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The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has barred Government Officials, Members of Parliament, Ambassadors, District Chief Executives and Members of the Council of State from contesting for any National Executive position in the party.

The positions are National Chairman, National Vice Chairman, General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary, National Organizer, Propaganda Secretary, National Treasurer, National Youth Organizer, National Women's Organizer and any other slot on the executive.

In the NDC's Guidelines for 2010 National Delegates Congress, made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, on Saturday, the party has also expanded its Electoral College for the Youth and Women's Congress from 33 to about 500 to include all constituency youth and women organizers and their deputies.

The guidelines also prohibit regional and constituency executives from contesting for national executive slot unless the contestant resigns to vie for the elevated post.

The guidelines state that 2010 Congress Vetting Committee includes a representative each of the Parliamentary Caucus; Council of Elders; and the Chairman of the National Disciplinary Committee.

Explaining the rationale for barring government functionaries from contesting for executive positions, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketsiah, the NDC's General Secretary, said the directive was to eliminate the danger of conflict of interest.

He said both positions - a government functionary and a national executive -were very crucial for their quest to retain power in Elections 2012.

"We want all our officers to give of their best hence the need to decouple the responsibilities."

Reacting to this development, Mr Mohammed Mubarak Abdulai, an NDC Youth Activist, advised aspirants to be circumspect and conduct their campaign with decorum, devoid of antagonism and personality attacks.

In an interview with the GNA, Mr Abdulai advised party barons and godfathers to be interested in persons with popularity and the ability to manage an elected office but not focus on controlling the party machinery with backing people they could manipulate.

Mr Abdulai also cautioned against using money to influence people during the campaign, stressing that: "We must avoid fuelling the public perception that a few anonymous people with money, irrespective of how it is acquired, can buy positions in elections."

The party activist reminded aspirants that the nation's electoral laws frowned on monetary influence in elections "as a candidate commits the offence of bribery if he or she gives or receives, or causes to be given or to receive money, a gift, a loan or something of value as a means of inducing a voter to vote or not to vote in a certain way.

He said, "as a party in government we must avoid exhibiting opulence in the conduct of our internal elections as such behaviours have the potential of denting our image for Elections 2012.

He, therefore, called on the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party to live up to its mandate through the enforcement of all the electoral laws to uphold the sanctity of the elections.

Mr Abdulai also called on delegates to look beyond monetary considerations when it comes to deciding who should occupy executive positions, stressing, "our focus should be choosing capable men and women of integrity and acumen to lead us to another electoral victory.

"The 2010 Congress must provide NDC with effective, capable leaders with the ability to marshal the party to win Election 2012, not those with money to spread around."

Source: GNA

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