THE SMEARING of a skin itching substance known in local parlance as 'Appia' by a faceless group of young men last Sunday on party members abruptly ended a meeting of New Patriotic Party (NPP) faithful in the Atwima Nwabiagya Constituency of the Ashanti Region.
Members of the group, numbering about 20 who appeared from nowhere, and smeared the substance on the party faithful who had converged at the L/A Primary School in Abuakwa, a suburb of the constituency, immediately took to their heels after carrying out their nefarious activity.
This incident forced the all-important meeting to last for only 45 minutes.
The meeting was called to provide party members the platform to fraternize, and also deliberate on ways of achieving massive electoral victory in the upcoming polls.
Present at the abrupt meeting were the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Atwima Nwabiagya, Mr. Thomas Ofori Donkor; the former Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr. Adusei Sarkodie; the party's constituency chairman, Nana Kofi Owusu alias 'Charles Taylor'; and polling station chairmen.
Conspicuously missing from the meeting, which party gurus say is in conformity with the letter and spirit of the NPP constitution, was the incumbent MP for the area, Hon. Benito Owusu Bio.
None of the party lords present at the unsuccessful meeting, and even the media were spared the ordeal as everybody had his fair share of the 'Appia' smearing spree.
The meeting was called off when attendees could not help but continuously scratch various parts of their bodies affected by the 'Appia'.
The DCE, the constituency chairman, the former MP and other members of the party who sat at the high table were the worst affected as they scratched their bodies with any item that they could lay hands on.
Though the DCE was anxiously scratching his body when speaking to this reporter, who happened to be doing the same thing, Nana Kofi Owusu alleged that the smearing of 'Appia' was masterminded by detractors of the party who are against the prevailing peaceful atmosphere in the party.
“There are some disgruntled members in the party who have always made it their sole business of fomenting trouble with the view of portraying the Atwima Nwabiagya Constituency as a trouble spot in the Ashanti Region,” he contended.
He disclosed that though none of the members of the group which carried out the wicked act was apprehended, the incident had been reported to the Abuakwa Police Command with sample of the 'Appia'.
The constituency chairman appealed to the rank and file of the party to remain calm, and rally solidly behind the executive members so that they could approach the December general elections with the common purpose of consolidating power.
Mr Ofori Donkor, who expressed shock and dismay at the unfortunate incident, asked the party executives to organize future meetings at his private residence at Nkawie to avert the reoccurrence of the bizarre situation.
DAILY GUIDE has gathered that the Atwima Nwabiagya NPP has been divided along the Nana Kofi Owusu and Mr Oduro Frimpong factions.
Both Nana Kofi Owusu and Mr Oduro Frimpong, DAILY GUIDE learnt, are claiming the chairmanship position of the constituency with the two electing their separate executive members.
Impeccable party sources told this paper that not even the mediation efforts of the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Emmanuel Owusu Ansah and a respected party elder, Mr Appiah-Menka have been able to restore order in the constituency.
The paper was informed that anytime one of the factions meets in the constituency to discuss the progress of the party, the other faction will employ all available tactics to disrupt the meeting.
The Ashanti Regional Secretary of the party, Mr. Sam Cudjoe, when contacted on phone, confirmed knowledge of the rivalry between the two factions, and said everything was being done to resolve the impasse amicably.
He expressed misgivings about last Sunday's meeting, explaining that it breached the indefinite suspension of all party activities in the constituency until such a time that all pertinent issues have been peacefully resolved.
From Morgan Owusu, Kumasi