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General News of Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Source: gye nyame concord

NDC Holds Crisis Meeting Today

- Mills’ sickness and running mate saga take centre stage as Rawlings backs Mould-Iddrisu

THE JOSTLING for a running mate as well as the true health status of the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC’s) presidential candidate for the 2008 polls, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, will take centre stage at a crunch meeting of the National Executives Committee (NEC) of the main opposition party this morning (Wednesday) at the Kama Conference Centre in Accra.

The emergency meeting, expected to be attended by the movers and shakers within the party, including NDC founder, Jerry John Rawlings as well as the notorious Fante Confederacy, will finally decide who among the potential candidates for the NDC running mate will partner Prof Mills to the December polls, and more importantly convince itself (NEC) as to whether Mills is in good condition to go the full length into this year’s elections.

Party sources disclosed to this paper yesterday that the NEC will also demand from their flagbearer a report on his “I Care for You” door-to-door campaign and his general strategy to win power for the NDC in this year’s elections.

A member of NEC, who spoke to this paper on condition of strict anonymity, maintained that although the choice of a running mate was the prerogative of Prof. Mills it was high time the Prof disclosed his choice to the party.

According to him, most of the party’s members are also in a dilemma concerning the capacity of their leader to lead them to political victory and that it was important Prof Mills briefed NEC on his true health status to help quell the rumourmongers from further causing damage to the party’s chances in the upcoming elections.

Asked whether the party was not rushing Prof Mills into naming its presidential running mate, he responded that it was a strategic move NEC was taking since the delay was causing anxiety among the rank and file of the party.

On the running mate, Gye Nyame Concord has learnt that the NDC was most likely to settle on a surprise candidate in the person of Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, wife of Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, former Defence Minister in the erstwhile P(NDC) regime.

Party sources disclosed to this reporter that she currently attracts the interest and fancy of the most powerful person in the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings, though the chances of Hon. John Dramani Mahama, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bole-Bamboi cannot be downplayed.

Many in the party believe that Hon Mahama may be the only person to thwart the selection of Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu as Mills’ running mate.

The top hierarchy of the party is said to be divided over the two topmost candidates, especially with the last minute change of heart by Mr Rawlings to opt for Mrs Iddrisu whilst the evergreen Fante Caucus, Mills main backbone in the party, is pushing for John Mahama.

Mrs Mould-Iddrisu, 54, currently works with the Legal and Constitutional affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat as the Chief Legal Advisor and in-house Counsel to the Commonwealth Secretary-General and the Secretariat.

She is a lawyer and versatile scholar - activist who undertook her undergraduate degree in law at the University of Ghana’s Law Faculty between 1973-1976.

She also graduated with a Masters degree in law from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), University of London in 1978 and a BL from the Ghana Law School in 1979.

She established the intellectual property course and taught on a part time basis, at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, between 1990 and 2000.

She has delivered numerous papers globally and published several articles in the area of intellectual property law. She comes with vast experience in administering various facets of intellectual property law, international law, human rights and gender in Ghana and Africa.

The implementation of wide ranging mandates in the legal arena from the Commonwealth’s Heads of State, Law Ministers and Attorneys General is overseen by her.

She worked with Ghana’s Ministry of Justice from 1978 until her appointment at the Commonwealth Secretariat in November 2003.

At the Justice Ministry, she headed the Industrial Property Law Division and was later appointed Ghana’s Copyright Administrator before leaving for the Commonwealth job, after serving as Head of the Ministry’s International Law Division.

A co-founder of the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) in 1999, Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu chaired the group till 2003, during which period she chaired also, both the Ghanaian and African Regional groupings of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).

According to party sources, her attraction to former President Rawlings and her surprise inroad into the running mate race comes from the fact that apart from the Fante Caucus, all the other major blocs found her to be the most suitable candidate.

This two-pronged development throws out names of key contenders like Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, Minority Leader in Parliament and Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, an influential Northern lawyer and running mate to Mills in the 2004 elections.

Prof. John Evans Atta Mill returned home from his three weeks sojourn to South Africa to a rapturous welcome by enthusiastic party supporters.

Addressing the crowds, the NDC flagbearer said he has come as a rejuvenated person to lead the party’s campaign to win the December polls.

He said Ghanaians needed to focus on the sickness of the nation, noting that “out nation is sick and our nation is dying”.

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