Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, a leading contender in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearership race, has asked the party’s delegates not to vote for what he called ‘a candidate that (only) NPP people want’.
Rather, he said, the delegates should select a candidate that “non-NPP people will vote for”, referring to what he has tagged ‘floating voters’.
Mr. Kyerematen, popularly called Alan Cash, made the statement in Tamale last Thursday when he met the party’s delegates from the Northern Region ahead of the NPP mini congress to shortlist five among the seven aspirants vying to lead the party for the 2016 polls.
He said Nana Akufo-Addo, who many have tipped to become the NPP flagbearer again, had led the party twice to electoral defeats and there was the need for a change.
“We have used Nana twice but got the same results; so let’s try a new candidate,” he told the handful of delegates.
The NPP presidential hopeful believed that he had what it takes to attract the “300,000 floating voters” the party needed to win presidential elections.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that most of the delegates boycotted the meeting because they said the timing was wrong, since they needed to monitor the ongoing Electoral Commission (EC) voter registration exercise.
Mr. Kyerematen maintained that it was in the interest of the NPP to encourage people to contest and make sure the best was selected, saying he was ready to lead the party.
He repeated his promise to ensure that some party officers would receive salaries when he is elected.
He also narrated how he was sidelined by Nana Akufo-Addo’s campaign team for the 2012 election and added that the party failed to get him accreditation to attend the landmark election petition hearing at the Supreme Court.
Mr. Kyerematen told the delegates that he supported the party in all elections including election 2012 even when he was sidelined.
When reached on phone, Nana Ohene-Ntow confirmed that Mr. Kyerematen indeed met the delegates and said the former minister had appealed to them to select him to enable the NPP recapture power.
“What Alan is saying is that the delegates should look at a candidate who will be able to attract votes within the NPP and beyond the NPP,” Mr Ohene-Ntow said, adding, “He said we should change candidate this time around and vote for candidates who can attract both NPP and non-NPP votes.”
On the claim by Mr. Kyerematen that he was sidelined by the Nana Akufo-Addo Campaign Team in 2012, the former NPP General Secretary said “that was what he said.”
However, this claim was deflated by Boakye Agyarko who was Nana Akufo-Addo’s Campaign Manager in 2012, describing it as totally false.
Also on the claim of the party failing to get Mr. Kyerematen accreditation during the election petition hearing at the Supreme Court, Nana Ohene-Ntow said “some of the issues came up in the form of questions put to Mr. Kyerematen. There has been a lot of campaign that Alan didn’t go to the Supreme Court but he still managed to get to the court.”
All is set for the about 826 delegates to select five out of seven party stalwarts in a Special Congress set for Sunday August 31, 2014.
They include Nana Akufo-Addo, Mr. Kyerematen, 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament (MP) for Essikado-Ketan, Joe Ghartey, MP for Mampong Francis Addai-Nimoh, Asuogyaman MP Kofi Osei Ameyaw, former MP for Mfantseman West, Stephen Asamoah Boateng and former MP for Offinso North, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku.
After that event, the party would go to congress on Saturday October 18, 2014 to elect a flagbearer who would lead the NPP in the crucial 2016 general elections.
By William Yaw Owusu