Electing national officers in the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has always been marred by serious internal wrangling that inexorably culminates in attacks on personalities.
The decision by the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, to challenge Samuel Ofosu Ampofo for the party’s National Chairman position has generated serious heat, not only between the two leading party chieftains, but among the grassroots of the party.
Mr Asiedu Nketia has recently moved from speculation to openly stating that the National Chairman of the party, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo’s courage as a leader was tested during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, and he failed to survive the heat.
According to him, Mr Ofosu Ampofo’s announcement of the NDC’s withdrawal from that crucial by-election was an outright wrong move, occasioned by fear than strategic thinking and action.
The Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election held in 2019 was marred by violence after National Security operatives and a section of youth suspected to be NDC hooligans were caught in a crossfire of mayhem.
Mr Ofosu Ampofo has said he arrived at the decision for the NDC to pull out based on the advice given by the party’s security experts, insisting that both ex-President John Mahama and Asiedu Nketia were consulted before the decision was made public.
However, in an interview on Kasapa 102.5FM/Agoo TV recently, Asiedu Nketia denied consenting to that decision.
According to Asiedu Nketia, he was attending a conference in the Dominican Republic as the Vice President of Socialist International when Chairman Ofosu Ampofo called him, saying that some vigilantes had fired gunshots all over the place and so he thought the NDC should withdraw from the election.
He claimed he reacted by saying: “Don’t; it is a bad decision and bad precedent in the NDC”, adding that he believed whether there was violence or not, the NDC would win “so the party shouldn’t withdraw”.
“Right after I was done with him, I received a call from ex-President Mahama telling me he’s picked up information that Ofosu Ampofo intends to announce the party’s withdrawal…I told him (Mahama) I have spoken to him (Ofosu Ampofo) not to do so.
“Shortly after, I saw news flashing of Ofosu Ampofo flanked by the party’s security capos announcing the NDC’s withdrawal from the election. One of the reasons he cited was that the NDC parliamentary candidate is unable to step out of his room. So, if the candidate is not able to come out, should the party withdraw from an election?” Asiedu Nketia asked.
Responding, Mr Ofosu Ampofo has stated that being courageous is not about wearing ‘batakari’ with catapult, describing the attacks on his person by the General Secretary as unwarranted.
“Those who know me, know I am not weak. Anyone who tells you, you need a leader with bow and arrow, chairman who will wear war batakari with catapult on his head and hold tyre, and he says this is the type of chairman NDC needs. That’s not the type of chairman NDC needs. NDC needs a pragmatist as a Chairman who can galvanize all the forces,” he stressed.
Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo insists he has discharged his responsibilities as the National Chairman of the party faithfully.
According to him, the latter is doing this due to his quest to unseat him. “I have become aware of a viral interview granted to a media house by the General Secretary of my party, the NDC, in which he makes various references to my person, leadership style and stewardship as National Chairman of the party.
“Throughout my entire adult life, I have faithfully, dutifully, and conscientiously served the National Democratic Congress in various capacities. I have done so with honour and dignity while resisting every temptation to vilify political opponents,” he said in a statement.
Effect on party
Meanwhile, the Director of Elections of NDC, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, has explained that the decision by Mr Asiedu Nketia to contest the party’s current National Chairman will not affect the party.
Mr Afriyie Ankrah said the party is governed by a democratic system, and thus any officer can contest any position once they are eligible.
He therefore urged the Party to ensure a free, fair, and transparent electoral process to avert any friction. “I don’t think there will be any friction. Our party is a democratic party, and so people are free to contest, and whoever wins we move on… People held various positions in the past, and people contested and won. So no position is sacrosanct,” Mr Ankrah was quoted by GNA.
He added: “If the processes are fair and transparent, and the structure and systems put in place are such that everybody can see that there was a level playing field, it makes it easier for people to deal with the aftermath”.
The NDC will hold its constituency elections between October 22 and 23, 2022, while the regional elections would be held between November 12 and 13, 2022. The National Congress will be held on December 17, 2022.
Source: Daily Statesman