A leading member of Ghana’s ruling National Democratic Congress [NDC] has denied reports that his party is in crisis after two prominent partisans announced plans to challenge President John Atta Mills for the party’s nomination.
Baba Jamal, who is deputy information minister, says recent developments within the NDC demonstrate the ruling party’s democratic credentials.
“I don’t think this is the first time in the history of the world that a sitting president is being challenged by others. In fact, it happened in America [before],” said Jamal. It also says that Ghana’s democracy has grown, and that democracy has come to a level where we can all now say that people are free to express themselves within the limits of the law.”
Former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and former information minister Ekow Spio Garbrah, have both picked up nomination forms to challenge incumbent President Atta Mills for the party’s nomination ahead of next year’s general elections.
“[No one] is not breaking any law if they decide to [challenge] the president… [But] It is morally wrong for anybody to want to challenge the [sitting] president today,” Jamal said.
A section of the ruling party has criticized the performance of President Atta Mills saying he has been “too slow and ineffective” in espousing the ideals of the party – a charge senior members of the administration sharply deny.
Some members of the party also expressed concern that the move will pose a potential political risk for incumbent President Atta Mills.
They contend that displeased “foot soldiers” of the NDC could defect to other parties, which they say will pave way for the main opposition New Patriotic Party [NPP] to win next year’s vote, an argument Jamal rejects.
“By challenging the president, it does not necessarily follow that that is going to weaken the president… It may even make the president sit up and do what is right…It rather strengthens the president instead of weakening him,” said Jamal.