By Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah, Sunyani.
Five polling station chairmen of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Tain constituency of the Brong Ahafo Region, have petitioned the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party over the acclamation of the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr Joe Danquah, as the party’s candidate for the December general elections.
“We totally reject the incumbent MP as our parliamentary candidate for the dubious manner he was chosen”, they stated.
In a resolution signed by Messrs Kwaku Addae Boakye, Basheru Hassan, David Opoku and R.Y. Serebour, and addressed to the national chairman with copies to the regional and constituency executives, the petitioners said before the so-called acclamation, they called on the NEC to investigate attempts to impose Mr Danquah on them and conduct the primary to properly elect a parliamentary candidate for the constituency.
Unfortunately, the petition pointed out that, they did not receive any response to their petition and neither were there any attempts to resolve the controversy they complained of.
“However, to our surprise, on June 4, 2008, a team, led by Mr. Kofi Darko, the Brong Ahafo Regional Organizer of the party, was said to have organized the constituency primary at which the MP was purported to have been acclaimed as the parliamentary candidate for the Tain constituency”, they said.
According to the petition, “Indeed, as democrats and people of principle, we cannot allow this mockery of democracy to pass unchallenged”.
“We therefore state that we do not recognise the forceful display of arbitrariness that occurred on June 4, 2008”, it said.
The petition stressed that, they were worried about what was going on in the constituency and cautioned that, the earlier a solution was found to the controversy that had surrounded the primary, the better it would be for the fortunes of the party, adding, “we strongly advise that, the national executives send a team to conduct proper and democratic elections to bring peace and unity within the party”.
“We conclude by warning that, our patience and those of a lot more of our supporters and sympathizers are running out.
“ If you fail to act as suggested a week after the receipt of this petition, we shall advise ourselves accordingly and the consequences shall not be in anybody’s interest”, they warned.
When the regional office of the NPP in Sunyani was contacted, Mr A.K. Kusi, the secretary explained that, the incumbent MP was acclaimed because one Mr Richard Obour, who also aspired as a candidate, was disqualified.
Mr Kusi explained that Mr Obour was disqualified because he had not “nurtured the constituency which he wanted to lead for two or more years as required.”
Additionally, he said, Mr Obuor did not know the terrain though he was a native of the area. The secretary pointed out that, after the vetting, the regional chairman invited Mr Obour to convince him to step down because the regional executive did not want to officially write to him that he had been disqualified, as had been the party’s practice.
However, he said, Mr Obour declined to step down and rather decided to seek reliefs from the High Court in Sunyani after he had argued that the regional executives did not communicate to him in writing.
Mr Kusi further explained that, the High Court later struck out the case after hearing the arguments and that meant that the party could go ahead with the process to select a candidate.
He said with that, Mr Danquah was declared unopposed. Therefore, he said, the regional organiser, Mr Darko, was dispatched to the constituency to supervise the acclamation of Mr Danquah at a ceremony, which was also supervised by the Electoral Commission.
“We had grounds to acclaim Mr Joe Danquah because between that time and now Mr. Obour ceases to be a member of the party since he took the matter to court which was in contravention of the party’s constitution”, he argued.