Story: Kwame Asare Boadu in Kumasi (Kobby Asmah & Ato Dapatem in Accra)
The People’s National Convention (PNC) may soon hold an extraordinary congress to elect another presidential candidate, following the decision by the party’s flag bearer, Dr Edward Mahama, to become the running mate of the flag bearer of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom.
A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PNC, Mr Thomas Akum-Yong, told the Daily Graphic in Kumasi yesterday that the committee was due to meet soon on the reported alliance between the party and the CPP, stressing, “I can tell you that we will definitely take the decisive decision of electing a new presidential candidate to contest the December elections.”
Mr Akum-Yong said the “so-called alliance is unconstitutional”, adding, “We cannot allow Dr Mahama to sell a party some of us fought very hard to build when he was not in the country.”
The NEC member, who is also the Ashanti Regional Chairman and parliamentary candidate for Builsa North, said the party had no problem with Dr Mahama deciding to be the running mate to Dr Nduom “but there is no way we are going to allow him to decimate the PNC”.
Earlier, the Deputy National Organiser of the party, Mr Abubakar Kwashie Ebla, had described the supposed alliance as unconstitutional.
He said although the congress of the PNC gave room for such talks, any move would be inconclusive without the blessing of the NEC and the elders of the party.
He told the Daily Graphic in a telephone interview that the “hurried and clandestine” manner in which the whole exercise was undertaken made some of the national executive members smell something fishy.
The electoral alliance between the two parties, which was announced on Wednesday, had it that they had put up a common presidential candidate in the person of Dr Nduom of the CPP, while Dr Mahama became his running mate.
It was also agreed that the two parties would file common parliamentary candidates.
However, Mr Akum-Yong expressed shock at the fact that such a decision could be taken without the participation of the NEC of the PNC.
“I am a member of the NEC but I was not consulted. Again, the people who went for the meeting with the CPP had no locus for such a meeting and they could, therefore, not be taken seriously,” he said
He emphasised that the initial agreement for any electoral alliance between the two parties was that the CPP would adopt the PNC’s symbol, the palm tree, so that the identity of both parties would be maintained
“It is, therefore, a surprise that the so-called alliance did not consider this but portrays the impression that the PNC has been swallowed,” he stated.
Mr Akum-Yong indicated that the rank and file of the party in the Ashanti Region and other parts of the country were upset by Dr Mahama’s behaviour, adding that many of them had threatened to resign from the party to join others if the decision was allowed to hold.
The NEC member said people who sought office as President of this country must be prepared to look for funds to support their campaigns.
“When President Kufuor was in opposition, he was able to mobilise resources to finance his campaign and won the election. It is exactly what we expected our presidential candidate to do but, unfortunately, he decided to sit in Accra to use radio as his only method of campaigning,” he noted.
Mr Akum-Yong said he suspected that money might have influenced Dr Mahama’s decision to be the running mate to Dr Nduom because all along it was clear that Dr Mahama lacked the resources to campaign as a presidential candidate.
The PNC’s Member of Parliament (MP) for Zebilla, Mr John Ndebugri, also joined the fray and said he had been vindicated by the unilateral decision by the party’s flag bearer to become a running mate for Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, reports Donald Ato Dapatem.
He said he had always had problems with Dr Mahama for taking unilateral decisions irrespective of the party’s constitution or congress decision.
Mr Ndebugri, who is challenging the eligibility of Dr Mahama to contest the December 2008 as the PNC’s presidential candidate, added that “Dr Mahama after constituting a kangaroo congress made up of his friends and relatives”, did not respect the decision of “his own congress”.
He said Dr Mahama as an individual could decide to become Dr Nduom’s running mate but it would be wrong to unilaterally decide to become a running mate of another political party after his party’s congress had elected him to lead them to capture power to rule the nation.
Mr Ndebugri said Dr Mahama had shown his true colours, by sidelining congress to play second fiddle to another presidential candidate.
When he was informed about the developments within his party, Dr Mahama appealed for calm and said he would formally make his position known to Ghanaians on Tuesday May 20 on the alliance deal between the PNC and the CPP, reports Kobby Asmah.
He said until then his only plea to both his supporters and antagonists would be to remain calm in the midst of the political suspense.
Breaking his silence since the alliance story broke, he told the Daily Graphic that as a leader of a mass political party “I have to be cautious and consider whatever I say very carefully”.
He said he, together with the party, would organise a press conference on Tuesday where he would state exactly where the PNC as a party had got to and how things ought to proceed.
He described the alliance development between the PNC and the CPP as a national and global issue that transcended sectional politics because so many stakeholders had interests in the unfolding event.
He said he could understand the apprehensions of some supporters because there were bound to be hiccups in such situations.
“These are very interesting times and the suspense and drama are good for the nation,” he stated.
He said expectations brought hopes because those in favour of the alliance were hopeful and those against it were also hopeful.
He gave the assurance that “I am a leader and I judge my leadership qualities by how much I listen to the people”.
He said he had always believed that leaders must live simply so that others might simply live.