As leading members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), including high-profile appointees, publicly canvass for support ahead of the party's national delegates congress tentatively slated for December this year, the Ghanaian Observer says its sources at the party's headquarters speak of a move by party officials to crack the whip on aspirants engaged in unofficial campaigning for the flagbearer slot.
To ensure a free and fair conduct of the campaign in a bid to sanitise the grounds for the Congress, the paper quotes its sources as saying that guidelines for the campaign will soon be made public after approval and endorsement by the appropriate bodies to prevent, among other unethical behaviour, the possibilities of planting fabricated stories in newspapers or using abusive and indecent language and campaign tactics against opponents in the race.
In an exclusive interview with GO, Mr. Lord Commey, National Organiser of the party, who confirmed the arrangement to GO, also disclosed that the party leadership had quietly been observing the trend of events, and would from next month issue rules and regulations to govern campaign activities of the nearly 20 or so presidential hopefuls of the party to act as an official framework for campaigning for the coveted slot to fill the position President Kufuor will be making vacant by his exit after his two-term tenure.
"Official guidelines will be announced very soon, when the National Council meets sometime next week, it will consider a draft document submitted by the National Executive Committee," he revealed to GO.
Declining to give details of the framework, Mr. Commey maintained that in any given election one can expect chaotic situations and therefore these guidelines are intended at checking behaviour and conduct of aspirants in the party's internal elections.
According to him, before these guidelines are even made official, he would expect that all the presidential hopefuls as well as members of the party have an idea about basic unwritten rules aspirants must strive to abide by in the interest of making the party stronger for the 2008 elections.
He gave the assurance that "the leadership of the party is on top of the issues and that the NPP will surely emerge victorious and united in the upcoming congress" despite certain shortfalls recorded earlier.
According to him, the presidential hopefuls are members of the party who have contributed immensely to the development of NPP and should not embark on any campaign activities that will affect the fortunes of the party before or after the Congress and also during the 2008 elections.
"All these people we are talking about, they are people who have sacrificed their lives and assets to bring the party this far. So they must be aware of it... That it is important that as they run around this country, they will not do anything to bring this party down," he stressed.
The party members, he said, must consistently be reminded of their tradition and of where the NPP is coming from, where it is today and where it will be going from now.
Thanking God that power is now in the hands of the NPP, he warned aspirants on the need to "handle power cautiously, very effectively, very competently; so that we will continue to consolidate the hold of this power."
Prominent among the hopefuls is Defence Minister Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, a medical doctor by profession, who comes across as an affable personality; Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, who is yet to officially declare his intention to stand and Foreign Affairs Minister Nana Akufo Addo.
Others include former Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Osafo Maafo; the Chief Executive Officer of the KorIe-Bu Teaching Hospital, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng and exiting Vice-President of the Bank of New York, Boakye Kyeremateng Agyarko.
Others are Works and Housing Minister Hackman Owusu Agyeman, Former Regional Integration and NEPAD Minister, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, Trade and Industry Minister Allan Kyeremateng, Berekum MP Capt (R'td) Nkrabeah Effah-Darteh.
The rest include Tourism Minister, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Communications Minister Prof. Mike Oquaye, former Information Minister Mr. Dan Botwe, Paapa Owusu Ankomah, Dr. Arthur Kennedy and Kwabena Agyepong.
Credit: Ghanaian Observer