Chaos in NDC; as deep cracks emerge in party and gov’t

Politics of Thursday, 5 February 2015

Source: The Al-Hajj

Mahama Asiedu Nketia

Whereas President John Mahama and his government are working tirelessly to resolve the myriad of challenges confronting the nation, in particular, the energy crisis; action and inactions of some government functionaries, party executives and sympathizers suggest that they are indifferent to the survival of the government and party.

Contrary to the high expectations among majority members and supporters of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the 2016 elections is a done deal following the successful and peaceful Congress held recently in Kumasi; coupled with the spectacular performance of the Mahama administration so far, The aL-hAJJ can confirm that all is not well and the party may be in for a shock of its life if remedial measures are not sought to close the widening and dangerous chasm emerging within the party and government.

Whiles some government officials by their actions and deed continue to generate public hatred and disdain against the hardworking President Mahama, some party officials seem hell-bent on bringing the name of the party, and by extension government, into public disrepute and opprobrium.

Disturbing reports reaching this paper revealed that unless the President, John Dramani Mahama, influential party capos and elders move quickly to douse the emerging flames being generated within the government itself, the national executives of the party, some regional and constituency organs, the party could comfortably enter into opposition after the last ballot is counted on the 7th December, 2016.

Factions and blocs that initially popped up ahead of the December 20, 2014 Congress that elected the Kofi Portuphy-led national executives, investigations by The aL-hAJJ have uncovered, are beginning to rear their ugly heads once again in the party, arising from the outcome of the Kumasi congress.

Over the past few weeks, news coming out of the seat of government- Flagstaff House- has also been very disturbing. While some information may be utterly and purely fabricated, one cannot rule out the fact that others could be stage-managed by insiders to win political favours over their supposed internal political foes.

Some of the actions, supposedly being taken by government such as the reported changes at the top echelon of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the alleged hiring of a charter flight to send selected groups of people to Equatorial Guinea to watch Ghana’s quarter-final game against Guinea and the semi-finals today in the ongoing AFCON at a time the country is in awful austere situation will likely create disaffection for the President, the government and the NDC party in general.

On the NDC party front, insiders say some elected officers have started holding premeditated entrenched and contrary views on the way forward for the ruling party, damning the consequences of their actions, especially at the national level and in some regions, particularly Ashanti, Northern, Upper West and Western regions, and some constituencies.

A deep throat source narrated to The aL-hAJJ how at a recent meeting of the National Executives of the party to discuss ways to make changes in the party’s structures ended abruptly. This followed strong objections by one ‘group’ over whether such decisions could be taken in the absence of the party’s substantive General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketsiah, who was then with the president on an official visit to Germany.

“While the General was away in Germany with the President, the Chairman called a meeting to discuss how to put together a committee to oversee an impending reshuffle of staff at the party headquarters, but that idea was immediately shot down by some of the executives who thought such critical decisions could not be taken in the absence of the General Secretary. Those who kicked against the move outnumbered those who supported the party chairman, Mr. Portuphy…and you know what, the discussion later degenerated into heated exchanges between those for, and against the motion,” a source told this paper.

The aL-hAJJ has gathered that the two blocs unwittingly stoking this reckless and suicidal agenda are those who had preferred continuity of the “old order” and those who campaigned on the message of change before the Kumasi congress. This regrettable posture is said to be trickling down to the regions, constituencies and branches of the party.

Those pulling the strings have closed their eyes to the eventual consequences of their actions in the 2016 elections and may have succeeded in getting their assigns in some regions and constituencies to start doing their bidding, even if it is to the detriment of the party.

Other reports reaching this paper also has it that there is presently, grave rift within the party members in the Ashanti region, pitching the Regional Minister, Dr. Samuel Sarpong and his supporters on one hand, and his deputy, Joseph Yamin; Kumasi Mayor, Kojo Bonsu and Yaw Obimpeh, party regional chairman on the other hand.

Even though the Ashanti regional minister was reported by the GNA to have denied any rift between the quartet, grapevine information has it that the trio are scheming to get the President to sack the regional minister for allegedly taking decisions that could potentially derail the party’s stated objective of amassing one million votes in the Ashanti Region, the stronghold of the opposition NPP in the impending elections.

Mr Samuel Sarpong, in a press statement signed by his Public Relations Officer, Clement C. Kegeri, said it is not true that the relationship between him and his deputy, Mr Joseph Yamin, the Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Mr Kojo Bonsu and the Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Yaw Owusu Obimpeh, had soured, according to the GNA report.

But, as at yesterday, February 4, 2015, an NDC group led by one Yakubu Tony Aidoo, on a radio station in Kumasi, gave the four feuding officials of the party a one week ultimatum to reconcile or face their wrath. The group said if, after the expiry of the ultimatum no progress was made, they will bar the officials from entering their offices as they are going to padlock the offices.

The ruling party’s executives and supporters in the Ashanti region have vowed to make major inroads into its arch-opponent’s territory, the New Patriotic Party, in the next general elections by securing one million votes.

But political pundits say, considering the rate at which the divisions in the leadership of the party is creeping into supporters, causing them to publicly throw tantrums at each other, the NDC’s dream of making marginal gains in the Ashanti region could be a mirage.

The situation in the Western region and the NDC’s World Bank, Volta, is no different as there are disturbing reports of how admirers of the old national executives and the newly elected ones are at each other’s throat.

Presently, a committee put together by the national executive committee of the party led by a vice chairman of the party; Mr. Ampofo is in the Western region trying to resolve some of the outstanding issues.

In the Upper West region, the rift in the ruling NDC has even assumed ethnic dimensions as the Walas, who hitherto dominated the party executive committee in the region then headed by the longest reigning regional chairman, Alhaji Issahaku Malik, now occupy only two insignificant regional deputy executive positions in a Dargati-dominated executives, heightening tensions among the two formerly peaceful co-existing tribes.

Commenting on the cumulative effect of the happenings in the ruling party, a political analyst who spoke to this paper on condition of anonymity, noted that the divisions in the party is likely to affect the chances of President Mahama cruising to victory in 2016.

He said, in spite of the fact that the president has survived the last two turbulent years, embarking on ambitious projects and showing positive signs of solving the country’s challenges including the foremost amongst them; the energy crisis before the end of this year; “if this needless bickering continues, then President Mahama and the NDC should start parking out from the Flagstaff House”.

According to the political analyst, notwithstanding the deep cracks in the opposition NPP which ordinarily would have presented President Mahama and the NDC automatic victory in 2016, he said, if remedial measures are not urgently taken to nip it in the bud, the rising sharp divisions among the leadership of the party at all levels, NDC will easily hand over power to the NPP in 2016.

Meanwhile, media reports yesterday suggest President Mahama was set to make major changes at the Flagstaff House.