Press Statement—for immediate release
The NDC National Executive Committee Must Reconvene Immediately to Consider
Extending the Closing Date for Filing Nominations
It is gratifying to note that the Ghanaian media is part and parcel of the unfolding democratic events in our country with regard to the upcoming National Democratic Congress (NDC) delegates’ conference. It is an undeniable fact that we simply cannot do away with the media in our democratic discourse. But while the media has been helpful in ensuring that they bring the announcement of this landmark event to the attention of the public, the media has failed in its duty to follow up on the intricacies embedded in this landmark event.
On November 19, 2014, the NDC opened nominations for the elections of its national executives. Being a national event, prospective candidates are required to collect signatures of nomination and endorsement nationwide. This being the case, one would have expected the NDC to offer prospective candidates adequate time to collect signatures across the ten regions of Ghana per the criteria set up for the elections. Instead, the national executive committee allotted just eight working days for prospective candidates and their representatives to collect the required signatures across the country for the purpose of filing for the impending election.
Indeed, when nominations opened on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, it was almost at close of the working day that the announcement was made, so no one could acquire the necessary forms on that day to begin the process. On Thursday, November 20, most prospective candidates and their representatives spent the day in acquiring the forms, leaving five clear days for the collection of signatures across the 275 constituencies in Ghana. Considering the signatures required on these forms requires candidates and their representatives to travel across the 10 regions of Ghana or the 275 constituencies, one can imagine the herculean task placed on the shoulders of each prospective candidate in a matter of this short notice.
Being a consultative process which is laden with negotiations, it is obvious that five days are simply not enough to complete this process effectively. Even the most popular candidate whose backers or nominators are bussed to all the regional capitals waiting for the forms would encounter problems traveling across all the 10 regions to collect these signatures. In this regard the consultations and the negotiations that are supposed to be part of the process are completely missing, having been sacrificed for the very things that are festering nepotism and benefit-peddling in the party.
My observation is that, for the national chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adjei, and the General Secretary, Mr. Asiedu Nketia, who have travelled across the country organizing the regional elections, they have not only being able to use their incumbency to facilitate their own endorsements, but they also have the resources to bus their backers to the regional offices from the nooks and crannies of the country for the purpose of endorsements.
It is for the aforementioned reasons that party leadership should have recognized the conflict of interest situation in which the incumbents who are contesting for national positions are in and asked them to acquiesce themselves in the meetings that determined the criteria for the upcoming national executive elections. This way, an “independent” executive committee would have taken into account some of the issues raised in this press statement before determining how many days to allot for the consultative process in order to give enough room to prospective candidates to collect these signatures without disadvantaging any prospective candidate in the process.
Indeed, what a matured party would do is to have independent electoral officers take charge of the entire process or business of elections in the party. At least with that, everyone would expect some fairness and transparency in the process.
If I understood the process well, it is not how quick or early a prospective candidate is able to prepare his or her posters and plaster them on walls at public places that matters in this process. The procedures are such that, nominations must be opened and individuals must file their registration to become eligible candidates in the upcoming elections.
In the interest of fair play and reasonableness, I am urging the NDC national executive committee to reconstitute immediately to consider extending the deadline for nominations and the delegate conference to allow for the consultative process to be well-consummated and to also offer every prospective candidate—including those who may not have the mega resources that incumbency confers—the opportunity to participate in the process to ensure that the NDC and the nation benefits from the rich experiences all candidates would bring to this competition.
I recognize the strained conditions under which the party had to postpone its regional and national elections. But it is observable that it is not the first time that the NDC has encountered a situation like this. While I am careful not to tie the NDC down with another court injunction, it must also be recognized that the law courts remain our last hope of refuge to restraint the NDC from imposing the will of its incumbents on the generality of the party.
On this note, I repeat the call on the national executive committee, minus all incumbents contesting for re-lection, to converge immediately to consider the issues I have raised in this press statement and respond to them as a matter of urgency. This is a noble request and must be responded to avoid further court action.
Thanks for your attention.
Prosper Yao Tsikata
Prospective Candidate for the General Secretaryship of the NDC.
Mayor Agbleze (local contact).