Two top functionaries of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Sekondi lost their cool and raised their voices at a debate for parliamentary candidates, compelling organisers to temporarily halt the event as their supporters joined the fracas.The few security personnel present lost control and supporters of the two parties nearly turned the event in the chamber of the Western Regional House of Chiefs into a boxing arena.
Friends of the Nation (FON), a Takoradi based non-governmental organisation that organised the debate, had a hectic time calming nerves because supporters who were outside the hall also joined.
Security personnel called for reinforcement but before its arrival tempers cooled and the event went on after about 40 minutes of interruption.
Papa Owusu Ankomah, the NPP Member of Parliament for Sekondi and Capt Anthony Cudjoe (rtd), the Metropolitan Chief Executive, were taken to one of the offices to cool down.
They came back to the hall and shook hands in the presence of the organizers and a member of the Western Regional Peace Council. They had earlier signed a pact to ensure peace during the election.
The debate was the second FON organised for parliamentary candidates and was attended by NPP, NDC and Convention Peoples Party’s (CPP) Mr Ahoah Henry Solor. Questions centered on the environment, fishing, oil and gas and coastal development and the debate got off smoothly.
All the candidates said they would transform Sekondi constituency when given the nod and would resource the fisher folks and ensure that they adhere to the approved fishing methods. They said they would develop the coastal area to boost hospitality and check that revenue from oil and gas is used judiciously to benefit the entire region.
However, during question time supporters of the NDC and NPP murmured and this compelled the organisers to suspend proceedings. On resumption a question was asked about how Papa Owusu Ankomah used his share of the Common Fund and he answered that in reality nothing like that existed.
His answer deepened the murmuring from the audience and he explained that MPs get only five percent of the Common Fund to enable them support some projects in their constituencies and that the Fund is disbursed through the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
The MP added that unfortunately he had still not had his share of the Common Fund from the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly.
This brought Capt Cudjoe to his feet to say that the allocation was intact. Out of the blue, supporters of the two parties started trading insults at each other while others nearly exchanged blows creating chaos and confusion.
Mr Kweku Aggrey, a member of the Western Regional Peace Council, told the GNA that he was surprised at the turn of events and appealed to leaders of the parties to bring their supporters to order for peace in the constituency and the region.
He said judging from the incident, supporters of losing parties could create confusion after the announcement of the election results and expressed the hope that they would be talked to for sanity to prevail in the constituency.
Mr Mevuta Donkris, Executive Director of the FON, said the environment, having been neglected for a long time, influenced his NGO to organise the debate.