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Friday, August 21, 2009

Last Minute Compromise - To Reduce NPP Delegates from 115,000 to 7,000!

By: Ghanaian Observer

The GO can report that a controversial last minute compromise being pushed by some leading members of the New Patriotic Party could see a significant reduction in the proposal to expand the party’s electoral college from 2,400 to 115,000.

The compromise, being pushed by, among others, former Cabinet Ministers Mrs. Gladys Asmah and Mr. Felix Owusu-Agyepong, could see a very limited expansion to 7,000 delegates from about 2,400.

This should mean that all five polling station executives in the over 21,000 polling stations across the country would be denied the opportunity to take part in the election of the party’s flagbearers against the popular expectation.

The NPP holds an extraordinary conference this Saturday, 22 August to vote on a series of constitutional amendments, including the expansion of electoral colleges for the selection of all party officers and candidates.

GO has learnt that NPP National Chairman, Peter Mac Manu is opposed to the compromise agenda at this late hour. He fears that the move is even unconstitutional since delegates should be informed about proposed amendments at least a month before conference.

Bu GO has additional learnt that the compromise agenda document has somehow been circulated among the approximately 1,200 delegates nationwide. Saturday’s conference delegates, include 5 per constituency.

Mr. Mac Manu’s other fear, according to our information, is that if agreed the compromise would dash the hopes of the grassroots, who have been calling for one-man-one-vote and have rather been impressed upon by the party leadership to accept the relatively limited current proposals for now, which is itself a compromise.

The proposal, which the National Executive Committee and the National Council of the NPP have put before the party now should see all 105,000 polling station officers being given the right to choose the presidential candidate.

But, the compromise of some 7,000 delegates would effectively reduce the expansion to the leadership of the party, from the constituency upwards, including all NPP MPs and regional and national officers.

Though the decision to increase the number of delegates for the national congress by some 4,000% is very popular with the rank and file of the party, it is being opposed by a small but powerful group within the upper echelons of the party, who say the status quo has served the party well.

Go has learnt that there is a concern that the battle between the pro-expansionists and anti-expansionists could further deepen the divisions within the party.

Already, the reform process, which started under the late Peter Ala Adjetey’s committee in 2007, is being erroneously labeled an Akufo-Addo agenda and the anti-expansion, a Kufuor agenda.

The anti-expansionist group requires a mere one-third of the delegates’ votes this Saturday to stop the reforms. They are also said to be appealing to the selfish interests of the delegates to vote against the reforms since the expansion could mean a dilution of the powers (and expected rewards) that candidates can extend to a smaller group of delegates, as reportedly happened in the recent past.

But, the pressure from the grassroots has made it almost certain that the majority of Saturday’s votes would be for the expansionists. But, would that be enough to pass the required 66 percent mark or two-thirds to amend the NPP constitution?

The NPP NEC met on 28th April and 29th April 2009. The National Council then met on the afternoon of 29th April and concluded deliberations on 30th April 2009.

The meetings discussed two major positions. Endorsing the concept of One Member One Vote (OMOV) where every card bearing member in good standing is entitled to vote and substantially enlarging the Electoral College for our Conferences and Congress.

Nobody reportedly spoke against the expansion. But, subsequently there is a whole campaign being launched to stop the reforms.

If the proposals for the expansion are carried through, the delegates for the election of the Presidential Candidate shall comprise the following:-

i. The National Council

ii. The Executive Committee

iii. The Regional Executive Officers

iv. The Constituency Executive Officers

v. The Electoral Area Coordinators

vi. The five (5) Polling Station Executive Officers in each Constituency

vii. National Council of Elders

viii. All Members of Parliament

ix. Three (3) representatives each of the special organs of the Party

x. Past National Officers

xi. Three representatives from each external branch of the Party

xii. All existing Founding Members during the registration of the Party at the Electoral Commission

xiii. Fifteen Patrons

xiv. One Tescon representative from each recognized tertiary institution

xv. All New Patriotic Party card bearing Ministers when the Party is in power

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