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18.04.2007 General News

NPP leadership 'indecisive'

By The Statesman

Mr. Kwabena Agyapong, the presidential aspirant for the New Patriotic Party's mandate for Election 2008 has criticized the national executives of the party for what he describes as "indecisiveness."

He says the Peter Mac Manu-led team is behaving like "ostriches with their heads buried in the Asylum Down sand pretending there are no aspirants and therefore nobody campaigning when they should have been regulating the process by now."

The 45-year-old presidential aspirant's issue is that, "with less than six months to the latest time the party constitution allows for nominations to be opened we still don't have a date, we don't have a venue, we don't even have a filing fee figure. An electoral committee has not been set up. No regulations have been prepared by the party to guide the campaign process."

The Statesman newspaper quotes him in an interview in London as complaining that "We're inching too close to the election, so we want a clear, clean and fair electoral playing field so that we would be comfortable to accept the outcome."

The former Press Secretary to President Kufuor cites a case in America where primaries kick off next year, "yet the candidates have openly set up campaign structures, raising funds, etc in a manner that is regulated and transparent.

"The impression our party leadership is creating back in Accra now is one of indecisiveness. Our party must be seen as dynamic, decisive and effective. That's the type of government I like to lead and promises to lead."

The Statesman said it can however disclose that Mr Agyepong's return to Accra on Wednesday night coincides with a National Executive Council meeting. Top on the agenda of issues to be discussed are the so-called water-testers, followed by a code of conduct.

This will be shortly followed, before the end of the month, by a National Council meeting where formally the date, venue and filing fee for the National Congress to elect the next presidential candidate of the party will be made concrete.

Nevertheless, barring any unforeseen hitches, the date for the National Congress will be Saturday, December 15 and the venue, the University of Ghana, Legon, according to the Statesman.

The filing fee is likely to be set at ¢200m. However, the National Treasurer of the party, Daavi Ama of Dimples Junction, is pushing for the much higher figure of ¢500m, a bid that is receiving very little support from the leadership.

On the charge of indecisiveness, NPP's General Secretary, Ohene Ntow seems baffled. "You talk about indecision when you sat down to deliberate over the issue and could not come to a decision. It is the National Council that decides on date, venue and filing fee. The National Council is yet to meet on the matter. I don't see any indecision here. Also, we haven't gone beyond our deadlines. We are still operating within the party's constitutional limits."

He also described as "incorrect" the charge of lack of rules and regulations for the campaign. He said, under the previous party administration a decision was taken to place a ban on campaigning two years before the next presidential election (2008), but conceded that this has been woefully breached.

"Yes, I concede a lot of people are out there. To some extent we should have enforced our rules. As an individual I've insisted from day one that the activities of those interested in becoming our presidential candidates were premature and not helpful and on this my view has not been widely shared," he says.

The NPP General Secretary is frank in agreeing to Kwabena Agyepong's accusation of the ostrich posture of the party headquarters regarding the activities of the various aspirants. He says, "There's been a weakness of the management process. We should have had a much stronger grip."

But, so far, the party's deportment has been to only take notice of the intensive electioneering of the 18 or so aspirants once nominations are opened, which is expected to be mid-September.

While preferring what he describes as "a much more manageable number" to the current 18 or so, Ohene Ntow does not share the concern that party unity could be difficult to forge after congress.

"On the contrary, when you have many small splinter groups, which would find it difficult to stand on their own that is a plus instead of being confronted with two or three strong groups."

Source: The Statesman

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