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Politics Fri, 30 Nov 2007

NPP delegates cautioned against "personal gratitude" voting

Sunyani (BA), Nov. 30, GNA - Prospective delegates to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) extra-ordinary congress on December 22 have been cautioned against voting on the basis of personal gratitude to aspirants.

Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, one of the 18 presidential hopefuls of the party, who gave the caution on Thursday, argued that voting on the basis of personal gratitude could lead to the doom and defeat of the party in the 2008 general elections.

He told party faithful, including potential delegates, at Sunyani that even though gratitude to kind aspirants was a good thing, it was politically dangerous for the delegates to allow their better judgement to be clouded by the kindness of one aspirant or the other to the extent of voting for an aspirant merely out of gratitude.

Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey explained that whereas it was virtuous for individual delegates to show personal gratitude to kind aspirants, it was of uttermost importance for delegates to remember that in being selected to vote at the December congress, their vote was to represent the aspirations of their constituents and not their own. "There could be many reasons for making a bad political choice at the congress and the biggest one could be parochial gratitude," he said.

He said there was the need for the delegates to examine the personal favours they had received and continue to receive from aspirants - whether it was direct cash or in the form of school placements for their children, medical and utility bills or job placements - and be able to dissociate those one time favours from the aspirant's own proven record of true leadership and competence at the national level.

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"Put all the direct favours you have received from each of the 18 aspirants in your gratitude basket and leave the basket outside the doors when you come to the congress on December 22, just like the way the Muslims do with their shoes when they are going to the mosque," he told the delegates.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said even though gratitude was a virtue that was to be coveted, it would not be for the greater good of the constituents of the various delegates and the whole nation for delegates to vote only based on their personal gratitude to an aspirant for direct favours.

"The NPP has not made you a delegate for you to go and express your personal gratitude to anybody. It has made you a delegate for you to go and choose the aspirants who can win the 2008 election for the NPP. The former Tourism and Diasporan Relations Minister reminded the delegates that all they were asking them to do was to go out there and pick the one who could win the election.

He said they must first work out the strategy for victory, and when they knew what the strategy was, then they could most easily work out which of the aspirants was the one who could implement that strategy for them.

Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey said, if the delegates should vote on gratitude basis, they would choose the wrong person and the repercussion would be losing the elections, and thereby sending the NPP back into opposition.

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"When that person does not win, what you have done is to have punished the person, because all of us in NPP would be very upset with the one who leads us into defeat. You would have punished yourself and punished all of us in the NPP, because any one of the aspirants can make a good president, but maybe only one can actually win the elections if you have the right strategy."

Mr Obestebi-Lamptey said in the same vein they should not vote on relationship line or ethnicity basis, because their relationship was a personal feeling and had nothing to do with wisdom and nothing to do with their brains.

Therefore, they should pray to God because they were the agents of God and the agents of the NPP so that they could make the right and informed choice," he said. 30 Nov. 07

Source: GNA