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20.03.2007 General News

The NPP congress: Who qualifies to be a delegate?

By The Chronicle

The New Patriotic Party is gradually warming up for the up-coming National Delegates Congress which is likely to be held in December 2007.

The main purpose is to select the party's presidential candidate for the 2008 General Elections.

This is not the first time the party will be going for such a Congress. In fact the party has had such congresses without any acrimony.

Notwithstanding the success of those congresses, one must be sincere enough to admit that there were certain provisions in the party's constitution which were not adhered to. For example, the part which says an “Extraordinary Constituency Delegates Conference” must be held in every constituency to select the 10 delegates to vote for the flagbearer on behalf of that constituency.

Unfortunately, this provision in the party's constitution has never been complied with by some constituencies with the simple reason that they lack logical support.

As a former Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP and also a former MP for two terms, I wish to associate myself with the concerns and the sentiments expressed by The Statesman in its editorial on Monday March 12, 2007.

In the said editorial, the issue regarding the selection of the 6 Members of the constituency who are not constituency officers was raised.

Indeed, the process of selecting the 10 delegates has always been a problem resulting in misunderstanding among party executives, members and the MP for the area.

Sometimes, the MP in the constituency becomes powerless in the scheme of such matters. It is the constituency chairperson who to some extent does the appointment of the delegates.

If a member is in his/her good books, such a member gets the opportunity to be appointed as a delegate chairperson but he makes sure the member/delegate votes for the preferred presidential candidate of the chairperson.

The delegate could be dropped even at the eleventh hour if he/she is found to show signs of going to vote for a different presidential candidate other than the chairperson's choice. This practice has left too much power and authority in the hands of the constituency chairpersons.

The practice is unconstitutional and undemocratic. The selection process must be constitutional, democratic, transparent, free and fair. The party members at least the polling station executives must be involved in the selected process, other wise the tenets upon which the party was formed will be eroded.

It is against this background that I fully share the urgent call and advice given to the National Executives of our party to go strictly by the party's constitution.

Source: The Chronicle