This follows a decision by the National Chairman of the party, Paul Afoko, to disregard a directive by the Council of Elders to call a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting ahead of Sunday’s Special Delegates’ Congress to prune down the number of aspirants contesting the party’s flagbearership race from seven to five.
The elders had stepped in for a meeting to be convened and so finally, Afoko succumbed to meet with the party’s Council of Elders, chaired by Clement K Tedam, last week Thursday to stem the tide of seeming factionalism and bring an end to hostilities among the leadership of the party.
Following the acrimonious nature of the tension between the two sides, it was agreed that the National Chairman call for a Steering Committee meeting to discuss preparations for the Sunday Special Delegates’ Congress, which he had been avoiding.
Even that, our sources said, the Chairman and the General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, had to be literally begged by some party elders before they attended that meeting.
Members of the Council of Elders, who attended the meeting, besides C.K Tedam, former Majority Leader in Parliament, were Felix Owusu Adjapong, Chairman of the Constitutional Committee; Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, former Finance Committee Chairman; Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, former National Chairman; Harona Esseku and the Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu.
Members of the Steering Committee, who were present included Afoko himself, 1st and 2nd Vice Chairpersons—Freddie Blay and Fredrick Fredua Anto respectively—General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong; National Organiser, John Boadu; Treasurer, Kwabena Abankwa Yeboa; Youth Organiser, Sammi Awuku and Nasara Coordinator, Kamaldeen Abdulai.
Even though Mr. Afoko was said to have agreed to send a message to NEC members, to convene a meeting to outline the time and other things regarding Sunday’s congress, he has since failed to call for the meeting.
By close of day yesterday, our sources said no such communication had gone round inviting NEC members and regional chairmen to the meeting, because Afoko said it was unnecessary.
When the General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, was asked on radio yesterday whether there would be a NEC meeting, he could not give an emphatic response because he said he did not call for the meeting.
“We have met with the Electoral Commission and arrangement has been made regarding our Special Election; it is this arrangement we had with EC that we discussed yesterday with the Steering Committee and they have endorsed the arrangement. EC has finished and distributed the Statement of Poll to the various regional capitals…..apart from the Chairman and the General Secretary, we have assigned the Steering Committee members to the various regions to vote over there and also to monitor proceedings from the regional capitals. We will plead with those whose names are not on the list we have given out to stay away from the venue,” Agyepong told Okay FM.
But the steering committee members said the meeting was not conclusive and that they resolved to involve the NEC.
The situation has kept many, including his own colleague national and regional executives, wondering the kind of measures that had been put in place for the Special Delegates’ Congress and how the party is being run.
It has been the Chairman and the General Secretary calling the shots for the past two months, with no consultation from others.
“This is the first time in the history of this party we are going into an election with no Elections Committee in place to coordinate affairs; and it is only the General Secretary who is handling everything, including dealing directly with the Electoral Commission (EC) without recourse to other national and regional executives,” the source said.
Regional Chairmen Angry
Apparently, all the 10 regional chairmen had written to the Chairman raising serious concerns about happenings in the NPP—chief among which was the failure to set up an Elections Committee to handle the upcoming Special Delegates’ Congress—insisting ,“It is the responsibility of the Elections Committee to supervise the election and not any particular person or body.”
The letter, dated Friday, August 22, 2014 among other things stated, “It is indeed the position and the request of the regional chairpersons that to ensure fairness and to clear all doubts in the minds of the aspirants and delegates, the Elections Committee be constituted by the National Executive Committee before the Special Electoral College is held on the 31st of August, 2014.”
They also expressed concern about the venue for the elections, saying that it seemed uncertain because no decision about the various locations where the elections would be held simultaneously across the country on Sunday had been made public.
The concerns expressed by the regional chairmen seem to have fallen on deaf ears since according to sources, till date none of the issues had or are being resolved – just four days to the Special Delegates’ Congress – with Afoko treating them with contempt.
Ashanti Elders Give Direction
Meanwhile, Ashanti Regional Council of Elders has proposed that any aspirant who polls 68 percent of votes on Sunday should be made to stand as the party’s flagbearer for 2016.
They therefore entreated the other candidates to offer their unflinching support to the person that would attain the 68 percent mark to help the NPP to clinch electoral victory in 2016.
“It is the fervent prayer and appeal from the Ashanti Council of Elders of the NPP that notwithstanding the provisions of the Constitution, in the event of any one of the seven getting more than 68 percent of all votes cast at the 31st August Special Congress, then all remaining six should in their own volition, step down from any further contest and pledge their support for the winner.”
Akenten Appiah-Menkah, Chairman of the Ashanti Regional NPP Council of Elders, who delivered the strong statement during a press conference in Kumasi yesterday, said the NPP’s chances in the 2016 elections would be brightened if his proposal was accepted.
He said the NPP needed to unite as one family and confront the NDC in order for the party to secure an important victory and manage the affairs of the state.
Mr. Appiah-Menkah noted that it was important that the NPP put in place measures to organise resources to enable the party to face the next elections with full force.
He admonished the seven people contesting for the flagbearer position to conduct themselves well so that they would preserve their self-respect and image in the party.
He said if the NPP stayed united by conducting themselves well, gathered enough resources and presented a better manifesto, the party would win the 2016 polls and save Ghana from its current woes under the NDC administration.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu & I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi