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18.03.2009 General News

NPP for early congress December cited as ideal date

By The Statesman

Unassailable information reaching The Statesman indicates that there are moves on the part of the New Patriotic Party leadership as well as some members for an early National Congress, possibly early December 2009.

March 2010 is the latest the advocates of an early congress will settle for, The Statesman understands.

The move, which was reported to have been engineered by a section of the leadership who believe in unity as a key ingredient in preparing the party sufficiently for its 2012 successful bid, has among its advocates high-ranking NPP personalities, including Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, a leading member of the NPP Campaign Team since 1996, and former Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpiani.

The Congress is expected not only to elect a National Executive, but also the Flagbearer of the NPP. 

The idea, according to sources within the Party, has gone down well with every interested faction in the NPP, with the two-in-one Congress idea intended, according to advocates of the move for early Congress, to save costs and resources for an earlier and more effective national campaign in the effort to convincingly unseat the National Democratic Congress at the next elections.

The Constitution allows an early Congress, two years ahead of elections, when the party is in opposition and 11 months, when in power. An early Congress in this case is ideal, since the emerging Flagbearer would have a longer period to campaign and also afford the Campaign Team enough time to market the elected Presidential candidate.

Another reason for the call for the early Congress, according to an insider, "is for the Party to have ample time to patch up possible cracks which would have bedeviled the party during the Congress and Flagbearer Campaign, which is expected to be fiercely contested'.

"Once the Party has a flagfbearer, it gives the entire membership a sense of direction and hope,' our source concluded.

Initial calls on the part of a section of the membership for a review of the Constitution to expand the electoral college according to our sources, seem not to be getting the nod, with ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor reportedly leading the crusade to maintain the current tradition.

 However, there are favourable indications that those campaigning for the expansion may have the last laugh for more paid-up members to determine the future and course of the party through that mandate given in the reviewed NPP Constitution. 

So far, according our reliable sources, this deal of an early Congress has found acceptability with all interest groups in the party.

In spite of the surprise loss of power on the part of the NPP to the NDC led by Professor Evans Atta Mills, the leadership of the party believes the NPP still enjoys tons of goodwill unheard of in the history of opposition politics in Ghana - which puts the NPP on a pedestal of hope in terms of a formidable comeback in 2012.

The theme of the December Congress, The Statesman was told, would reflect that fact and thinking in gingering rank and file members of the party and in uniting them towards the objective of an envisaged return to power in 2012.