after taking up a ministerial position from the Mills-Mahama administration in 2009, the party still won the 2012 elections without him, a female supporter stated.
Ofosu-Ampofu returned to the party national executive position in 2014 as First National Vice Chairman. That position made him also the director of election, and the party lost the 2016 election.
He campaigned again and became substantive national chairman, in 2018, and come the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, something that never happened before, Ofosu-Ampofo led the NDC to chicken out of the by-election when party faithful had queued and were voting.
“Yes, there were issues of violence perpetrated by personnel of the National Security apparatus, but as a political party, NDC doesn’t chicken out of such fights, it goes forward to meet brute force with brute force to send a clear signal that nobody and absolutely nobody can touch the party’s faithful and go scot free. But Ampofo chickened out when it mattered most,” one person said.
Many believe that this singular act of cowardice exhibited by the party chairman emboldened the NPP which unleashed its hoodlums on NDC supporters during the 2020 registration exercise, and then finally murdering eight Ghanaians in cold blood during the 2020 elections which, NDC lost under bizarre circumstances.
Time and space won’t allow the discussion of how Ofosu-Ampofo lost Fanteakwa and keeps losing the Tema –West constituency.
Party members also wonder why Ofosu-Ampofo draws support from the likes of Alhaji Said Sinare, a political spent-force, whose only reason for political activism is to serve his personal interests. “And instead of telling NDC faithful what else Ofosu-Ampfo could offer the party apart from serial defeats in the hands of NPP, Sinare rather chose to lunch vitriolic attacks on Asiedu-Nketiah.”
“The chairman also draws support from Samuel Koku Anyidoho, the man who betrayed the whole party by pitching camp with the NPP government and doing their bidding. That is a man who won’t like to see NDC back in power any time soon, and he is a henchman of the party chairman who seeks re-election,” a member pointed out.
The youth also sense a huge support for Ofosu-Ampofo among NPP leaders and supporters, “because they know with him, as chairman, NDC would continue to be in opposition.”
The youth believe that as personalities such as Ben Ephson, Sir Obama Pokuase, and others rooting for Ofosu-Ampofo, it means the ruling party is comfortable with him as they were with Dr. Obed Asamoah.
“Show me your friend, and I will tell you your character is an age-old mantra, which is still relevant….”
One of the reason many young party faithful support the General Secretary’s bid to unseat Ofosu-Ampofo as chairman is due to his sacrifices for the party over the years. “Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah had to sacrifice a fledging legislative career to take up the party’s scribe position at a time the party needed real fighters to lead the masses.”
The sacrifice paid off, when backed by NDC youth front, they snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat for the party in the 2008 elections, and as General-Secretary, he led the party again to retain the seat in 2012,
General Mosquito’s campaign message of bold, courageous and fearless leadership seems to have resonated with the youth in NDC, who believe, with him as chairman, the party would emerge victorious in the 2024 elections. They think General Mosquito being human may have stepped on some toes over the years, but for party interest to prevail, he must be made chairman of the party.
The youth see in him a general who will not chicken out of a fight, but lead his forces on the battle field until victory is achieved. They believe the NPP fears Asiedu-Nketiah because history has shown that with him as the chairman of NDC, all the loopholes the NPP has been exploited within NDC would be sealed.
Due to the huge following both General Mosquito and Ofosu-Ampofo enjoy within the party, a keen contest is expected, and the winner might win by a slim margin, and the two other contestants might not get more than a vote each.