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30.05.2004 General News

PNC Congress adopts new resolution amidst fierce debate

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Accra, May 30, GNA - The Delegates' Congress of the People's National Convention (PNC), on Sunday by acclamation adopted a new resolution, which mandates the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Party to determine the level of co-operation with other Nkrumahist parties, or any other political grouping.

The adoption of the resolution, which came after hours of an intense debate, especially within the Party leadership, also allows the NEC to determine which party PNC should collaborate with in the event of a run-off in the 2004 elections.

Professor Yakubu Saaka, Chairman of the Overseas caucus of the Party, who moved for the adoption of the resolution, noted that unity of all Nkrumahist parties was a better choice and therefore required an alternative structural arrangement other than a Delegates' Congress to determine the technicalities in forging unity with others who shared common goals, principles and aspiration with the PNC.

"The NEC will be in a better position to decide for the rest of the Party, especially where decisions need to be taken within a limited space of time."

Prof Saaka said a united Nkrumahist family was more like to "cause a stir" in the political annals of the nation and that it was possible for such a united front to win at least 30 Parliamentary seats in the forthcoming polls, thereby making a strong statement about the strength of Nkrumahists.

Mr John Aparebo Ndebugre, who was elected unopposed as First Vice Chairman, noted that during the elections in 2000, the decision for the PNC to go into alliance with the NPP, was taken solely by the leader, Dr Mahama, leading to serious problems in the rank and file of the party. The reasons were that not only did Dr Mahama not have the mandate of the Party to take such a decision solely, but also the decision itself did not go down well with several members of the party, Mr Ndebugre said.

Mr Ndebugre held that it was better to mandate the NEC with the authority to determine the level of collaboration with any party in the case of a run-off, adding that, "it would be too expensive to wait for any unforeseen circumstances before we constitute a Congress to take such a simple decision."

During the debate, some members of the Party stated that the NEC could approve an alliance with any party except the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The NDC in a solidarity message to the Congress had called for collaboration with PNC in the forth-coming elections. The Congress also made amendments to the Party's constitution to enable it have the needed legal backing to strategize for subsequent elections.

For example it amended Article 49 (1), (4) and (5), which talked about the leader and flag-bearer of the party and when he or she should be elected. This was amended to allow for the election of the presidential candidate and leader of the Party at anytime before the Presidential election, as against the past when the candidate was elected within an election year.

Congress also changed the number of persons required to endorse the nomination of an aspiring leader from 10 founding members of good standing to five members each of good standing from two-thirds of all constituencies, in addition to the payment of a non-refundable fee to be specified by the Standing Committee and vetting by the appointments sub-committee of the standing committee.

The amendment would however take effect from 2008, for which reason some members were of the view that the old provision should have been maintained until the next Congress.

Amendments were also made to Articles 51, 53, 54, 56, 57, 59 and 60. Most interesting among them was the introduction new clauses to Article 51, which talked about new requirements for a candidate seeking election as Chairman of the Party.

During the amendment process many delegates complained that they had not had copies of the Party's constitution since it came into force, so they found it difficult to understand and contribute to the process. Delegates also pointed out that the Party did not have offices it could operate from in most of the existing constituencies. They asked how the Party was going to cope with the additional 30 constituencies if it could not organize effectively in the previous 200.

A delegate from Techiman Constituency in the Brong-Ahafo Region, particularly, bemoaned the absence of a PNC office there saying the area was the centre of the country and that the Party needed an office there to serve as a link between the northern and southern zones of the country.