'The choice is between President's candidate and party's candidates': Amin Anta says as NPP Tamale, Accra Youths speak against "Kufuor's interference"
A group calling itself the Concerned Youth of the New Patriotic Party in the three Northern Regions has cautioned delegates of the party's National Congress this Saturday NPP to avoid, what they termed, "moneycratization and manipulation of delegates" conscience by the Castle.”
The Tamale youth claimed that the future of the party was under threat "following covert and overt moves by the presidency to foist a leader on the party. A situation that could turn floating voters off.”
They accused the Presidency of treating the flagbearership contest with the aggression expected in a general election.
At a press conference in Tamale, the secretary of the group, Illiasu Haruna alleged that, against the rules, some DCEs and MCEs in the north were serving as local campaign managers of Mr Kyerematen and were unfairly exploiting the name of the President to intimidate delegates to support the 'official' candidate.
Specifically, the youth group accused the Metro Chief Executive of Tamale, Mohammed Adam Amin Anta for telling the region's delegates that the flagbearership contest "is between the President's choice [Alan Kyerematen] and the party's candidates."
They statement cautioned that in picking one person out of the 17 presidential nominees, delegates should rather "Elect for us, without any fear, favour or intimidation, the man who we would all feel comfortable with and proud to market from house to house, from hamlet to hamlet and indeed across the length and breadth of Ghana."
This comes after a similar statement from an Accra-based group, calling itself 'Friends of the NPP'. The Accra group, led by Boye Laryea, NPP Greater Accra Regional Financial Secretary, also alleged that "His Excellency the President is directly or indirectly, through proxies and agents, threatening political appointees and elected delegates with dire consequences should they choose to vote against Mr Alan Kyerematen at the upcoming congress."
It continued, "We, the Friends of the NPP wish to send a clear signal to the 2,340 or so delegates of the national congress to elect the next presidential candidate of the party, to remember that they are not free agents but delegated to vote in accordance with the popular sentiment within their constituencies."
Also, from the North, the statement said the "threat facing the party is not from the schemes and working of our political opponents but rather the dangerous tactics, intimidation and moneycrazy being employed at the Castle and agents of the executive to execute a plan that will favour one particular candidate against the line-up of 17 creditable candidates."
"The President is treating this internal contest to elect an NPP Presidential Candidate as if this was the general elections against NDC, CPP and others. His undue interference, intimidation and the obscene use of the cash for his Alan will be a heavy blow to the NPP's traditional values and hard won reputation, with dire consequences for our electoral attractiveness," Mr Illiasu stated
"If we don't allow a free vote for the people's choice at the 22nd December 2007 National Congress, we would eventually be caught up by a larger democratic test in December 2008, where threats, intimidation and cash influence would be of little value to the millions of voters," he added.
The Concerned NPP Youth of the North therefore called on the Mac Manu leadership to immediately take precautionary steps against the schemes allegedly employed at the presidency in support of Mr Kyerematen.
The statement conceded, "We recognise that the President in particular and other functionaries of the executive as bonafide members of the great party have the right to support candidate of their choice. Yet, we are troubled by the deliberate schemes being used to further the interest of one particular candidate, Mr Alan Kyerematen by the Executive and agents of the Presidency."
The Concerned NPP Youth secretary hinted that, they had reliable information of post-dated cheques being offered to delegates to be cashed after December 22, 2007 and also residents and hotels at the Airport Residential Area are booked by the Presidency to summon potential delegates.
They warned that, if the delegates allow their conscience to be bought by cash then they the delegates must be prepared to go and convince the 20 million Ghanaians to vote for their intimidation-inspired flagbearer. "We shall not be part of the campaign, and although we shall not vote for our main opponents, we shall hand them a victory by default simply by abstaining from the elections of 2008."
By Hamza Lansah Lolly