The much-anticipated national delegates congress of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) comes off in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, next Saturday, December 20.
More than 3,600 delegates of the party are expected to converge on the Baba Yara Sports Stadium to determine the fate of key incumbent national executive members who are facing stiff competition from other members of the party.
The congress will determine and define the strategies of the party ahead of the 2016 elections.
With the successful vetting of the 98 aspirants who are contesting 24 national positions, the NDC has now cleared all hurdles militating against its twice-postponed delegates congress which the rank and file of the party are also expected to attend.
The core of the Ďluckyí team that secured victory for the party in the 2008 and 2012 elections are the National Chairman, Dr Kwabena Adjei; the General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, and the National Organiser, Mr Yaw Boateng-Gyan.
But even before nominations were opened for the contest, the positions of chairman and national organiser were hotly pursued by thoroughbred and formidable ĎAkatamansoniansí whose political credentials are unquestionable.
Climax of elections
The climax of the elections will be the contest for the chairmanship, which has four stalwarts of the NDC, namely, the incumbent, Dr Adjei; Mr Kofi Portuphy (believed to be the lead contender); Mr Dan Abodakpi, a former minister of state and diplomat, and Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, a former secretary of state, former General Secretary of the party and incumbent Vice-Chairman of the party, in contention.
Balloting for the various positions on the ballot paper has already taken place, with Mr Abodakpi, Mr Portuphy, Alhaji Yahaya and Dr Adjei securing the first, second, third and fourth positions, respectively.
For the position of General Secretary, the incumbent, Mr Asiedu Nketia, is having a field day, as a relatively unknown Abdullah Ishaq Farrakhan of the Obuasi Constituency office of the NDC has stuck out his neck to contest him.
Farrakhan is so far the only member of the ruling party who has been bold enough to contest the popular general secretary who, until recently, was expected to go unopposed.
Interestingly, Farrakhan got the first position on the ballot paper, ahead of Mr Asiedu Nketia.
Meanwhile, the position of Deputy General Secretary will be keenly contested by the incumbent, Mr George Lawson; Mr Kwadjo Adu Asare, the immediate past MP for Adenta and presidential staffer, and Mr Koku Anyidoho, the Communications Director at the Presidency in the era of President J.E.A. Mills.
Other contestants are Wisdom Kwame Amaglo, J.R.D. Cobbina and Evans Armoo.
Another position that will attract the attention of political observers is that of the National Organiser, which is fiercely being contested by the incumbent, Mr Boateng-Gyan; Mr Kofi Adams, an incumbent Deputy General Secretary and Spokesman for former President Rawlings, and Mr Emmanuel Aboagye Didieye, the MP for Afram Plains North.
Mr Didieye has threatened to go to court because the NDCís vetting committee, headed by the Majority Leader, Mr Alban Bagbin, has disqualified him.
On the ballot paper for the National Organiser election, Mr Adams is first, followed by Mr Didieye in second position, while Mr Boateng-Gyan is third.
Four people are contesting the position of National Treasurer. They are Alhaji Awudu Ariff, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, Kamal Noshie and John Owusu Amankrah (JOWAK).
Political analysts have predicted that the contest in Kumasi will be fiercer and more charged than any that the party has ever witnessed in recent times.
The outcome of the congress is expected to be mixed. While Dr Adjeiís chairmanship is on the line, Mr Asiedu Nketia is cruising comfortably to retain his General Secretary position, unless the unexpected happens.
Mr Asiedu Nketia has already alluded to what can be described as a resignation notice if the current winning team is substantially Ďdismemberedí with the infusion of new faces.
ďIf I know that the team will be a useless endeavour, I will not waste my time,Ē he said at the launch of Dr Adjeiís campaign at the KAMA Conference Centre in Accra recently.
Notwithstanding incumbency advantage and the backing of Asiedu Nketia, Mr Boateng Gyan is in a race of his life to retain his position, as Mr Adams is making frightening in-roads to win that slot.
For the Deputy General Secretary slot, incumbent Mr Lawson and Mr Anyidoho are in pole position to win the two slots at stake.
Adu Asareís chances of winning the position have been fatally hurt by the Brazil World Cup fiasco.
So heated is the race for the executive positions that the President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, has been compelled to come out publicly to state that he has no preferred candidate in the upcoming delegates congress.
Speculations that the President has thrown his weight behind some of the candidates are threatening to create cracks in the party, as some aspirants are obviously not enthused about that development.
ďIgnore any claim by any of the candidates that he/she is the Presidentís choice,Ē Mr Mahama declared in a statement to the delegates last week.
ďAs President and leader, it is who you, the delegates, decide on that I will work with,Ē he added.
Other positions that have been heavily over-subscribed and are expected to be equally keenly contested are the vice-chairmanship, where 17 aspirants are locking horns for six positions as National Vice-chairpersons of the party, and the National Executive Committee membership, where five persons will be elected from a list of 13 contestants.
Aspirants for the vice-chairmanship are Mr Harry Zakour, a former Korley Klottey Constituency Chairman; Ms Anita De-Sosoo, the former National Womenís Organiser; Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General; Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, a former Minister of Local Government; Alhaji Said Sinare, a former diplomat; Mr Lee Ocran, a former Minister of Education and diplomat; Mr Danny Anang, a former Greater Accra Regional Chairman; Mr Andrew Nii Okaikoi and Alhaji Saani Mohammed, both NDC stalwarts.
The rest are party heavyweights Mr Max Cobbina, Mr Asamoah Atuahene, Nana Kojo Toku, Mr Mohammed Alhassan, Alhaji Mohammed Abass, Mr Anthony Gyampo and Dr Yahuza Gomda.
For membership of the National Executive Committee, the 13 aspirants are Alhaji Sumaila Mahama, Mr Suka Mohammed, Baba Lamin Abu Sadat, Mrs Victoria Kumah Mintah and Wisdom Keli Yamenu.
The rest are Fato Kwame Nicholas, Samuel Adu Yeboah, William Adu Brown, Ekow Mends, Daniel Amartey, Dr Ebenezer Kofi Hayford, Nyaku Efenam Komla and Amadu Iddrisu Eliyasu.
Four aspirants were vetted for the position of Propaganda Secretary. They are Mr Solomon Yaw Nkansah, Mr Godson Kobla Agbeli Fiagbe and Nii Dodoo Dodoo.
The positions of Deputy Propaganda secretaries are being contested by 12 aspirants. They are Alhaji Mohammed Nasru Seidu, David Dotse Kwadah, Prince Tanko Ibrahim, Asiedu Keteke, Fred Agbenyo, Kwaku Boahen and Christine Afi Fiako.
The rest are Adongo Atule Jacob, Alfred Kojo Triddles, Aduku Amos Awinzor, Hamza Paramza and Alhaji Nuhu Khalid Baba.
Party dragged to court
The party has been dragged to court on several occasions as a result of injunctions placed on it. This is the second time the congress has had to be postponed after the original October 25 date had to be changed to December 13 as a result of a lawsuit filed against the party by an aggrieved member.
Womenís and Youth organisers
Already, the National Womenís Organiser position has been won by Hajia Zaynab Joyce Mahama, who had to battle it out with Margaret Chiravira and Hajia Mariam Sinare when the incumbent De-Sosoo did not seek re-election.
The National Youth Organiser slot was also keenly contested by six aspirants. Sidi Abubakar Musah was leading the incumbent National Youth Organiser, Ludwig Hlodze, when the Electoral Commission team at the youth congress abandoned the counting as some hoodlums of the party disrupted the elections.
The other aspirants were Abubakar Mutiu Rahman, Paa Kwasi Brew Yalley, Prince Morti and Prince Kasim.
The party recently held its constituency and regional elections to elect executives to steer its affairs at the grass roots.
After the successful conclusion of those constituency and regional congresses, the next phase towards the 2016 elections is for the party to elect national officers in Kumasi on December 20, 2014.
That will be followed by the presidential primary, in which President Mahama is expected to run unopposed.
Source: Daily Graphic
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