The upcoming delegates congress of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has forced two Senior High Schools in the Sunyani Metropolis to altar their academic calendar, something insiders say is not in the interest of the affected schools. The two affected schools have a population of over 3,500 students.
Information reaching the New Statesman indicates that even though the over 2,500 students of the Sunyani Secondary School were expected to return from their 5-day mid-term break last Wednesday, the authorities of the school have been forced to extend students’ stay at home for another one week.
According to sources within the School, the arrangement is to enable the school to provide accommodation for the NDC members and supporters who will go to the Brong-Ahafo Regional capital for the 3-day congress.
A staff of the school told the New Statesman yesterday: “the impromptu manner in which the powers that be forced our academic calendar to be altered was not the best. Some of the students had already returned from the mid-term break, only to be asked to return home to spend another one week just because a party is organising a congress to elect a presidential candidate.”
Another school affected by the NDC Congress is the St. James Secondary and Seminary School. The over 1,500 students of the school were supposed to return to the school last Wednesday after going on a break following the recent lightening disaster that hit the school.
But like their colleagues in Sunyani Secondary School, they have been compelled to sacrifice their academic work to pave the way for the ruling party to have a smooth congress.
With just two days to the NDC presidential primary, featuring only two candidates, there are growing concerns that the insults, intimidation, threats, harassment and violence, including the Kumasi shooting have blighted the short campaign and could all come to a head at the Sunyani congress.
Checks made by this paper suggest that about a third of the nation’s active police force, some 6,000 personnel, may be deployed to the Brong Ahafo capital. The NDC has also made arrangements for about 2,000 security personnel for the 3-day congress.
However, there are concerns from the Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings camp that the security personnel are all part of the GAME (Get Atta Mills Endorsed) game plan to put their fear of the ballot (if not the bullet) into FONKAR (Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings) feel unwelcomed at the congress grounds.
It is recalled that FONKAR were initially making allegations of intimidation against GAME and now GAME is accusing FONKAR of perpetuating acts of intimidation against members of GAME.
FONKAR have on several occasions complained of intimidation, vote buying, sharing of motorbikes and monies to delegates by GAME members just to ensure a re-election of President Mills at the July 8-10 Congress of the party in Sunyani.
They have also alleged that delegates are prevented by some party executives from meeting their candidate, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, which is contrary to the guidelines of the congress.
Now, members of GAME are accusing FONKAR members of attempted assassination attempt on Yaw Obimpeh, Ashanti Regional NDC Chairman.
It was reported last Thursday that Mr Obimpeh escaped death by a whisker when his vehicle was shot at by unidentified gunmen. Shortly after the alleged gunshots, other regional executives, including NDC Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer, Kwaku Boahen, have blamed FONKAR for issuing death threats against the executives and acting on the threats, as well.
FONKAR members believe that GAME was callous in their calculation to blame them for the alleged murder attempt against the regional chairman. This, according to our checks, has heightened the sense of insecurity of FONKAR members for the Sunyani congress, as threats of reprisals have allegedly been issued against FONKAR members.
Meanwhile, the camps of former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and President John Evans Mills are engaged in last minute manoeuvring to outpace each other.
Yesterday, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, the only challenger to President Mills for the flag bearer slot of the ruling party took her campaign to Parliament to convince NDC legislators about the need to support her candidature.
Even though the former first lady is aware of the fact that majority of the MPs have openly declared their support for President Mills’ second term bid, sources close to her believe her solid message was capable of winning some more MPs to her side.
Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings has on several occasions accused the President of providing “uninspiring and weak leadership”, presiding over “an increasingly corrupt government” and plunging the nation into “a state of despondency.”
Some political pundits have described the upcoming congress as a make or break for the Rawlingses. There are even fears that the founder of the ruling party and his wife could break away from the NDC and form a new party if Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings is defeated at the Sunyani Congress.
The rivalry in the internal NDC contest has been so intense and antagonistic that members of the opposition even fear about how the ruling party will treat its opponents during the 2012 electioneering campaign.
Source: The New Statesman