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Ghana's NDC party convention

Mark Caldwell (Reuters, AFP)December 22, 2014

Change is rumbling through Ghana's ruling National Democratic Congress. President John Mahama's position may appear secure, but he needs to steer the economy through choppy waters before the 2016 elections.

NDC Кongress in Ghana
Ghanaian President John Mahama, Vice President Amissah Arthur and former president Jerry Rawlings in KumasiImage: DW/I. Kaledzi

Ghana's ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has a new chairman. He is Kofi Porturphy, chairman of the state-run National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO).

Porturphy, who defeated incumbent Kwabena Adjei, faces the task of preparing the party for the 2016 elections when it hopes to be returned to power. "We will deliver with your support," he told delegates at the party convention in Kumasi Sports Stadium.

NDC Кongress in Ghana
Kofi Porturphy promised to work hard for an NDC victory:'we will be available, day and night'Image: DW/I. Kaledzi

President John Mahama, who is also NDC leader, appeared confident of victory at the next elections even though they are more than a year away. "I am glad to say that notwithstanding the temporary challenges that we are facing, our party is making remarkable progress in many sectors of our national life," he said.

Criticism of government's record

Others are less sanguine. "We must rid our country through the peace of the ballot box of the incompetent NDC government of John Mahama and relieve the Ghanaian people of the unjustifiable hardships and difficulties they are encountering," thundered Nana Akufo-Addo, leader of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) at a party rally in October.

NDC Кongress in Ghana
With its peaceful elections and respect for the rule of law, Ghana is viewed as a model of African democracyImage: DW/I. Kaledzi

Critical voices are also to be heard within the NDC. Party founder and former President Jerry Rawlings - a flight lieutenant in the Ghanaian air force who first came to power after a coup in 1979 - warned the government against ignoring its weaknesses because they could seriously impair the party's performance at ballot box. "We especially in the NDC cannot play the ostrich and overlook the many challenges we have created on the winding path we have cut for ourselves. We have to accept that the NDC government faces huge challenges in the political and economic management of our country," he said.

Nana Akufo-Addo - Wahlen in Ghana
Nana Akufo-Addo delivered a scathing attack on the governmentImage: AP

Talks with the IMF

Ghana, which became an oil producer in 2011, has already had to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to try to stabilize a plunging cedi and pull itself out of a fiscal crisis caused in part by lower-than-expected oil receipts.

DW's correspondent in Accra, Isaac Kaledzi says there is little doubt that the NDC will endorse John Mahama as their presidential candidate for a further term. "What matters is how the government can maneuver its way through the many economic challenges before the next elections," he said.

Some analysts say an IMF program could enable the government to rebalance its economy in 2015 thereby reassuring voters in time for the elections.