A decision by the National Executives Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to suspend its National Chairman, Paul Afoko, indefinitely from the party has sparked ‘fire’, with a former Western Regional Chairman, Nana Owusu -Ankomah, describing the suspension as a recipe for chaos in the party.
According to Nana Owusu-Ankomah, what the NEC members had done was not only wrong, but had set a bad precedence in the party. This, he believes, would eventually lead to fighting to either reinstate or oppose the Chairman.
It would be recalled that the NEC meeting, chaired by Mr. Freddy Blay, first Vice Chairman of the party, took a unanimous decision to suspend Paul Afoko indefinitely. The decision follows a petition submitted to the Disciplinary Committee of the party by two non-executive members who had accused Chairman Afoko of working against the flagbearer of the party, Nana Akufo-Addo.
The NEC members included C.K. Tedem, Freddy Blay, Ursula Owusu, John Boadu and few others who decided the fate of Afoko. Nana Owusu-Ankomah, who expressed grave worry over the suspension in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle, could not understand and believe why a petition by two non-executive members of the party could bring the National Chairman down.
“If a mere petition by two non-executive members of the party can bring a whole National Chairman down, then God save us as a party,” he said, adding, “as politicians, we are not angels, neither are we sacrosanct, but how can a petition lead to the suspension of our Chairman?”
The former NPP Regional Chairman insisted that the suspension of the National Chairman was wrong, and that it had confirmed the perception that a group of people in the party were not concerned about the NPP winning the 2016 elections.
“There are a group of people who are looking at post-Nana Addo. They are not concerned about Nana winning power, but concerned about leading the party after the 2016 elections.”
Nana Owusu-Ankomah, who was livid about the suspension, reminded the NEC members who took the decision not to forget that Paul Afoko was elected by thousands of delegates who entrusted the Chairmanship of the party into his hands.
Therefore, for the few NEC members to take decisions without consulting regional chairmen of the party had confirmed the long-held notion that Paul Afoko would be used as a scapegoat, and that the NPP, as a party, is against northerners.
Meanwhile myjoyonline.com reports that lawyers of suspended NPP Chairman Paul Afoko say his suspension was purely a sham. They believe he is still the substantive Chairman of the NPP. The lawyers have served notice they will be heading to court over the matter.
The National Executive Committee of the NPP, on Friday, unanimously endorsed a recommendation by the party’s Disciplinary Committee, suspending Mr. Afoko. The Disciplinary Committee acted on two separate petitions filed by eminent fellows in the NPP. Alhaji Abubakar Sulemana Yirimea and Alhaji Aminu Amadu requested the suspension of Mr. Paul Afoko for stated misconduct.
Alhaji Yirimea said, amongst others: “The circumstance under which the Director of Finance and Administration and others were relieved of their positions was contrary to Article 10 (6) and Article 9 (F) (ii) of the NPP Constitution, which gives the National Executive Committee (NEC) the sole power to appoint and dismiss directors of the party. This brought a lot of confusion, and the media made mockery of the party.”
He argued the suspected involvement of Gregory Afoko, a brother of the Chairman, in the alleged murder of the late Upper East Regional Chairman of the NPP, Adams Mahama, has weakened Mr. Afoko’s ability to spearhead a robust campaign, especially in the north of the country.
Having received the petition, the Disciplinary Committee wrote inviting Mr. Afoko, but he failed to turn up on four separate occasions, sending his lawyers instead. One of the lawyers, Dr. Peter Atupare, told Joy FM and MultiTV news analysis programme Newsfile, Mr. Afoko was unwell and could not have attended the invitations.
“Chairman Afoko made several attempts to appear; the first one, he was suffering from ill health and could not appear; the second one, we produced medical reports to prove that [he was unwell]; the third instance, we appeared and security concerns were raised that the venue chosen was not safe for Chairman Afoko to appear, and this was brought to the attention of the Disciplinary Committee,” Dr. Atupare explained.
He said the NPP Chairman wanted a venue chosen by him for the hearing. According to him, preliminary objections on the composition and jurisdiction of the committee were raised, but were not addressed by the committee.
Referring to an earlier petition submitted by the Council of Elders of the party for the suspension of Afoko, Dr. Atupare said they objected, because Prof. Mike Oquaye and Ama Busia, both members of the Disciplinary Committee, were also members of the Council of Elders which filed the petition.
The host of Newsfile, Samson Lardy Anyenini, pointed out to him that the petition determined by the Disciplinary Committee was not the one submitted by the Council of Elders, but ones received from two other individuals. He said the committee did not write to his client about those two petitions.
“We think he is in charge; what happened is void ab initio (from the beginning) [but] we will proceed to test the system as to whether he is still in charge,” he stated.