The National Democratic Congress (NDC) hopes to conclude all internal elections by December 31, 2014.
“We have given ourselves up to December 31, 2014 to complete all reform exercise, including the constitutional review, biometric registration, all set of elections beginning with elections from branches, constituency, regional, and national conference,” the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in an interview at his office in Accra over the weekend.
He was speaking on the party’s calendar of activities leading to its national delegates congress.
According to Mr Asiedu Nketia, the party is currently rolling out two key political activities leading to the party’s national delegates conference — the constitutional review and biometric registration of members.
He said they had completed consultations on the constitutional review process in seven out of 10 regions and would complete the other three regions by the end of April.
He said it was expected that they would finish the constitutional review exercise in six weeks.
On the biometric registration, the general secretary said preparatory works, including design and acquisition of biometric equipment, was underway.
He disclosed that the actual process of training personnel would start from March 19 and hopefully end by March 31. During this period, the party would train the various categories of officials that would be handling the registration exercise.
He further disclosed that the actual data capture will commence by the first week of April, where the party will send people to the polling stations and request members to come and queue to get themselves registered.
After the data capture, Mr Asiedu Nketia said the party would use the whole of the latter part of April to the end of May for the production of membership cards, distribution and data processing.
“So by the end of May, we would have finished with the biometric exercise,” Mr Asiedu Nketia pointed out.
He said after completion of the two key activities, the party would go back to its calendar of elections leading to the national congress.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC has extended the mandate of its current executives to December 31, 2014.
This will enable the current executives to complete the processes leading to the party’s national delegates conference expected to take place before the year ends.
The NEC, according to Mr Nketia, last week Tuesday, invoked an omnibus clause in the party’s constitution to come to this conclusion.
Sharing some aspects of the NEC meeting, the General Secretary pointed out that the constitution of the party demanded that elections were held every four years.
“Technically, this means that our term of office as executives has expired and we need fresh mandate to continue,” he stated.
Mr Asiedu Nketia explained that the first thing the party did in such circumstances was to apply the various clauses of the party’s constitution to extend the tenure of office of existing executives.
In so doing, he said, the NEC applied Article 50 of the party’s constitution to pass a resolution to extend the tenure of executives of the party throughout the country to December 31, 2014.
He recalled that an earlier resolution passed in January this year extended the mandate of the current executives indefinitely because at that time, the party had no timelines but this current extension had timelines.
Article 50 gives NEC residual powers to take such decisions, Mr Nketia stated.
On internal wranglings within the party, Mr Asiedu Nketia said as far as the NDC was concerned, it had its conventions, traditions and laws governing the conduct and behaviour of members.
According to him, the convention of the party was that when it was approaching a new election, it issued formal guidelines and opened the gate for nominations and campaigning.
Until this is done, he said the party frowned seriously on executives or individuals who attempted to jump the gun.
He argued that though there were no specific articles in the party’s constitution banning campaigning ahead of time, “we consider it unethical because elections at every level is organised and supervised by executives at higher levels.
As an executive, if you declare yourself as a candidate ahead of time, then you cannot be a referee and a player at the same time.
In order to uphold confidence in the electoral process, you don’t declare your candidature”.
He cited developments within the Greater Accra Region concerning the NDC, where some names had come up as possible contenders for the regional chairmanship as affirming the wisdom of the need for all interested parties to exercise restraint and wait for the constituency elections to be held first.
He said some people were cleverly dodging the convention and pointed out that “this goes to undermine you when especially you are involved in the process of conducting the elections.”
“Everybody must abide by the rules of engagement; it makes the process less acrimonious,” Mr Nketia stated and added that acrimony came from a sense of feeling of unfairness.
According to Mr Nketia, nobody in the NDC should panic that the largest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was concluding internal elections and that the NDC was far behind time.
He concluded that “everything worth doing is worth doing well.”