21st May 2024

Tension seems to be brewing in the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Akyem Oda constituency following the suspension of ten electoral area coordinators of the party believed to be sympathetic to one aspiring parliamentary candidate, Alexander Akwasi Acquah.

A letter from the regional hierarchy of the party directing the Constituency Chairman to suspend the coordinators said among other things that the ten “in their attempt to create division and discord within the party in the constituency, signed a petition to the National Parliamentary Vetting Committee (NPVC), which an aspiring parliamentary candidate has written against the sitting Member of Parliament and Constituency Chairman.”

The letter said “the aspiring parliamentary candidate, without permission, used the party’s logo and created a letterhead for himself and referring to himself as the ‘Parliamentary Candidate’, when in actual fact, he has not been elected as the parliamentary candidate of the constituency.”

“This conduct is in strict breach of article 4 subsection 7f of our party’s constitution. The Regional Steering committee believes that as electoral area coordinators, they should have known better and advise the aspirant accordingly,” the letter, a copy of which is at the disposal of the EveningMail said.

Subsequently, the Constituency wrote to the ten suspending them as “coordinators of the constituency from all activities of the party with immediate effect, until further notice.”

Call for reversal

The ten suspended coordinators on Friday April 17, at a Press Conference, appealed to the National Chairman, the General Secretary, the Regional Chairman, Council of elders, the senior minister, who is a former MP for the area, and all other appropriate party hierarchy to “step in to reverse the decision of the Regional Secretariat which we believe is against our fundamental human right.”

Electoral Area Cordinator for Nsenaa, Frank Nkansah, addressing the press said the actions of the Regional Secretariat is in strict breach of article 4 clause 3subsections (6&7a) of the party’s Constitution. He added that appeal has been filed at the National Secretariat for redress in pursuant to article 4 clause 6 subsections (3) of the constitution hence the call on the National Executive Committee for the reversal of the suspension.

Breach of right

They said while the Regional Secretariat did not address their concerns in their petition nor call them for redress, the Constituency Disciplinary Committee has also “vehemently refused to call us for a fair hearing” in breach of article 4 clause 5subsection (3) and article 3 clause 3 subsection (2) of the party’s constitution which enjoins such hearing to be called within 21 days.

They added that the attempt by both the regional secretariat and the constituency Disciplinary Committee not to give them fair hearing is a breach on their fundamental human right and go contrary to the principle of natural justice.

“Finally, we wish to bring to the notice of the party that our polling station executives are aggrieved about this unconstitutional act of the Constituency Chairman and the Regional Chairman and has threatened on several occasions to demonstrate against the party but we the 10 coordinators are in constant talks to them to exercise restrains but we do not know for how long they can hold on to their threats,” they added.

No breach of law

When the constituency officers of the party were contacted by the EveningMail on the matter, Constituency Secretary Benjamin Baiden said the matter has been referred to the Disciplinary Committee as was directed by the regional secretariat.

Andrews Abrokwa, chairman of the Disciplinary Committee however debunked claims that his committee has breach the laws of the party. He stated that the letter given to them by the Constituency Secretary suggests that they are to ratify the decision of the regional hierarchy adding such calls are not time bound.

“We do not have to meet them so this is not timebound. If we were to sit on their issues from afresh then we had to meet them for their side of the story. In this case, the region has already given them their punishment. Meeting them or otherwise, we cannot overturn the region’s decision. Ours is just to ratify the region’s decision,” Mr. Abrokwa told the EveningMail.

On why it has taken so long to meet on the region’s decision for the said ratification, Mr Abrokwa said the unfortunate Covid-19 pandemic has affected the plans of the committee. He however gave the assurance that the committee will find time to meet to take a decision on the issue.

Call for calm

Speaking to the EveningMail, regional secretary Jeff Konadu asked the coordinators to exercise restraints as steps will be taken to address their concern. He said due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, a lot of plans and activities have been affected adding the party has no intention of deliberately infringing on the right of its members. He assured them that soon after the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic has subside, the party will make moves to address all issues.

 

Petition

The petition to the Regional Secretariat, signed by Yaw Mintah Debrah, campaign coordinator of Mr Acquah, which led to the suspension protested against the activities of the Constituency Chairman, Awudu Isaka. Written on the letterhead of Mr Acquah, the campaign coordinator, a former constituency chairman of the party, alleged that the Party chairman, Awudu Isaka, has been campaigning ‘vigorously for the Member of Parliament, Hon. William Agyapong Quaittoo.”

It alleged that “the chairman was part of the MP’s team that visited two electoral areas, Aboabo and PWD camp and directly campaigned against Mr. Alexander Akwasi Acquah.”

The petition, countersigned by the ten electoral area coordinators, said the chairman who is a member of the NPVC is supposed to be neutral adding his deep involvement in the campaign of the MP put other candidates at a disadvantage. “This obviously offers an unfair advantage to the MP and for that matter, the campaign coordinator and section of electoral area coordinators wants sanity to prevail,” the petition said.

Meanwhile, EveningMail’s insider sources at the party’s headquarters suggest that the petition to the national office has been received. The source said, they have not been able to act on the matter so far due to the pandemic and has thus called on all affected individuals to keep calm.

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