The National Democratic Party (NDP) will hold its second national delegates conference today, with former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings likely to go unopposed as the party’s flag bearer for this year’s crucial elections.
The day-long national exercise, scheduled to take place at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre in Accra, on the theme: “United for Change; Probity and Accountability”, will elect new leaders to steer the affairs of the party for the next four years, as well as position the party to prosecute and win this year’s presidential and parliamentary polls.
Apart from the flag bearer position which will be decided either through election or popular acclamation, other executive leadership positions to be competed for are national chairman and vice-chairpersons, general secretary and two deputies, youth leader and two deputies, national women’s leader and two deputies and communications director and two deputies.
At the close of nomination last Thursday evening, only Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, wife of former President J.J Rawlings, had picked and submitted her form to seek re-election as the flag bearer of the party.
Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings was overwhelmingly endorsed as the standard bearer of the party at its first conference in Kumasi in October 2012 but she was not successful in filing her candidature to contest that year’s elections with the Electoral Commission (EC).
Notable individuals who are also expected to contest for the various executive leadership positions include Mr K. Kusi, a lecturer at the Kumasi Polytechnic, who is contesting the incumbent national chairman, Dr Josiah Aryeh, for that position; Alhaji K. Frimpong for General Secretary, while Mr Owusu Bempah plans to retain the communications directorship and Ms Peace Aryeh going for national women’s organiser.
More than 3,000 delegates drawn from the 10 regions of the country are expected to converge on the Trade Fair Centre from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to determine the fate of who gets into the various executive leadership positions to steer the affairs of the party.
The election is under the supervision of the EC, with the Ghana Police Service providing security and protection. Different independent speakers will be present at the function.
Provision has also been made for representatives of invited political parties to give solidarity messages in the course of the conference.
Visit to congress venue
A visit to the conference venue yesterday evening saw some preparation underway for the congress.
The Communications Director of the NDP, Mr Owusu Bempah, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that all was set for the conference.
He disclosed that the party would use the conference to showcase its readiness for Election 2016, as well as its Community Organisation Network Bureau, a grass-roots mobilisation of the party.
“This time round, the party’s rank and file are all geared and fully prepared for this year’s congress and the 2016 polls,” Mr Bempah stated.
In 2012, the NDP, a breakaway faction of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), went to congress on October 13 in Kumasi to elect its presidential candidate just in time to meet the EC’s October 17-18, 2012 deadline for filing candidates for the presidential and parliamentary elections
The party in that election contested 155 seats across the country, making it the party with the fourth highest number of candidates contesting the parliamentary elections but it won none.
The NDC and the NPP filed 275 candidates each, the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) filed 211; the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), 145 and the People’s National Convention (PNC), 94.
Described by many in Ghanaian politics as the ‘Iron Lady,’ Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings sparked excitement and controversy when she deepened democracy in the NDC and contested the late President J.E.A Mills for the NDC’s flag bearer position in 2011.
While her supporters saw her decision to contest the flag bearer position as a breakthrough for women, her critics were concerned about the prospect of an entrenched political dynasty.
The woman of steel cut her political teeth while massing up thousands of Ghanaian women behind her husband during the days of the revolution and beyond.
Konadu’s aspiration follows an emerging trend of former first ladies trying to step into the shoes of their husbands; a trend not restricted to Latin America, and partly inspired by Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the United States of America (USA).
While some pundits hold the view that the emergence of the NDP could affect the NDC’s chances of winning the 2016 elections, given the slim margin the party recorded in winning the 2012 elections, others, including some leaders of the NDC, hold the view that the NDP is only barking and will not be able to bite.
Source: Daily Graphic
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