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Friday, August 21, 2009

Nana Speaks On NPP Reforms

Nana Akufo-Addo
This Saturday, August 22, the New Patriotic Party will hold an Extraordinary Conference to vote on important constitutional amendments intended to make the party more battle-ready for 2012 and beyond. The main agenda is the proposal to expand the party’s electoral colleges.

In an interview with DAILY GUIDE yesterday, Nana Akufo-Addo, the 2008 Presidential Candidate for the NPP, said the constitutional reforms are in the right direction and are intended to “strengthen the effectiveness of the party’s organisation.”

Nana Akufo-Addo points out that the reforms are popular because the party recognizes that “a process of greater inclusion will strengthen the party’s capacity to mobilise the people behind its programme.”

If the proposal to expand the Electoral College goes through, all 105 polling station officers of the party will join another 7,900 of party office holders, including TESCON representatives and NPP Parliamentarians, to nominate the party’s presidential candidate in the future.

Already, there are agitations across the country by polling station officers for Saturday’s delegates to support the reforms. The anti-reformists only require about 35percent of delegates’ votes to stop any of the proposals.

Supporters of the proposal for expansion see it as a more scientific sampling of the popularity of a flagbearer across both party and country.

They also argue that it would mean a transfer of the ownership of the party from a smaller group of leaders to the grassroots.

Some have sought to associate the reforms with some senior personalities who are either for or against the amendments.

However, Nana Akufo-Addo says the reforms “have come from various sections of the party,” including grassroots organisations across the country and NPP supporters in the Diaspora, adding that should not be seen as any individual’s agenda for or against the process.

But, he also called for the need to resolve some of the challenges that have been identified, as he is concerned about the unity of the party.

One such challenge involves the decision to hold 230 presidential primaries simultaneously across the country involving some 115,000 delegates.

Under the current system, votes of delegates at the National Congress (numbering some 2340) are counted together and it is not known which constituency or region voted for which candidate.

But under the reforms, if voting is done and counted at 230 constituency centres across the country, this would expose voting patterns and it is feared it could further deepen divisions within the party.

Though this fear may depend more on the attitude of whoever emerges as the flagbearer and his capacity to re-unite the party after a contest, Nana Akufo-Addo is of the view that the party should, nevertheless, take the concerns on board and see how this fear could be resolved for the sake of greater unity, without necessarily deviating from the expansion track.

Proposals being put forward to tackle this challenge include the Electoral Commission transporting all the ballot boxes to a central point after voting to do the counting. Some have also suggested that the nation should be divided into four zones for voting and counting purposes.

Nana Akufo-Addo maintains that it is up to Saturday’s conference, the highest decision-making body of the party, to decide whether the reforms are good or bad.

His hope is that the party will keep faith in its democratic traditions and accept whatever results emerge from the conference.

The NPP, according to Nana Akufo-Addo, should come out of this important conference “strengthened and re-vitalised” for the great struggle that lies ahead, which is winning the 2012 general elections.

Source:Daily Guide

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