The much talked-about National Democratic Party (NDP), a breakaway group from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), was finally issued a provisional certificate to operate as a political party in the country yesterday.
The new party shares similar colours with the NDC— green, red, black and white, but arranged differently. It has a rising dove with the ‘gye nyame’ symbol in the flag with justice, unity, peace and progress as its motto, while ‘our nation, our future’ is its slogan.
It is believed that former president Jerry John Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu, are behind the new party, with speculations that the former first lady will be the flagbearer of the party.
This was after several discussions with officials of the Electoral Commission (EC), the body mandated by law to certify and regulate the activities and operations of political parties in Ghana.
Members of the party could not hide their happiness for crossing the first hurdle in establishing itself in order to contest the December polls.
Present were interim executives of the party. They were National Chairman Dr Nii Armah Josiah Aryeh, General Secretary Dr Jospeh Mamboa Rockson, Robert Quaye Tetteh, interim treasurer and other leading members like Dr Kwasi Ofei Agyemang, Joseph Bediako and Mathias Johnson.
Several members of the party who thronged the Ridge headquarters of the EC had travelled from various parts of the country to witness the occasion.
At a short ceremony, Deputy Commissioner of the EC in charge of Finance and Administration, Alhaji Amadu Sulley, who issued the provisional certificate on behalf of the Chairman of the commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, admonished the leadership of the NDP to work towards completing the provisions of the EC for the final certificate.
“Let us conform our activities to be consistent with the legal framework,” he said with reference to the Political Parties Act which mandates the Electoral Commission to conduct and supervise elections of all political parties.
Mr. Sulley urged officials of the NDP to start putting in place adequate structures including the setting up of functional party offices and officers (executives) at national, regional and constituency levels.
The Interim Chairman, Dr Nii Armah Josiah Aryeh, who received the certificate, described the occasion as a ‘giant step’ for Ghana’s democracy.
The NDP, according to him, had been founded to “answer and to stop those things; we take deep inspiration from the directive principles of state policy” with specific reference to Articles 35 and 36 of the country’s Constitution, which talks about participatory democracy.
Dr Aryeh indicated that the party would “ensure that democracy is meaningful to everybody and we are also bringing a green agenda to this country that we are primarily an agricultural country and we think that agriculture and a green agenda can push ourselves forward”.
“We are telling every Ghanaian that look closely, look scrupulously and realise that what leadership is doing does not necessarily conform to what you believe in.
“We have come to a situation where our very economic development process has led to a situation where there is practically a gambling for the cloth of the toiling masses and where there is a situation where once people are elected into power, you see an alliance between what I call political princes and their merchant friends in which every contract and every procurement is to advance that interest.”
“We are not simply here to replicate what somebody else is doing; we are not here to reinvent the wheel but we are here to ensure that every Ghanaian, wherever he is today, stands tall and proud because ultimately now we have a political apparatus through which we can realise our vision collectively.
“It may be inauspicious but in the long run, it would become most momentous,” he indicated, whilst dedicating the provisional certificate to the anonymous Ghanaian whose efforts, he said, “are never appreciated”.
“Now, let these words reverberate across our country; from golden coast to sprawling savannah, from boarder to distant boarder, in every town and every village; let these words reverberate that a party has been born and that party is symbolised by the iconic dove with its rising and soaring…that every Ghanaian belongs to, and that’s what we’re going to strive for.
“The politics of this country has seen a situation where the very act of voting has only lived to the empowerment of a few and we are presently on the brink of a situation where cabals and cliques are rising; which cabals take power through electoral process.
Once they take power, they totally disconnect from the people,” said the law lecturer who once served as the NDC’s general secretary.
“A lot of us are seasoned; we’ve seen it all before and we are telling you from the inner sanctum that what goes on there does not reflect us.
Our democracy must develop incrementally and qualitatively,” he added.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu