Politics of Monday, 19 November 2018
Serial winner at party polls, re-elected NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia wearing his war smock, savoured his latest accomplishment.
“This is a victory that is expected. I feel normal,” the man who gives his opponents nothing more than 20% of the General Secretary ballot told Joy News presenter Daniel Dadzie.
It was in the wee hours of Monday morning. The party finally finished its 9th National Delegates Congress in Accra where new national executives were elected to steer the party into the 2020 general elections.
It is a new national executive committee with an old General Secretary.
Since becoming General Secretary in 2005, Johnson Asiedu Nketia said he has developed a political pulse on NDC elections that makes him see victory before it comes. Not just his victory but that of all other aspirants.
The latest pulse he feels post-NDC congress is that “now there will be unity in the party.”
The party has now finally heeded to a call for unity which he has been making since the 2014 NDC Delegates Congress in Kumasi, the Ashanti region capital.
Johnson Asiedu Nketia said he was the target of the 2014 elections in which some key aspirants campaigned to “clip his wings” as General Secretary.
They said he had become too powerful, an impression he said was false.
That “clip-his wings” campaign in 2014 was a “dangerous, hostile rhetoric” that eventually won key aspirants a seat on the party’s National Executive Committee.
Surrounded by political rivals, he said the command structure in the party was compromised and ambiguous.
He faced defiance at National Executive Committee meetings when he tried to draw attention to the party’s constitution, Asiedu Nketia explained.
Johnson Asiedu Nketia rejected accusations of dictatorship championed in the media by former NDC Central Regional Chairman, Bernard Allotey Jacobs.
He explained that to find out if he was too powerful, one needs to check the powers which are granted him under the NDC constitution.
If they are seen as too much then it is the fault of the party’s constitution and not him, he said.
In that case, the party must take steps to amend the Constitution, he said, and noted that he is satisfied with powers arrogated to him under the NDC Constitution.
Johnson Asiedu Nketia said some in the party have misconceptions about the office of the General Secretary.
He has one vote like any other national executive but he is free to have superior reasons during a debate that can sway the vote in his direction, Asiedu Nketia explained.
Disunity within the party cost the NDC the 2016 general elections, he repeated his analysis of the party’s performance.
Now in the 2018 delegates congress, the “hostile rhetoric of disunity” disappeared and he said gently spinning in his swivel chair.
Formerly seen as a target to be destroyed, he became a shield to be protected, he indicated.
“I knew the party will solidly be behind me,” a belief he said found its root in his own relevance to the party.
“I didn’t feel like I had lost touch with the people. I was confident the people will judge me by my work,” he said.
Johnson Asiedu Nketia was now not only a shield to be protected but he became a shield to protect others, he noted, explaining several aspirants postured as the ones who can best work with Asiedu Nketia.
“All the five aspirants for National Chairman were campaigning for me or at least not campaigning against me,” he noticed a change in campaign rhetoric at the Congress.
Those who lost despite offering themselves as best suited to work with him now have to make good their campaign promise and come to the table together for victory in 2020.
“Now everybody has learnt his lessons,” he said, sensing the party is now ready to allow the General Secretary to work.
Within the combined leadership of NDC and NPP, Johnson Asiedu Nketia is the only politician to have remained in their party’s national executive committee for 18 uninterrupted years.
And this is a man who says he never thought of becoming a politician.