NDC Youth Finger Mills
A GROUP calling itself the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Youth with Conviction of Principle (YWCP) has described elections for the party's National Youth Organizer position at a delegates' congress in Sunyani last weekend as undemocratic, cosmetic and a sham, accusing the seat of government, the Castle, of vote-buying and intimidation.
The group said the face of the 'NEW NDC' had become rigged with bribery, fraud and corruption.
“Money was shared and mobile phones were distributed to delegates in exchange for votes.
The Regional Youth Organizers were literally bribed and given promises. And when these were not enough, threats were issued; threats of denial of jobs and other opportunities from government,” the group alleged.
The group insisted that the newly-elected National Youth Organizer, Ludwig Hlordze “was chosen by the Castle and not the delegates”, saying there was no spontaneous shouts of joy and jubilation when the winner was announced.
Addressing a news conference at the International Press Centre in Accra yesterday, SaCut Amenga-Etego, a highly-agitated spokesperson for the group believed to be associated with ex-President Jerry John Rawlings' faction within the ruling party, said the election of Ludwig Hlordze, an aide to President Atta Mills, as the NDC National Youth Organiser, was induced with loads of cash from the Castle, with tacit endorsement by the President.
Explaining why he made this assertion, Mr Amenga-Etego noted that on the eve of the election, reports indicated that “the Castle” was in town and to their surprise, “delegates who were enjoying dinner of rice and chicken from other modest contenders began to reject it.”
As if that was not enough, he said, delegates were promised more goodies and those that did not seem to join the Castle's bandwagon were threatened with denial of jobs and other opportunities from government.
He added that “we even had information the President Mills himself went into a conference call with his delegation and all the regional and constituency youth organizers where he issued strict instructions, coupled with promises of opportunities if his candidate were to be elected.”
The Sunyani congress, which saw the election of the NDC National Youth Organiser and two deputies, had been characterized by accusations from defeated aspirants and loyalists of ex-President Rawlings that party gurus in the corridors of power, doled out thousands of Ghana cedis and mobile phones to delegates to vote for the preferred candidates of the Castle.
The massive vote buying, according to the disenchanted youth group, was an emerging phenomenon to ensure that all those believed to be loyalists of the NDC founder were prevented from holding party positions, with a view to clipping the wings of the former President and cutting him to size.
“As youth activists of the NDC with a strong conviction to hold on to the noble principles that form the bedrock of our party, we wish to denounce rot, greed, acts that tend to corrupt the youth of this great party and Ghana,” the youth group stated, asking President Mills to say what his “personal interest” was in the youth congress so much that he would prefer a particular candidate to win.
Amengo-Etego indicated that a strong Castle delegation, comprising Deputy Ministers of Environment, Science and Technology, Dr. Omane Boamah; Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa; Water Resources, Works and Housing, Hannah Bissiw; and Finance and Economic Planning, Fiifi Kwetey among others, was ostensibly sent to the Sunyani congress to get the 'Castle candidate' chosen by delegates.
“We want to emphasize that the congress was cosmetic. The choices were determined at the 'Castle' and imposed. It was not a democratic congress.
And to think that all this unacceptable effort put in by the Presidency was to ensure that nobody associated with the party founder is elected youth leader, even if he is the right choice. This, to say the least, is very abhorrent,” Amengo-Etego fumed.
“If this is the 'NEW NDC' face, then it certainly has its own ancestor other than the virtues that brought about PNDC/NDC, led by J. J. Rawlings for close to twenty years.
It certainly has its own set of values and principles other than those of integrity, transparency, probity and accountability; social justice ….which form the bedrock of the NDC founded by J.J. Rawlings,” he added.
Mr Amenga-Etego bemoaned these machinations by the presidency, calling on the NDC youth to “rise against this alien culture before it is too late to rescue our party”.
Explaining why he made this assertion, Mr Amenga-Etego noted that on the evening before the Election Day, news had it that “the castle” was in town and to their surprise “delegates who were enjoying dinner of rice and chicken from other modest contenders began to reject."
As if that was not enough, he said, delegates were promised more goodies and those that did not seem to join the castle's bandwagon were threatened with denial of jobs and other opportunities from government.
He added that “We even had information the president himself went into a conference call with his delegation and all the regional and constituency youth organizers where he issued strict instructions coupled with promises of opportunities if his candidate were to be elected.”
Mr Amenga-Etego bemoaned these machinations by the presidency, calling on the NDC youth to “rise against this alien culture before it is too late to rescue our party.”
By Awudu Mahama