It is no longer news that Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), is contesting his National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
By all indications, this will be an intriguing contest. Win or lose, one of the contestants will come out politically bruised.
Few expected that the scribe of the NDC, aka General Mosquito, would square it up with Ofosu Ampofo in a battle many have dubbed ‘dog fight dog’.
But what has gone wrong to occasion the need for General Mosquito to lace his political boots to outstage Ofosu Ampofo in a national chairmanship contest? We wait to see the outcome.
Every indication points to a keen and intense contest. If not handled well, it could have dire consequences. Whoever emerges winner will boost his political career and whoever loses will severely dim his.
That is why neither of them will be prepared to lose such a political contest.
I have been wondering, what has accounted for Asiedu Nketia brazenly going for nomination forms and launching his campaign to snatch the chairmanship slot from Ofosu Ampofo who himself has also declared his interest to seek re-election because he has an unfinished business?
Will it be a case of ‘dog fight dog’ within the NDC or the ‘mosquito fight the bull?’
Although the NDC internal election is yet to switch into top gear, Asiedu Nketia has launched his campaign, with Ofosu Ampofo yet to do so for his re-election bid.
Ofosu Ampofo and Asiedu Nketia, before the NDC opened nominations for the contest, had begun their campaign on a blistering note that condescended into the arena of personality attacks.
Asiedu Nketia, who is leaving the role of General Secretary after 17 years, is touting himself as the strongest, most fearless, most courageous, most formidable, most electable and viable political tactician. He further says that the NDC needs a national chairman who is not amenable to any influence, inducement or compromise by external forces. This has received reactions from Ofosu Ampofo who has immediately responded by saying “we do not go into a political contest with batakari and a catapult”.
Council of Elders caution
Following the development keenly and the level at which the two national officers were going about casting aspersions on each other, the NDC Council of Elders decided to step in and issued a statement last Wednesday (October 26) signed by its chairman, Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama.
The statement urged the two leading figures of the party to be circumspect in their campaigns and adhere to the ground rules discussed and agreed upon.
At a time the NDC party is getting ready for election 2024, it will require nothing short of internal cohesion and togetherness.
As the campaign heats up, it will be right as agreed by the Council of Elders to use decorous language, refrain from personality attacks, breach of confidentiality and condemnation of decisions taken in relation to past actions of leadership.
Both contestants and other aspirants must endeavour to respect the NDC’s constitution and the rules and guidelines set in the conduct of internal elections.
Come to think of it, there should be no cause for alarm with the decision of Asiedu Nketia going for the party chairmanship slot while the incumbent is also seeking to retain the position.
Same goes for the flagbearership slot of the NDC where there are enough indications that Dr Kwabena Duffuor is eyeing a contest with former President John Dramani Mahama.
On the face value, such a move can only go to strengthen democracy and offer delegates and citizens enough choices to select from.
As a political party, the NDC must seek to respect members’ individual freedoms and aspirations to contest any position in the party in accordance with the party’s constitution.
However, the campaign should at all cost be issue-based and not based on insults to ensure peace, harmony and unity in the party ahead of the its national delegates congress on December 17, 2022.
The truth of the matter is that any false slip on the part of any of the two contestants can degenerate into bad blood which may not augur well for the good of the NDC. That is why it will be imperative for Ofosu Ampofo, Asiedu Nketia and the NDC as a whole to handle the process leading to the contest with wisdom, maturity and measured temperament.
Process to 2024 polls
The NDC has already triggered the process leading to the 2024 polls with the election of branch and constituency executive. The party is moving into the next phase with the organisation of regional and national elections and will conclude the flagbearer and parliamentary polls some time next year.
The outcome of these processes will go a long way to signal how poised the NDC is to contest the 2024 polls. For the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), it has successfully elected its officers from the local level to national and it is also gearing up to elect its flagbearer and parliamentary candidates.
While there may seem to be time to go into 2024, it is the party that prepares well and organises effectively that can win the trust of the people.
Today, the Ghanaian electorate is not like that of 1992. After practising democracy for three decades, the electorate, if for nothing at all, have become or are becoming more discerning and they cannot be taken for granted. Any party which takes them for granted does so at its own peril.
The NDC can be lauded for opening up the space for political contest.
The bottom line, however, is that there must be fairness in the whole electoral process and the contestants must avoid politics of insults, mischief and rather dwell on what they can do rather than politics of accusation, counter accusation and casting aspersions on one another.
The country and the NDC, for that matter, do not need acrimonious campaigns to build a good democratic culture.
What is required are values of respect, truthfulness, honesty, sincerity and beyond that is the capability to serve the national and party cause with competence, servant leader attitude, patriotic gestures such as having love for one’s country and compatriots, a concern beyond what we owe other people and communities.
These values are most important.Therefore, to contest for political office or position, one needs to tell the people what one can do; what one is bringing on board and not casting of aspersions. It is about what one will do for the ordinary person while being committed to one’s words.
Loyalty, trust and delivery
It is the hope that the contestants will show loyalty to a cause, commit to building trust and deliver to the satisfaction of the people.
Source: Kobby Asmah