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Politics Mon, 8 Apr 2019

Ellembelle NPP divided into two camps; the inside story

There appears to be looming trouble at the Ellembelle constituency branch of the ruling New Party Party (NPP) in the Western Region. Leadership of the party in the constituency seem to be divided in two parts.

Both camps, one supporting the Ellembelle DCE and the other, the Constituency Chairman have been at each other's throats since the NPP took over the administration of this country.

Genesis of the Division

The NPP in Ellembelle was solidly united prior to the 2016 general elections but immediately the party assumed the reins of power in 2017, division began.

Mr. Kwasi Bonzo contested as the parliamentary candidate in 2016 for the party and lost to the NDC incumbent MP, Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah over 2,000 votes margin.

The NPP NEC came up with a convention prior to the 2016 general elections that any failed parliamentary candidate has the automatic opportunity to be nominated as a DCE or MCE if the party emerges victorious.

So when the NPP failed to win the Ellembelle parliamentary seat, it became necessary that Mr. Kwasi Bonzo would be nominated as the DCE.

But to the surprise of the NPP members in the Ellembelle Constituency and some people in the area, Kwasi Bonzo didn't show any interest in the position.

This paved way for other party members to submit their forms for the position.

They were; Stephen Donkor (Constituency Organizer), Sani Mohammed (First Vice Chairman, Francis Apeni, Simon Amoah, Nicolas Kofie and John Asmah.

The above people were called for a regional vetting in Takoradi and to their surprise during the vetting, their parliamentary candidate (Kwasi Bonzo) came to the vetting room and submitted his forms to vye for the position and these six people respectively called their parliamentary candidate to allow him run unopposed but according to one of the six, their parliamentary candidate told them to eye the position.

Kwasi Bonzo and the six others were vetted and three were shortlisted; Kwasi Bonzo (Parliamentary Candidate), Stephen Donkor (Organiser) and Sani Mohammed (First Vice Chairman).

According to an insider, when the three were called for the national vetting, the two pulled out from the position and allowed their Parliamentary Candidate (Kwasi Bonzo) to go unopposed.

But later on Kwasi Bonzo was promised a Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Ghana National Gas Company so he vouched for Stephen Donkor (Organiser)to be nominated and he was subsequently named DCE nominee.

On May 9, 2017, the Electoral Commission organised the election at the forecourt of the Kwame Nkrumah Motel and before the election (confirmation) their parliamentary candidate had openly lobbied for Stephen Donkor to be confirmed.

And at the confirmation grounds, this is what their parliamentary candidate said "Stephen Donkor is competent to become the DCE of Ellembelle and I support him 100% and I call on you all to confirm him and I know he is going to get 100%".

But surprisingly, at the end of the poll, the President's nominee, Stephen Donkor pulled 11 votes out of 52 votes, a total rejection for him.

Immediately after the event, confusion and misunderstanding emerged between the party members, the Assembly Members and Kwasi Bonzo.

Some angry members of the party attempted to attack their parliamentary candidate and the Assembly Members for not confirming Stephen Donkor but the security intervened.

The DCE nominee, Stephen Donkor left the Assembly Hall unhappy.

These angry members also blamed the Assembly Members for not thinking about the development of their areas.

They told the media that the Assembly Members who voted 'No' were NPP members; "we are going to support the National Democratic Party (NDC) in 2020 elections"

They also accused their 2016 Parliamentary Candidate, Mr Kwasi Bonzo for sabotaging the DCE nominee; "Mr Kwasi Bonzo shouldn't try to contest again in the NPP parliamentary primaries like he will weep, we will vote against him", the NPP youth declared.

They also hooted at the Assembly Members who according to them were NPP members and insulted them. Those Assembly Members were highly protected by the policemen who were present there.

Immediately after the rejection of the President nominee, the party split into two camps, some members joined the Constituency Chairman (Samuel Akainyah) and others followed their parliamentary candidate (Kwasi Bonzo).

Later on, some supporters of the Chairman led by one Ishmael Avo Miezah organised a press conference at Nkroful to accuse their parliamentary candidate of masterminding the rejection of Stephen Donkor as DCE nominee for Ellembelle District.

'... The information we have is that Mr Kwasi Bonzo who orchestrated the massive rejection of the nominee is lobbying seriously to overturn the decision of the president to his favour", he said.

He added that "All we have for the president and whoever is influencing this move is that, if there be any change in the nomination the following should be expected; that individual who would be nominated had to dispense his or her duties outside Nkroful the seat of the District".

He hinted that "The president must expect abysmal votes from the forest belt in 2020 general elections".

Kwasi Bonzo was still nominated as the DCE on June 23 2017 and subsequently, the Assembly Members confirmed him their DCE.

Before his confirmation however, Stephen Donkor who was rejected, came public on radio to declare his total support for Kwasi Bonzo and appealed to his supporters to rally behind the president nominee.

“I totally support Hon Kwasi Bonzo as DCE nominee and I wish him well”, he said.

“I beg the Assembly Members who are planning to vote no against Hon Kwasi Bonzo because of me to stop and confirm him by 100%”, Hon Stephen Donkor pleaded.

"Ellembelle District is lagging behind in terms of development as I speak to you other Districts in Ghana have started benefiting from the government policies thus one District, one factory program, one million Ghana cedis per each constituency and planting for food and jobs so I call on all the Assembly Members to confirm Hon Kwasi Bonzo so that we the people of Ellembelle District will also have our share of the national cakes”, he urged

After the confirmation of Kwasi Bonzo as Ellembelle DCE, everybody was expecting that the two camps will come together as one family but the impasse deepened and is still deepening.

Before 2018, the DCE (Kwasi Bonzo) went to Basake community and Aiyinasi to meet some party members and he took the opportunity to introduce one Mr. John Asmah who was eyeing the position of DCE to the gathering as his preferred Constituency Chairman.

The DCE explained to the gathering that the incumbent Chairman was bringing one lady to contest him as a Parliamentary Candidate within the party, the reason for his decision to support another.

"If the Chairman is bringing somebody to contest me and it is not a crime then I also have the right to bring somebody to contest him as a Chairman", he emphasized.

On Friday, December 15, 2017 some angry supporters of the DCE stormed their party Chairman's residence at Aiyinasi to demand for the original polling station voters' register (Album).

But the Chairman didn't give a copy of the original register to them, the police was able to bring the situation under control.

On Thursday, December 21, 2017, these angry supporters stormed their National Headquarters to demand a copy of the Album which they were refused and their actions resulted in chaos where some journalists from GhanaWeb and TV3 were beaten by the party's security.

“The real issues are that the party has seriously been disintegrated into fragments. The most serious of these fragmentations is the Constituency Chairman, the Organizer (disappointed nominee) and Freddie Blay’s side of the divided groups against any other person(s) who support the 2016 parliamentary candidate, kwasi Bonzoh, popularly known as Bonzoh k", the Constituency Secretary told the media.

He added; ‘What Freddie did was his selfish interest in leading his group, including the nominee and the chairman of the party to sack the Constituency Secretary (myself), the research officer and any other reputable member(s) who has the ambition to compete with their preferred candidate, Stephen Donkor’.

He further accused the chairman noting; ‘Freddie Blay again supported the party chairman and the nominee to sell the only party vehicle we have in the constituency and did not make any effort to make replacement even though Freddie Blay was in charge for the distribution of party vehicles to the various constituencies.

"The only vehicle that the party used for the 2016 campaign was an old pick- up donated by a friend and hon. Ken Agyapong’s car which the party chairman registered in his name and used for his private business throughout the campaign period", he explained.

The issue of the original polling station voters' register (Album) wasn’t resolved, subsequently, supporters of the DCE (Kwasi Bonzo) took the matter to court to demand for the original album.

As a result of the court action, their Constituency Executive Elections delayed for over two months but later the then Acting General Secretary of the party, John Boadu intervened and out of court settlement was ruled and the intervention paved way for the elections to be held.

Factually, the DCE openly sponsored and campaigned for some aspirants and the Constituency Chairman also sponsored and campaigned for some aspirants.

The misunderstanding between the two camps forced them to host the Constituency Delegates' Conference at Nzema East Municipal Assembly Hall on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 four days to the Regional Delegates' Conference.

The Conference was highly characterised by security personnel.

At the end of a keenly contested election, the incumbent Chairman won and his camp also dominated.

Currently, this is how the Constituency Executive Committee has been divided (Team Constituency and Team Ellembelle DCE).

These are the members of the Constituency Chairman Team; Samuel Akainya (Constituency Chairman), John Nwolley (Constituency Secretary), Stephen Donkor, Constituency Organizer), Bismark Cudjoe (Constituency Youth Organizer), Benedicta Bervell (Constituency Women's Organizer), Amonle Amartey (Constituency Communication DIR.), Isaac K. Polley (Constituency Research & Elections Officer), Frederick Addiah (Deputy Constituency ORG.), Pious Ofori (Deputy Constituency Youth ORG.), Abeka Dauda A Abeka (DEP UTY Constituency Comm. DIR.), Paulina Tobiah Erzoah (Deputy Constituency Women Organizer.)

The Ellembelle DCE Team members are; Sampson Ndoli (1st Vice Chairman), James Cobbinah, (2nd Vice Chairman), Francis Apeni (Assistant Secretary), Jacob Kwofie (Financial Secretary), Osman Abdullah Abekah (Nasara Coordinator) and Dauda Mohammed (Deputy Nasara coordinator).

The Ellembelle DCE has openly declared his intention to contest in the NPP's upcoming Parliamentary Primaries and the Constituency Chairman team has promised to bring someone to contest the DCE.

Source: Daniel Kaku
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