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Friday, August 21, 2009

NPP Shakes Over Amendments

Peter Mac Manu-NPP National Chairman
AGITATIONS, protests, petitions and threats have enveloped the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) over its ‘make-or-break’ emergency National Delegates Conference slated for this Saturday.

The conference, summoned by National Chairman Mac Manu, to endorse or reject proposed amendments to the party’s constitution, generated a simmering acrimony among party members who claimed some top persons were scheming in favour or against a proposed expansion of the party’s electoral college which would be tasked to choose a flagbearer for the 2012 and subsequent elections.

Finger-wagging and tongue-lashing Polling Station executives of the party in the Greater Accra region yesterday stormed the party headquarters holding placards and chanting war songs as they threatened fire and brimstone if the party rejects the proposed expansion of the electoral college.

They presented a petition that was received by party General Secretary, Nana Ohene Ntow. The peaceful protest took a different turn when Ohene Ntow, in an address to the protesters, said the petition would be treated at a different level because the contents were not new but had already been captured as part of the proposed amendments.

The group’s leader, Alex Antwi, who is the Constituency Chairman for Korley Klotey constituency, went wild and attacked the General Secretary, describing him as one of the persons working against the proposed expansion of the Electoral College.

“I am saying that Ohene-Ntow is one of the leaders standing in our way and we would never allow that to happen on Saturday. We would insist on our position with or without him because the party belongs to all of us and if they think otherwise, they should come and run the party alone,” Mr. Antwi fumed.

Ohene-Ntow, after receiving the petition, explained that the contents bordered on internal party matters which could be addressed as a ‘family’ issue without any tension.

He warned that the NPP would remain in opposition if the party fanned its differences to the advantage of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The General Secretary said the party had gone for similar constitutional amendments in 1998 and 2003 and that both ended amicably so there was no need for the party to burn over the forthcoming conference.

“And I am saying that if my stepping aside as General Secretary is what would make the NPP come back to power then I am prepared for that. I am not making empty politics and I am speaking the truth because there is no need in politicking and not winning an election,” he added.

The Constituency Chairman for Biakoye in the Volta Region, Anane Agyei-Forson, also told DAILY GUIDE that he had reports that Kenwood Nuworsu, his Regional Chairman, was organizing people to protest against the proposed expansion and that the move would be fiercely resisted at all cost and by any means possible.

“It is completely selfish for Kenwood or any other party leader to stand against the expansion and you can quote me on this that we would stand against him on Saturday. He has no right to organize anybody to stand against the proposed expansion because it would not end well if anybody goes ahead to do that,” Mr. Agyei-Forson noted.

Yaw Amankwah, the Asokwa Constituency Chairman, had been accused of receiving bribes from a top person in the party to organize people to vote against the proposed amendments- an allegation he vehemently denied.

“I have seen some clauses in the amendments I am not happy with and I have spoken my mind on them. If they say I have collected money for speaking against it, what about those speaking for it, have they also collected money?” Mr. Amankwah questioned in an interaction with the media.

Another suggested amendment being proposed by the NPP-USA branch was for a change of name from the ‘New Patriotic Party’ to the ‘National Patriotic Party’. Reports were that the said suggestion is most unlikely to fly at Saturday’s conference.

Lord Commey, in an interview with DAILY GUIDE, said Saturday’s conference would attract about a thousand four hundred and ninety delegates who would be in the main auditorium to debate the proposed amendments and then vote on them if and when necessary.

He said the conference would be held at the Pavilion E of the Ghana International Trade Fair Center and that about two thousand persons including observers would be allowed into the main auditorium while several thousands of party supporters who would troop to the venue to show solidarity would be allowed in and around the Trade Fair.

He said the conference theme is, “NPP: Reflect, Rebuild and Recapture Power in 2012” and it would be followed by a mammoth rally at the forecourt of the Trade Fair Center on Sunday afternoon.

Delegates from Upper East, Upper West, Northern and Brong Ahafo Region are expected to arrive in Accra on Friday while delegates from other regions, except Accra, arrive on Saturday.

By Halifax Ansah-Addo

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