The former Volta Regional Minister, Nana Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, has urged the leadership of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to tread cautiously on the proposed amnesty to be granted party rebels. According to him, there was the need to apply the policy of general amnesty on a case-to-case basis to ensure that “we do not undermine discipline and loyalty in the party.” He said the party, which is poised to retain power in the next general elections, would be making a wrong impression on the public and some party members if the amnesty were granted wholesomely. “We would be sending wrong signals if rebels who caused a lot of embarrassment and disaffection to the party were let loose without any measure or punishment,” he said.
He was of the view that granting amnesty to the deviant party members in their blatant disloyalty, later dismissed and eventually paving way for them to contest, would not assure the unity and total cohesion of the party. Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle, Mr. Owusu-Yeboa, who suffered parliamentary defeat in the 2004 elections due to actions of his own party members, indicated that the party's discipline should not be compromised because indications were that the party executives were bent on embarking on 'street jacket' amnesty, saying, “Such a move would not help the party in any case.”
He was convinced that when people who cost a of problems to the party by throwing away their loyalty and sincere commitment were given the chance to lead the party, the NPP would not get the maximum support needed. “They must concede some measures to serve as a deterrent.” According to the former Minister, who heartedly welcome the move for general reconciliation within the party and pledged his commitment to play any role to regain the party's fortunes not only in Biakoye, where he is a native, but also from other parts of the Volta Region, said the interpretation and the application of the amnesty must be such that “we don't compromise party loyalty and discipline in the process, not only in Biakoye. We should not been seen to have a window dressing process,” he said.
To him, “everybody is welcome; but if we are to elect leaders, we should be able to elect leaders or people who would stand strongly for the party and not those who would support candidates and work against the party when they lose their positions.” Stressing on the need not to compromise party discipline and loyalty in the NPP's quest to galvanize more support, Mr. Owusu-Yeboa pointed out the need for the party not to window-dress the matters. “Those who behaved in the most treacherous manner should be allowed to face the music. Let us not over simplify the general amnesty,” he advised.
He contended, “It seems to me the concept of general amnesty is being given an ugly twist because I don't think it gives privilege to a beneficiary to contest elections for now. “If it is so, then danger is ahead of us if people who could easily compromise and destroy the image of the party are given the chance. “I am only saying that you don't re-instate them into the party and then entrust the management of the party into the hands of the same people who can easily be compromised.”
Recounting the events of the Biakoye primaries where he won against Mr. E. C Boateng, Chief Executive of the Ghana Export and Promotion Council, Mr. Yeboa said it was unfortunate that although the primary was even described by the National Organizer of the party, Mr. Lord Commey, as “the mother of all elections” because of its free, fair and transparent manner, people would still work against the interest of the party.
He admitted that the problems of Biakoye in the Volta Region were very enormous and urged the rank and file of the NPP to redeem the party's image for future elections. Obviously not enthused about how his own party members worked against him, Nana Owusu-Yeboa said since politics was about numbers and that he had already forgiven those who wronged him and the party.