Regional News Tue, 13 Jan 2004

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NPP family war: Members at daggers drawn

  • Threaten to vote “skirt and blouse”
    THE CHRONICLE’S investigations have revealed that there is a growing tension among the members of Amenfi Central Constituency of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Western Region.

    The paper’s finding has indicated that the members are not only baring their teeth at the National Executive of the party over the controversial election of Mr. Peter Kwakyi- Ackah as the parliamentary candidate but also their inability to suspend the election following a directive from the party’s top hierarchy.

    As a result of the tension, the rank and file as well as the executive have threatened to vote “Skirt and Blouse” in the December general election – meaning they would vote for the party’s presidential candidate, Mr. J.A. Kufuor and vote against the parliamentary candidate, if the situation is not rectified.

    The genesis of the misunderstanding was the ignoring of a petition of the constituency executive to the national executive to refrain from conducting the constituency primaries.

    In the petition the local executives raised issues of infiltration and intimidation among other reasons against Mr. Kwakyi-Ackah, who they claimed was not known in the constituency.

    Despite the protest the national executive went ahead with the election with Kwakyi-Ackah, emerging the winner after which 22 polling station chairmen, perceived to be anti-Kwakyi-Ackah elements, were sacked.

    “Our complaint is that Mr. Peter Kwakyi-Ackah, a marine chief engineer was not known to the constituency executives let alone the party members here. He came two and a half months prior to the primaries contending that he was a member of the party and started bribing registered voters”, an executive member told The Chronicle.

    Mrs. Leticia Kwakye-Ackah, wife of the elected candidate, however, repudiated the allegations against her husband.

    “My husband won the primaries on free and fair election. There was nothing like bribery. There was nothing like intimidation, infiltration or harassment. My husband won on the basis of merit ”

    She expressed dismay about the allegations saying it was unfortunate that such issues were emanating from the constituency at the time that the executives had endorsed her husband without any adverse report prior to the vetting of the candidates. Mr. Kwakye-Ackah, who resides in Tema, is reported to have left the shores of Ghana just after his election.

    Constituency chairman Mr. Kwame Armah expressed concern about the inability of the party executives to look into the issues in the petition but went ahead to conduct both the primaries and the vetting.

    He said even though the constituency executives were not invited to the vetting, he appealed to all members to exercise restraint while the regional executives reviewed the situation.

    “All the rumpus demonstrates the party’s commitment to consolidating democracy. My problem, however, is that the elected candidate is actually not a known member of the party in our constituency and I am also concerned about the alleged bribery aspect,” he said.

    Mr. Armah insisted that for peace to prevail, it would be prudent for the election be declared null and void as directed by the national executives.

    But Mr. Papa Kofi Nyankopa, father of the party in the constituency thought Mr. Kwakyi-Ackah won a clean and fair election. He dismissed the allegations of bribery as unfounded.

    “Mr. Kwakye-Ackah did a clean campaign. He was parking his car at a far distance and walked to the people to explain his message. In the case of bribery, I was not aware of that,” he said.

    Mr. Haruna Esseku, National Chairman of the NPP, said his office had not received any report on the situation in the constituency.

    “We have not received any information of that sort; if we receive something like that we shall surely investigate and take appropriate action.”

    Source: Chronicle

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