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How NDC Voted   
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THE MUCH-talked-about national delegates’ congress of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) finally came off at Sunyani, the Brong Ahafo regional capital, over the weekend.

The over-hyped congress, which was attended by scores of NDC supporters, was used to elect the 2012 presidential candidate for the ruling party.

After the three-day congress which overwhelmingly took center stage of the county’s political discussion, President Mills emerged victorious in what promised to be an uncompromising contest.

The learned professor handed a crushing defeat to his only contender, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the former First Lady, when he polled a whopping 2861 votes, representing 96.1 percent, as against a paltry 90 votes, representing 3.6 percent polled by the wife of
former President Rawlings.

Scheduled to begin on Saturday July 9, delegates and supporters of the party from in and outside the county began arriving at the congress venue on Friday evening.

Due to the large number of participants for the congress, hotels, guest houses and other accommodation facilities in the Sunyani municipality and beyond enjoyed a high level of patronage.

Food vendors and other service providers, particularly taxi drivers, also had a good time as they seized the opportunity provided by the congress to increase their sales.

To give a clear indication that the ruling party was having their national delegates’ congress, the whole of Sunyani, especially the principal streets, were massively decorated in the colours of the NDC.

The Sunyani Coronation Park, the venue for the congress, had its fair share of the decoration as every available space including the road to the stadium was decorated in the colours of the ruling party.

The atmosphere in the Sunyani municipality changed significantly in the evening of Friday when the delegates and supporters of the party started to arrive, as they sang and danced to various tunes.

Registering their readiness for the congress, the delegates and supporters began to troop in at the Coronation Park as early as 6am on Saturday; the opening ceremony of the congress was billed to commence at 10: 00 am.

The delegates, as well as the supporters whose large number was enough to cause heavy vehicular traffic in town, were dressed in various NDC-branded T-shirts and other party paraphernalia.By 9:00am, the stadium, which is located in the center of the municipality, was filled to capacity as all accredited persons for the congress which was themed ‘Unity And Stability In Development’, had taken their designated seats.

Former President Rawlings, founder of the party and his wife, Nana Konadu, a contender in the race, were the first VIPs to arrive.

For the first time in the history of NDC gatherings, the former President and his wife were given a cold reception when they made their way onto the congress grounds at about 10: 30 am, as the usual cheers that normally greeted their arrival was totally absent.

Not too long after the arrival of the former President and his wife, the Vice President, John Mahama, also arrived. He was followed by President Mills some minutes later, who was given a rousing welcome.

After the arrival of the VIPs and other dignitaries of the party, the national chairman of the party, Dr Kwabena Adjei, set the ball rolling with an address explaining the import of the gathering.

Shortly after that, the General Secretary of the party, Johnson Aseidu Nketia aka ‘General Mosquito’ addressed the gathering on the current state of affairs of the party. It was followed by a speech from the Majority Leader, Hon Cletus Avoka.The platform was also opened for goodwill messages from other political parties–the New Patriotic Party (NPP) the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), Peoples National Convention (PNC) as well as the Great Consolidated Peoples Party (GCPP) and the Democratic People’s Party (DFP).

The Vice President also delivered a speech which was centered on story-telling aimed at preaching for peace in the party, after which the founder of the party was also given the chance to present his speech.

As the President of the republic, President Mills was given the respect of speaking last, after which the opening ceremony was brought to an end for the voting session to commence around 3: 15 pm.

Before the start of the session, the Electoral Commission (EC) officials who were in charge of the process, under the leadership of Kwadwo Sarfo Katanka, deputy chairman in charge of operation, gave the two contestants ten minutes each to present their final speech to the 2861 delegates.

Interestingly, President Mills, who reiterated that he was sure of winning the race with a landslide victory, took less than three minutes to present his speech, whereas Nana Konadu, who expressed confidence of winning the race to restore hope and a sense of positive direction in the party, exhausted the time given her.

It was an embarrassing spectacle when Nana Konadu rose to speak and a group of NDC supporters sitting at the back of the dais hooted at her, a development which adversely affected her demeanor.Immediately the EC officials announced and declared the results, former President Rawlings held high the hands of President Mills, after which he and his wife left the dais unceremoniously before President Mills gave his victory speech.

Utter shock was written on the faces of the dignitaries on the high table as the founder and his wife left the dais without bidding farewell to anyone, a development which largely affected President Mills’ victory speech presentation.

Usually, defeated persons in a contest conceded defeat and also gave a speech to congratulate and also affirm their support for the winner, but in the case of Nana Konadu, it did not happen as she and her husband left the congress grounds immediately the results were declared.

Security in the municipality as well as the congress grounds was so tight to the extent that not a single incident of violence or misbehavior was registered, though many had anticipated incidences of violence due to the tension that characterized the congress.

Daily Guide gathered that thousands of Ghana cedis were splashed on the delegates, even at the congress grounds, to woo them to vote for President Mills, whilst MASLOC loans were issued to delegates to coerce them.

In spite of the crushing defeat, Nana Konadu, who stormed the congress grounds in an all-white apparel, held a dinner at her residence in the evening which was attended by members of the Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (FONKAR).
Source: Fred Tettey Amoako, Joe Awuah & Morgan Owusu, Sunyani

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