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12.10.2007 General News

The selection process of the 2,300 delegates: NPP aspirants are worried

By The Statesman
The selection process of the 2,300 delegates: NPP aspirants are worried

On filing his candidacy yesterday, Yaw Osafo-Maafo has called for the selection process of delegates for the national congress of the New Patriotic Party to be clean and transparent so as to command the acceptance of all parties involved.

This is expected to be the major issue to be discussed when the aspirants confer with some party elders and President John Agyekum Kufuor next Monday.

The party constitution calls for the conveyance of an "extraordinary constituency delegates' conference to elect, when required, 6 members of the constituency who are not constituency Officers, together with 4 constituency officers, to be the 10 delegates of the constituency to attend the national congress.”

However, this provision has been loosely implemented in the past and, with about 10 weeks to the congress, some candidates are openly expressing the impracticalities of holding 230 primaries and in time for all 20 or so presidential candidates to adequately canvass the delegates in time for the December 22nd contest.

Information reaching The Statesman is that, Mr Agyepong is joined by a large number of aspirants, including Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Felix Owusu-Adjapong, Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, and Boakye Agyarko in getting all elected constituency officers of the party forming the electoral college, instead of just four per constituency.

Only one aspirant is known to be strongly against this proposal, however.

Kwabena Agyepong fears that the extraordinary conference at the constituency level is more prone to manipulation, which could lead to 60 percent of those elected at the constituency level being chosen as agents of a particular candidate, for example.

Sources say those aspirants who support the proposal of making all nine constituency officers delegate see it as "a compromised solution" which can offer greater protection against the process being tampered with. "At least all of us, aspirants, have been canvassing the constituency officers and we know who they are," one of the protagonists told The Statesman on Wednesday.

They are, therefore, calling for an emergency National Council meeting for the highest decision-making body of the party to give the go ahead.

"The NPP constitution as it presently stands may be impracticable considering the time left to organise a proper election. It could be a recipe for intense rivalry and politicking in all 230 constituencies which the party may not be able to recover from." He foresees a scenario where all 20 or so aspirants move on the constituencies either to ensure the right thing was done or to influence the process.

His other fear is that the extraordinary conference could end up disenfranchising some vital players. "I don"t see how a constituency can be fully represented at the national congress."

The party constitution calls for the conveyance of an "extraordinary constituency delegates' conference to elect, when required, 6 members of the constituency who are not constituency Officers, together with 4 constituency officers, to be the 10 delegates of the constituency to attend the national congress."

However, this provision has been loosely implemented in the past and, with about 10 weeks to the congress some candidates are openly expressing the impracticalities of holding 230 primaries and in time for all 20 or so presidential candidates to adequately canvass the delegates in time for the December 22nd contest.

The Statesman can confirm that this was a major sticking point when some party elders and a top government official met some aspirants at Australia House, Accra, on Wednesday, October 3. The aspirants who attended the meeting were Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Alan Kyerematen, Felix Owusu-Adjapong, Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, Boakye Agyarko and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.

Another topic discussed by the participants was the President's support for Mr Kyerematen. While the others showed very little concern about that, their main issue was how to guard the process of selecting delegates from being manipulated.

When contacted for his comment, while refusing to confirm the Australia House meeting, Mr Agyepong was, nevertheless, adamant that "any attempt to use DCEs or others to fund or influence the selection process would be fiercely resisted."

Mr Agyepong, a fierce critic of the handling of the process by the national executives of the party, has spoken against the two-month period that the constitution allows for the filing of nominations. "The vetting process is too long."

He is looking for a process that would quicken the selection of the delegates, allowing the aspirants enough time to canvass them for votes.

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