The National Council (NC) of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) yesterday dismissed the petition filed by the party’s suspended National Chairman, Mr Paul Awentami Afoko, against the constitutional breaches leading to his suspension.
In an overwhelming majority decision after voting by the highest decision-making body of the party after congress, Mr Afoko’s suspension was upheld.
According to the General Secretary of the party, Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, who briefed the press after the meeting, the NC deliberated on and considered the petition by Mr Afoko against constitutional breaches by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NPP.
He said the NC reaffirmed the decision to indefinitely suspend Mr Afoko.
He said the motion on whether to suspend Mr Afoko or not was put to vote and 70 members voted in favour of the suspension, with one dissenting and six others abstaining.
Former President J.A. Kufuor was the first to leave the meeting while it was still in session and it was very difficult to explain the rationale behind that.
Events leading to the crucial meeting, which was attended by the flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, had threatened to divide the party, as sharp disagreements among some leading members threatened party unity, especially with just about a year to the 2016 elections.
Heavyweights in the party, therefore, stormed the headquarters in Accra to examine the merits and demerits of the petition presented by Mr Afoko.
However, inside sources at the meeting told the Daily Graphic: that “We are clear in our minds what we are going to do and that the matter is going to be determined through voting.”
No wonder, when voting commenced, it was clear Mr Afoko had lost.
Meanwhile, Mr Afoko, who last Monday petitioned the NC against constitutional breaches that led to what he described as the usurpation of his post, has already made his intentions clear that if the petition was not given a fair hearing, he would not rule out other options, including resorting to the law courts to set aside the decision.
Already, two lives have been lost as a result of the struggle for turf within the party. Some activists of the party are so bent on seeing the back of the embattled chairman and are also calling for the suspension of the general secretary.
However, some moderates have appealed to the NEC to exercise circumspection in the handling of Afoko’s suspension. They think everything must be done to build bridges in order to present a formidable force for the 2016 elections.
Before the day-long meeting of the NC commenced, the NPP’s Second Vice-Chairman, Mr Sammy Crabbe, had categorically stated that he did not recognise Mr Freddie Blay as the acting Chairman of the party following Afoko’s suspension.
Mr Crabbe insisted that the party must respect the decision of its delegates at the Tamale Congress, which had brought Mr Afoko into power.
“No, no, no! I don’t see him [Blay] as chairman and if he convenes a meeting I’m not going. If I do next time you’ll be asking me to recognise a coup d’état. I can’t just accept that. I don’t fear. I’m courageous,” he stressed.
In Mr Crabbe’s view, Afoko’s suspension was a recipe for chaos.
“It’s going to leave serious problems within the party because people have realised that all you have to do is to walk to a body, make a petition which doesn’t have to be followed and make a lot of noise and you’re going to get it.
“It is going to affect the NPP… I disagree with our flag bearer on this issue and I don’t think it’s a crime. I don’t think it should warrant anybody going out there asking for my head and I hope it doesn’t go that way any way. I have a very thick neck and it’s very difficult to cut, so I’ll survive,” Mr Crabbe stated on Wednesday.
But in a reaction, the Communications Director of the party, Nana Akomea, said the NPP might consider suspending its second National Vice Chair Mr Crabbe if he was not circumspect in his utterances on the decision of the NEC of the party.
He said Mr Crabbe was setting himself up for the disciplinary procedures of the party by his remarks.
“I am surprised at his comments. He says he won’t recognise the decision of NEC, and he is supposed to be second vice- chair. He may disagree, but once that is a decision by NEC, he has to follow it,” Nana Akomea stated.