There seems to be a deliberate attempt by some leading members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to get President John Mahama elected unopposed in the upcoming flagbearership primaries of the party.
The party has set November 7, 2015 for its presidential and parliamentary primaries to elect potential candidates to lead the party into the crucial 2016 general elections.
But even before nominations are open, various schemes are underway to get the President to go without a contest.
Leading the campaign is former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo popularly known as ‘Bra Sammy Photo’, one of the National Vice Chairpersons of the party.
He asked members of the party to allow the President to go unopposed because any challenge to his presidency would dent the image of the NDC.
“He is the leader of the party and I do not think that by any stretch of the imagination, anybody at all should conceive the idea of contesting him,” he said in an interview with Joy FM.
Apart from that, he said “we want very little distractions; that is why I believe that it is not even necessary for anybody to contemplate contesting him.”
It would be recalled that in the last NDC primaries, then vice chairperson of the party Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings contested President Atta Mills and gave him a good run for his money at the Sunyani Congress of the party.
She finally left the party to form the National Democratic Party (NDP) with some remnants of the NDC until President Mills died, leading to the return of some of the NDP members like Kofi Adams, now National Organiser.
Interestingly, President Mahama himself recently welcomed anybody who had the intention of contesting him for the position, opening himself up for competition.
But Ofosu Ampofo asked: “If somebody decides to contest him, what is the person going to campaign on?”
For him, the most important thing the party needed to do now was to reinvigorate its structures and work to ensure that the President had the peace of mind to concentrate on the governance of the country.
Interestingly, NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia had also denied claims that the high filing fees for NDC presidential aspirants was part of a grand scheme to make it difficult for anyone to contest the President.
Presidential aspirants in the NDC are required to pay GH₵50,000 as filing fees, more than a 100 percent increment over the filing fee four years ago.
But General Mosquito, as he is called, insisted that the increase was a normal party practice.
“We have an established formula with which we compute these things. For every four years we double the filling fees and it started from 2000 so the fees for 2004 was double what was paid the previous four years,” he said.
He recalled “in 2012, the fees were GH₵20,000 but because we are migrating to this universal membership suffrage, it comes with reduced cost to candidates.”
No Beef With Mahama
The NDC General Secretary denied rumours that there was animosity between him and President Mahama.
He also described as a hoax reports that he nearly fought President Mahama during a recent meeting of the NDC where the party’s guidelines for presidential and parliamentary polls were announced.
Reports making the rounds, especially in social media, indicated that President Mahama had lost his temper during the meeting because he felt Asiedu Nketia was sabotaging him with regard to his going for the 2016 presidential polls unopposed on NDC’s ticket.
The President, unconfirmed reports suggested, was so angry to the extent that he dared the NDC national scribe to challenge his (Mahama’s) authority in the presence of other top party executives.
Out of anger, President Mahama was said to have then left the important party meeting, which was graced by top gurus of the party.
Reacting to the allegations, Mr Asiedu Nketia, popularly called ‘General Mosquito’, stated categorically that the reports were false, saying President Mahama would even laugh over the issue if it got to his attention.
“Nothing like that happened, so I am even surprised about where these wild allegations are emanating from,” the NDC scribe told Kofi Asante of Nhyira FM in Kumasi during an interview on Monday.
“President Mahama did not leave the meeting halfway through as it’s being spread around. In fact the meeting started and ended peacefully,” he noted, adding that he (Asiedu Nketia) did not habour any hatred or evil agenda against the President.
Without mincing words, Asiedu Nketia blamed the largest opposition political party in the country, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), accusing them of fabricating the falsehood just to create unnecessary tension in the NDC.
According to him, the NPP had been in turmoil for some time now, with deep cracks between the party’s leadership; so the opposition wanted to paint an erroneous impression that the NDC too was facing internal problems, “which is false”.
He said President Mahama did not have a problem with competition for the NDC’s presidential candidate position, insisting that the President had proven beyond every reasonable doubt that he was a “true democrat.”
Asiedu Nketia disclosed that President Mahama even kicked against the NDC’s suggestion that he (Mahama) should contest the 2012 presidential polls on the NDC ticket unopposed after the demise of ex-President Mills.
According to him, President Mahama argued then that somebody should contest him for the top position to prove to the whole world that he (Mahama) was not being imposed on the party “but the party leadership still insisted that he goes unopposed.”
Asiedu Nketia stated that President Mahama was not afraid of competition in 2012 and would not be afraid now if somebody in the party decided to contest him, adding that the NDC’s new guidelines would make the polls easy and cheap for the various contestants.
Source: Daily Guide