The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Vetting Committee begins work today when it screens the first batch of presidential aspirants.
The committee, under the chairmanship of Prof Daniel Adzei Bekoe, Chairman of the Council of State, is scheduled to screen three aspirants in its maiden sitting for the party's flagbearership race.
The aspirants making a date with the committee are John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, former Minister of Trade and Industry; Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, former Minister of Regional Integration and NEPAD; and Hackman Kwame Owusu Agyemang, former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing.
However, Dr. Apraku is currently out of the country and will have to face the committee on a rescheduled date.
The committee has to give the aspirants a clean bill of health before they can take part in the December 22 presidential primaries of the party.
NPP sources told DAILY GUIDE that the vetting will take place at the Australia House, near Christ The King Catholic Church, at Cantonments in Accra.
With the absence of Dr. Apraku, the committee will go ahead with Mr. Kyerematen who as at press time yesterday, was said to be on a campaign tour of the three Northern Regions, and Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang.
At a meeting of the Vetting Committee last Thursday where the members reviewed the situation, an agreement was reached to the effect that the screening process should commence in earnest in order to give enough room to aggrieved aspirants to seek redress.
The vetting process is on first-come-first-served basis, and the first three persons to file their papers after nominations were opened on September 22, 2007 were the above-mentioned.
Some members of the Vetting Committee are Rt. Hon Peter Ala Adjetey, former Speaker of Parliament and Chairman of the Constitutional and Legal Committee of the party; Samuel Arthur Odoi-Sykes, immediate past High Commissioner to Canada and Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee; R.R. Amponsah, a veteran of the Danquah-Busia tradition and Chairman of the Council of Elders; and Madam Amma Busia, a member of the Council of State.
Other members are Hajia Mariam Abagna Khadli, a nominee of the National Council; Collins Adu-Gyamfi, Chairman of the Finance Committee; Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health and Chairman of Organisational Committee; and Brig Gen. Odei (rtd), Chairman of the Research Committee, with John Agyabeng, MP for Agona East serving as Secretary to the Committee.
The aspirants, apart from the show of evidence of membership in good standing, must have evidence of their contributions to the party, a source close to the committee told DAILY GUIDE.
So far, 12 aspirants have filed their nomination papers, making them eligible to contest in the December 22 congress at the University of Ghana, Legon.
They are Alan Kyerematen; Dr. Apraku; Hackman Owusu-Agyemang; Kwabena Agyepong, former Press Secretary to the President; Boakye Kyeremanteng Agyarko, former vice president of the Bank of New York; Yaw Osafo-Maafo, former Finance and Economic Planning Minister; Vice President Aliu Mahama; and Papa Owusu Ankomah, former Minister of Education, Science and Sports.
The rest are Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, former Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations; Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, former CEO of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital; and lately, Nana Akufo Addo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD; and Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy.
Those yet to file their nominations are Capt Kwame Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey(rtd); Dan Botwe, former General Secretary; Felix Owusu-Adjapong, former Majority Leader; Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, former Defence Minister; Dr. Barfour Adjei-Barwuah, Ambassador to Japan; and John Kwame Kodua, a Kumasi-based legal practitioner.
They have up to November 22 to file their nominations.
By Fortune Alimi