There are mixed feelings among NDC supporters following widespread rumours ahead of the party’s National Delegates Congress slated for December 17, 2022.
The development follows uncertainty about the race for the Chairmanship slot. This has been triggered by the official announcement by veteran politician and incumbent General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia that he will not seek re-election.
Mr Nketia, aka General Mosquito, who became General Secretary since 2005, has left political analysts in suspense after suggesting that he may be tired but still has his eyes on stakes within the party.
Speaking to Accra based Radio Gold, he said…..“Age plays a major role in everything. This job of a General Secretary involves a lot; your time, energy, among others.”
He added …“I have considered all these, and I am of the firm view that I won’t contest again. What I am saying is that I won’t seek re-election as General Secretary,”
The comment has however triggered widespread belief he may be lacing his boots to contest National Chairman Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
Mr Asiedu Nketia who many respect for his influence in Ghanaians politics explained that he is ready to serve the NDC in any role assigned him but with a caveat in response to pessimists that if anyone decides to compete with Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, it will not be problematic.
Asked if it was true that he was going for the National Chairman position, he said it was not time for a comment or a declaration of that interest.
“When the opportunity comes, and the time is ripe, the public will know about it”.. he said.
He explained that the NDC is a democratic party and the party’s history does not support actions intended to gag or suppress aspirants.
“It is rather the opposite way, which is likely to be problematic if the party decides to block people with interests from competing. There were precedents, which resulted in difficulties for the party on two occasions as witnessed in year 2000 and year 2005.”
He added that on those occasions, it brought about a “split” when there was an attempt to “gag everybody else”, and the leadership decided on who should take over.
He cited two instances to back his argument. First “the Swedru declaration” as the first occasion when former President Rawlings declared that Mills should take over from him and in 2005 when the then national chairman, Dr Obed Asamoah had wanted that he and his team be retained and that resulted in a fight and “violence” within the party.
OFOSU AMPOFO RESPONDS
Incumbent NDC Chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, who has clearly shown interest in his re-election bid appears concerned about the development.
In an indirect response to a question on another Accra based radio Station, Asempa FM, Mr Ofosu Ampofo said his tenure is not over and as far as he is concerned, the NDC has become more attractive today and its focus is to kick NPP out of office come December 2024.
“Today, when we are doing branch elections. national officers and Members of Parliament are there to supervise the election. It is unprecedented in the history of this country [and] it is under my watch and I believe that the NDC is moving from strength to strength. 2024, we are going to see an NDC which will form the next government LLB,” …. He emphasized.
Analysts agree a healthy competition in any political party strengthens democracy. They are however wondering if the Council of Elders of the party is keenly following and may have a say taking into consideration the strategic influences both political stalwarts if both should contest for a slot.
There are fears the incumbent NPP, which is keenly following the ongoing NDC internal elections may take advantage of any possible confusion or disagreements to the disadvantage of the NDC chances ahead of the crucial 2024 elections.
Managing Editor of the Daily Dispatch Newspaper, Ben Ephson describes the trend of events as interesting but says it will be in the interest of the current leadership of the party not to take sides,
You will need to have a chairman who would be respected across board. You need to have a Chairman who inspires confidence in the grassroots and for the two of them, the nature of their positions, Asiedu Nketia has been General Secretary. He has worked at the various levels in the party.”
“He used to be a former Member of Parliament. The same with Ofosu Ampofo – former Member of Parliament, National Chairman. So these two come in with credibility and longevity in the party’s history.”
“Even if you are going to support someone you have to do it discreetly because these are leading members with big stature in the party. So the party’s unity and coherence towards 2024 will be how the flagbearer or how the party hierarchy is non-partisan in terms of these two leading members,” he emphasized.