The two-week-old National Democratic Congress (NDC) national executives have been asked to step aside from the process to choose the party’s next presidential candidate.
Eight disgruntled but united aspirants have accused the National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, and General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, of bias in favour of a particular candidate.
In a petition to the party’s Council of Elders, the aspirants would not name the favoured aspirant but leave little doubt that it is former President John Dramani Mahama, who is highly tipped to win the ticket.
They pointed to the opportunity given him to give closing remarks at the 9th national delegates’ congress in Accra and the consistent playing of his campaign songs at the congress.
It was at that congress that Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Asiedu Nketia and seven other executives won a four-year mandate to steer party affairs.
But the young mandate is facing fresh legitimacy challenges.
Alban Suman Kingsford Bagbin, who has been in Parliament since 1996 and a Mahama appointee, Ekwow Spoi-Garbrah, lead the pack of eight who have expressed willingness to present evidence of bias to the Council of Elders.
While they appear to have tolerated the alleged bias over several weeks, the trigger for the petition has been the setting of filing and nomination fees at GH¢420,000.
That decision by the National Executive Committee “appears to have been designed to favour of that same aspirant.”
According to the petition, there is ample reason to believe that key players in NEC were biased in favour of a particular aspirant and were intervening unlawfully in the primary campaign to achieve a favourable outcome for that candidate.
“The Party Chairman and the General Secretary amongst others have made public statements to the effect that they prefer the same individual to lead the party into the 2020 election. (We are happy to present you video recordings of such statements made by third parties at the appropriate time). Neither the previous NEC nor the present NEC have called these officers to order.
The petition added that “at the recently ended Congress there was a deliberate effort to project the same aspirant as the choice of Congress by affording him an opportunity to give closing remarks to Congress accompanied by his personal campaign theme played on the public address system of the Congress.”
“In several regions we have been informed that Regional Chairpersons have summoned Constituency Chairpersons and other officers and instructed them (in some cases with implied threats) to convert their constituency executive committees into the local chapters of a particular candidate’s campaign machinery.
“The Guidelines themselves and particularly the provisions relating to filing fees and scheduling of the Primaries appear to have been designed to favour of that same aspirant.
“In these circumstances we do not believe that the NEC can be trusted to administer the Primaries fairly. We have resolved not to proceed under the proposed unlawful Guidelines. Accordingly, none of us will pick up nomination forms or otherwise comply with the unlawful Guidelines until our petition is heard and the issues set out are fully resolved.
“The Council of Elders demand that the Party Chairman, General Secretary and any other members of NEC or the Party Secretariat that have demonstrated bias in favour of a particular candidate recuse themselves from the Primaries process forthwith,” the petition said.
Story: Franklin ASARE DONKOH
Pix: NDC National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo