THE NORTHERN Regional branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has jumped on former President Jerry John Rawlings, over his recent comments on the regional congress, accusing him of open bias.
According to the Northern NDC, last Saturday's allegations by Mr. Rawlings that, the recent Northern Regional Congress was fraudulent, because money was used to buy delegates, were outrageous, and have no foundation.
A statement signed and issued by Alhaji Sumani Zakari, chairman, Alhaji Abdulai Silimboma, regional organiser, and Alhaji Alhassan Mumuni, second treasurer, said, the former president and founder of the party, should have listened to all sides in the dispute, instead of his open hostility to the new executive.
“We wish to take this opportunity to urge our founder to endeavour to live above factional politics within the party, and serve as a father, to everyone in the party”, the signatories advised Rawlings.
The statement said, the open bias exhibited by the NDC founder, has compromised his neutrality as the leader of the party, and it was dangerous to the unity of the party. Former President Rawlings at the Volta Regional Congress of the party at Kpando, last Saturday, attacked the newly elected Northern Regional executive, accusing the members of procuring their mandate, through fraudulent means. He also, accused the new executive of using violence, by using machetes and cutlasses to intimidate their opponents.
Mr. Rawlings told the Volta Regional Congress that the fraudulent acquisition of power, by the Northern Regional executive, had set in despondency in the region, and wondered whether the party can win any election there.
But the Alhaji Sumani Zakari-led executive said, Mr. Rawlings had been ill-advised, because it was rather the Ibrahim Adam-led group that threatened violence. “On the eve of the congress, the Ibrahim Adam's group, now led by Chief Kunkundana, who was contesting the post of chairman, threatened to vandalise the GNAT Hall, if the congress was allowed to take place there. They again, called for the congress to be postponed”, the statement said.
According to the Northern Regional NDC, with the threat of violence, and the congress having been postponed before, the logical thing for them to do was to move the congress to a new venue.
At that point, the statement said, delegates from all the constituencies had arrived. “This compelled the Regional Executive, led by Gado Sulemana, the chairman for the function, to move the venue to the party regional office, where preparations were made, and the congress was held.
“Some members of Ibrahim Adam's camp, contested positions at the congress, but lost”, the statement emphasised.
Northern Regional NDC said, the congress passed through tortuous routes, before eventually, being held on October 2, 2005.
The congress had, initially, been fixed for August 19, 2005, but was pushed forward, because of the row between Alhaji Ibrahim Adam former Minister of Food and Agriculture, who was said to be representing the Rawlings' faction, and Sumani Zakari, believed to belong to the Obed camp.
Nominations were said to have been opened, on July 1, 2005 for the August 19 Congress. However, according to the statement a second list was already in circulation, declaring some people in Ibrahim Adam Camp unopposed, without the knowledge of the regional executive.
“Unknowingly, a second list of contestants for the various positions was produced by Mr. Ibrahim Adam. On the list, they had already distributed the positions, with him as chairman, Gilbert Iddi, the former Northern Regional Minister as the first vice-chairman, and Yussif Abdulai Kunkundana, as the second vice-chairman, which was declared unopposed.”
On the congress day, August 19, 2005, the statement said, Ibrahim Adam's group chickened out, calling for a new date, leading to the fixing of the October 2 date. “We wish to state, clearly that the congress was organised in accordance with the rules and regulations of the party, and was attended by the officials of Electoral Commission, who supervised the said elections, at the congress”, it said.
The Northern Regional branch of the party, indicated that, it would not allow facts to be distorted by disgruntled and frustrated politicians. It denied that, money was used by Alhaji Sumani Zaka ri, to obtain votes. “Contrary, Alhaji Sumani Zakari has, single handedly, used his own money, to fund activities of the party, since 2001 without asking for refund”, it said. “Indeed, when the party lost power in 2000, and leading members were running away from party activities for fear of being victimized, Alhaji Sumani Zakari stood firmly, behind the party, and used his personal resources to reorganise and strengthen NDC, in the region, resulting in its good performance in the presidential and parliamentary elections, in 2004.”
“Since 2001, none of the national executives, nor the founder's office, has sent a pesewa to the regional executives, for the running of the party. “It cannot, therefore, be true that sums of money were sent to Alhaji Sumani Zakari, to influence delegates, the statement emphasised”.
The October 2, 2005 election, the statement observed, has produced the most balanced ethnic mix, the region has ever seen, contrary to the founder's allegation that, the congress had polarised the party, along ethnic lines.
“The high-sounding allegations of a few aggrieved persons, do not represent the views of and feelings of the vast majority of members of the party, in the region, who are happy with current development in the party.”
The regional executives stated that, the factionalism in the party, was not in the interest of the party, and asked members to put their hands on the wheel, to make NDC a winnable party, that will remove the New Patriotic Party, from power.