When about 8,964 delegates of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) converged on the Accra Sports Stadium today to determine which national executives lead the party one thing is certain.
Will it be a change for new guards or a continuation of the old order?
The largest opposition party that has vowed to retake power in the next general election in 2024 has also summarised its vision on the theme for the 2-day event as “Rallying for victory 2024: Ghana’s hope.”
The tense elections come a week after the national women’s and youth organiser polls were held in Cape Coast, amidst chaos which needed police intervention to restore relative calm.
Senior party officers have promised amends, saying security had been beefed up, and it would be ensured that sanity prevails at the spacious venue to serve as prerequisite to taking over power from the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2025, after victory in the 2024 December elections.
Unmindful of these assurances, the atmosphere would still be tense, especially for the contest for the chairmanship and that of general secretary position.
Four person are racing for chairman, namely incumbent national chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo; General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia; former Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Armah Ashitey and a former Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Yaw Adusei. Mr Ampofo and Mr Nketia are the fore-runners but political connoisseurs have so far been careful to give a clear prediction, as the two heavy weights have about the same elite and grass-roots support base.
Both are strategically astute and command vast experience in both government and party politics.
For the general secretary position, a former Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Fifi Fiave Franklin Kwetey; an incumbent Deputy General Secretary, Dr Peter Boamah Otukonor, and former Minister of Youth and Sports and former National Director of Elections, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah are poised to have a good run for their money.
The national organiser contest would be among the incumbent, Joshua Akamba, Henry Osei Akoto, Mahdi Mohmmed Gibril, Siddi Abubakari and Solomon Yaw Nkkansah. Other substantive positions to be contested are national vice chairmen, deputy general secretary, deputy national organisers, national communications officer (unopposed) and treasurer.
While a few are seeking re-election, most of the candidates are either making a first time attempt or contesting a new position.
The delegates include NDC Council of Elders, NDC Members of Parliament, appointees under former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings, Professor John Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama, regional and constituency executives, foreign party executives and the presidential candidate in the 2020 elections.
Upon a visit on Thursday to the stadium, the Ghanaian Times witnessed that it had beautifully been decorated with NDC’s red, green, white and black colours and the posters of the 63 persons vying for the different national executive positions.
There is expected to be heavy presence of the police and that of the party’s internally-organised security officials who would man the gates.
Earlier at a press conference in Accra, chairman of the Congress Planning Committee, Alex Segbefia, stated that the Grounds and Accommodation Committee members had made arrangements for the setup of a Delegates Village at the University of Ghana (UG), Legon to host delegates and guests to the congress. He explained that it would ensure that delegates and guests were transported to the venue on time to avoid delays.
Mr Segbefia also said the necessary security arrangements had been made for the venues.
He urged party faithful to rally behind the party for a successful congress, as the only hope for Ghanaians was the NDC.
He said it was therefore vital for the rank and file to unite to ensure victory for the party in the elections.
At the time of going to press, the Ghanaian Times observed some delegates and guests on buses heading to either Legon or the congress venue.
BY IAN MOTEY & MALIK SULLEMANA