General News of 2014-01-23

NPP regional polls split ranks between Akufo-Addo, Alan camps

The New Patriotic Party on Saturday goes to the polls to elect its regional officers but it appears the party has been divided between the camps of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Mr Alan Kyerematen.
Initially, there were suggestions that Nana Akufo-Addo should be elected unopposed to lead the party in the 2016 general election but the idea was shot down by the National Executive Council (NEC), which decided that opportunity should be given to all those who were interested in the flag-bearer position to contest.
The division in the party along the two divides is not limited to contestants in the race for regional positions but also among some leading members of the party.
Different opinions
Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, a party stalwart and former Member of Parliament (MP) for Asokwa, is reported to have warned that he would deal with anybody or groups in the NPP which tried to use the names of Nana Akufo-Addo and Mr Kyerematen to run their campaigns.
Mr P.C. Appiah-Ofori, another former MP of the party, on the other hand, had warned that he would resign from the party if Nana Akufo-Addo was not re-elected to lead the party in the 2016 elections.
Even as the party goes to the polls to elect regional and national officers, Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyepong, the MP for Assin Central, has accused the current leadership of the party of being corrupt and that they should be booted out if the party is to make any headway in future elections.
State of the party
Notwithstanding these apparent divisions in the party, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the National Chairman of the NPP, said all was well with the party and explained that as a party, it was likely that people would have their preferences and, therefore, vote along those lines.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra, Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said party members were only supporting their preferred candidates but did not have anything against one another.
He said that was typical of any human institution when there was competition, as people would definitely support one contestant against another.
“In such situations, people will always see it as a division but it may not necessarily be so ” he added.
He explained that that was exactly what was happening in the NPP and that it did not depict division, in any way.
Preparations for elections
Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said all preparations for Saturday’s regional executive elections were on course.
“The vetting has been completed and everything is now in the hands of the regions,” he said.
He said reports which the national office was receiving from the regions indicated that everything was moving well and, therefore, the party was “hopeful there will be peaceful elections on Saturday”.
He encouraged voters to strive to get to the polling centres on time, cast their votes and allow the Electoral Commission (EC) to do its work without any interference.
“This is not a do-or-die affair; it is only a simple internal competition," he added.
Internal wrangling
In an interview on the internal wrangling, the Director of Elections of the party, Mr Martin Adjei,- Mensah Korsah, said considering the huge number of supporters and party loyalists, "you cannot rule out disagreement; you cannot rule out bickering; you cannot downplay the fact that people will have varied interests and push them. Somebody may look at that as bad phenomenon but I disagree”.
He contended that if the internal elections did not generate such heat, “then where lies the spirit of our party?”
Mr Korsah said there could never be any serious democracy without disagreements, stressing that what was important was how they were managed.
Positions being contested
The positions being contested at the regional level are Chairman, First Vice Chairman, Second Vice Chairman, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Organiser, Nasara Co-ordinator, Treasurer, Women’s Organiser and Youth Organiser.
The elections
On how prepared the party was for Saturday’s elections, he said it was about 98 per cent through with the process.