Three-Time People's National Convention presidential candidate, Dr Edward Mahama, was last Saturday given yet another mandate to contest the 2008 presidential election on the ticket of the party.
At the party's national delegates congress held at the Catering Rest House in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, the medical practitioner polled 534 votes to beat his only challenger, Professor Yakubu Saaka, who had 400 votes. Thirty-six of the ballots were rejected.
But Mr John Ndebugre, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Zebilla and National Vice-Chairman of the PNC, has slammed the election, describing it as a sham, reports Mary Mensah.
He said he did not recognise the forum in Bolga where the “so-called elections were held because it was not a duly constituted congress”.
Mr Ndebugre told the Graphic yesterday that he was elected First National Vice-Chairman alongside other executives on May 29, 2004, to hold office for four years, adding that “so obviously for anybody to hold a congress to elect people to replace us is contrary to the provisions of the party's constitution”.
Explaining his position further, Mr Ndebugre said, Dr Edward Mahama was barred by the party's constitution from contesting for the fourth time on the party's ticket and “for all these reasons among others some party members are in court against Dr Mahama and other members of the party concerning the holding of the so called congress”.
He stated that Dr Mahama and the other officers were aware of the court proceedings and yet went ahead to hold the congress in absolute contempt of the Court of Appeal and the High Court.
“In any case genuine party members and I do not recognised what happened yesterday, therefore neither Dr Mahama nor any of the persons who were purportedly elected to various offices should expect any co-operation from me or any other genuine member of the party,” he concluded.
In the election for national officers, Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan polled 495 votes, against the 252 obtained by Mr Thomas Akun Yong, to become the National Chairman of the party. Dr E.N. Gyader placed third with 217 votes, while 16 votes were rejected.
The former Youth Organiser, Mr Bernard A. Mornarh, succeeded Mr Gabriel Pwamang as the new General Secretary of the party.
He polled 691 votes, against the 154 obtained by Dr Somtim Tobiga and 106 by Mr Santuah Niagia. Twenty-four ballots were rejected.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga Central, Mr David Apasera, polled 660 votes to become the National Treasurer of the party. His only challenger, Mr David Nibi, had 264 votes, while 58 ballots were rejected.
Mr Bayiriga Haruna won the position of National Organiser with 362 votes to defeat Messrs Abubakari Kwashie Ebla and Godly Baba Ali, who had 318 and 250 votes, respectively with 31 of the ballots being rejected.
Hajia Ajara Ali received 634 votes to become the Women's Organiser of the party, while her challenger, Patricia Kanji, managed 291 votes, with 55 ballots being rejected.
Mr Emmanuel Wilson was elected the new National Youth Organiser of the PNC. He polled 710 votes, against the 215 obtained by Mr Iddrisu Andani Mu-azu. Forty-three ballots were rejected.
The contest for the post of Vice Chairman was deferred as the party failed to secure the required number of aspirants.
At the close of nomination, only two persons, namely, Messrs Gabriel Pwamang and Alhaji Abdul Moomen, had filed. Party officials told newsmen that three persons were needed to vie for the post.
Dr Mahama, in a post-victory speech, said the success of the congress signified a brighter future for the party.
“The party has been traumatised by self-inflicted wounds, but I can say that with this congress and elections, we have healed the wounds and can look forward to a more vibrant, more potent and politically mature party that will be ready to take over the reins of government of this nation,” the renowned gynaecologist said.
With his wife, Comfort, firmly standing by him on the stage and applauding him, Dr Mahama said despite the numerous court suits, the PNC had behaved like a true democratic party and that had gone a long way to deepen democracy, not only in the party but also the country as a whole.
Dr Mahama, who congratulated the staff of the Electoral Commission (EC) on conducting the polls efficiently, despite the short notice, and security personnel on maintaining the peace, also commended the media for providing the party with what he termed “unprecedented publicity before and during the congress”.
“Our opponents are not the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) but sometimes the media, who misrepresent us.
But I can say that in this election year, so far the coverage has been more than perfect and if they continue like that, the good people of Ghana will see the programmes and policies of the PNC and give us the mandate, come December 2008,” he said.
For his part, Professor Saaka conceded defeat and congratulated Dr Mahama on his victory “I came into this election believing very seriously that I will win. But in a competition somebody wins and somebody loses,” the former minister in the Limann administration stated.
He, however, pledged his commitment and readiness to work with the winning candidate and the party to ensure electoral victory in the 2008 general election.
The polls started at about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and ended at about 1.00 a.m. on Sunday but that did not deter supporters who had braved the entire process and had become tired and weary into bursting into wild jubilation after the results had been released by the EC at 2:30 a.m.
Earlier, members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) had engaged in a marathon session to deliberate on the way forward for the party.
Everything was done in an atmosphere of mutual respect, love and unity, as winners and losers joyfully embraced one another for a contest which was described as having been well fought.
The election was supervised by a team of officials from the EC, led by its Upper East Regional Director, Mr Adam Iddrisu Mahama.
Story by Benjamin Glover & Samuel Abaane,