The National Democratic Party (NDP) has said information gathered through its polls and research, is clear evidence that the party will not only make a showing at this year’s elections, but will win with an incredible margin to silent those who doubt that the party has come to stay.
Speaking on Multi TV’s current affairs program pm:EXPRESS, National Chairman, Dr. Nii Armah Josiah Ayeh said the NDP is well prepared to contest the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections, and have the time, money and organisational capability necessary to mount a credible campaign.
He said the party, which received its final certification from the Electoral Commission on Friday September 15, plans to offer voters a clear alternative to the more established political parties.
“The two political parties (NDC and NPP) have both had their innings, and they both preformed badly. What we've had before hasn't worked very well', he said. The party has been linked severally to the former first couple, Jerry John Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings. Although the Deputy National Chairman Dr. Joseph Manboa-Rockson has indicated that the party’s National Executive Committee has agreed to name former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, as its flag-bearer for the 2012 elections, his chairman, Dr. Josiah Ayeh would not be drawn into what he calls speculations of who becomes the leader of the party.
When pushed further on the role of the former first couple, Dr. Ayeh was quick to say; “a leader will be decided by a democratic electoral process of the party’s internal mechanism”. However, Dr. Ayeh did not rule out a possible run for the position of Flag-bearer by Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, saying, “let’s wait and see. You never say never in politics”.
Analysts have played around a number of reasons for the formation of the National Democratic Party (NDP) which rhymes with the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), from which the NDP broke away, following disagreements with some of its members, particularly the Rawlingses. Others feel, the NDP is the baby of the former first lady, after she failed to win the Presidential Candidature of the NDC, a party of which her husband Jerry John Rawlings is founding father.
However, Dr. Aryeh categorically denies that members of the Rawlings family are behind the establishment of the NDP. He admitted though, that there have been many disgruntled former members of the NDC that are behind the formation of the NDP, saying that “there have been a lot of 'turbulence' within the NDC, and it was time for him and the others to move in a 'new direction”.
Dr. Aryeh also took pains to expressly state that the party does not exist mainly to drain support from the NDC or to block NDC’s electoral fortunes. “We are not after the NDC at all”, Dr. Aryeh said. “All our sayings and our deeds do not suggest that that is our objective.'
Dr Nii Armah Josiah Ayeh, a former General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), was suspended from the party in the run up to the December 2004 elections over an alleged bribery saga and his flirtation with the new patriotic party (NPP). He was alleged to have met some NPP members, led by Mr Stephen Ntim, the first vice chairman of the NPP at the time, in the house of Nii Owoo at East Legon in Accra.
Here, he is said to have complained about happenings in the NDC and expressed the desire to defect. Dr. Aryeh said when he went to Mr Owoo's house; he discussed his problems with him because he was someone he was familiar with. It is alleged that Dr. Aryeh gave some conditions to defect after which Mr Ntim gave him $3,000 to address certain personal financial difficulties. Dr. Josiah Ayeh has consistently denied all these allegations, and while talking about that incidence on pm:EXPRESS said, the way the NDC handled that issue at the time, denied him Justice, which was the corner stone of the party’s ideologies.
He said several other members who felt disgruntled about how they’ve been treated by the party decided to break away to form a new party whose objectives will hinge on Social Justice and Accountability, while addressing the country’s transportation challenges, Education and Health will form the core of its policy directions.
Dr. Aryeh was thin on details when asked for specifics about what the objectives of his new party are. However he hinted that the NDP will have 'Green' credentials in the way of European Green parties but that doesn't plant the party on the left or right of the political spectrum.
“We are a hybrid, and... we are not settling into a paradigm”, he told host Stephen Anti. Dr. Aryeh did however stress the need for a progressive social policy in terms of health education and employment.
The party's ultimate success may depend on its ability to compete with the financial clout of existing political parties, especially the two leading parties, NDC and NPP. He estimates that it will take $100,000 (an estimated 190,000 GHS) to finance a credible campaign. “We are prepared for this” he insisted, “It’s one of the first things we looked at”
The NDP has strategic fundraising plans in place to fund itself through the elections, according to the chairman. In the past few weeks, the party has been able to put in a number of structures, conducted regional elections and acquired offices and vehicles, obviously ready for the campaign.
Its new National Headquarters located at Sardisco Traffic light near JOYFM and MULTITV, is ready for the launch of the party after receiving its final certification from the EC on Friday, September 15. The party will launch a 2 month’s election campaign which Dr. Aryeh insists is enough time. Still, many will be looking ahead further, at the election of a party leader.
Whether or not, it will be Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, we wait to see.