Tomorrow Tuesday April 15 vetting of NPP parliamentary aspirants in the Greater Accra Region would commence but already there is fear and loathing as the regional office of the party has been flooded with lots of petitions, concerns, rumours and allegations against some of the aspirants.
Not surprisingly, the authors, especially those containing serious claims, have failed to give their names and contact details, no doubt to avoid invitation to come forward and substantiate their claims.
Some of the most targeted aspirants include the incumbent MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon Mrs. Frema Osei-Opare, whose filing of nomination papers has generated a lot of controversy both within and outside the constituency, following the submission of her forms to the constituency secretary Mr. John Twumasi who was rumoured to have been suspended by the party. Another target, the ADM has learnt, is Mrs. Elizabeth Sackey MP for Okaikoi North, who even before filing her nominations had been a victim of attacks from an unidentifiable group which claimed among other things that she has become unpopular in the constituency.
Similar campaigns have been embarked upon by another faceless group in Adenta against another aspirant Mr. Stephen Deelarbi who is contesting the incumbent MP Mr. Opare Hammond. The group, in a letter written to the NPP leadership, sought to create the impression that Mr. Deelarbi, who owns a business in the constituency and has provided jobs for a good number of unemployed youth over the years, is not known to the people of Adenta.
The Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Sammy Crabbe, who confirmed the development in an interview with the ADM last week, said the practice is not uncommon “since such letters find their way to the party's regional headquarters not only during vetting periods”.
He said though the vetting committee might choose to look at some of the documents, the contents would not necessarily determine the vetting process. “The issues raised in such letters don't form the basis for our discussion but rather we as the vetting committee members decide on what questions to ask the aspirants”, he said.
Mr. Crabbe did not sound pleased with the anonymous letters and warned that any complaints or comments emanating from unidentifiable persons or groups against any of the aspirants would be discarded. “I personally won't consider any comment coming from an anonymous source because I think one should be willing to sign the letter and give out his contact details if he or she is making a true submission”.
He siaid the vetting exercise is not meant to disqualify any of the NPP parliamentary aspirants but to check the authenticity of information they provided on their nomination forms. “There is no cause for alarm since we are not bent on disqualifying any of the parliamentary aspirants. Once we are convinced that there are no errors on their forms and that the information provided is authentic, the aspirants are eligible to contest the primaries”, he explained.
He said where the vetting committee raises doubts on any information provided by the aspirants, it investigates it and where it comes to light that the information provided is false the committee applies the appropriate sanctions.
At a steering committee meeting held in Accra last Tuesday, the party's leadership resolved to expedite the vetting process in order to ensure that parliamentary candidates are elected before the opening of the voters' register by the Electoral Commission in May. The parliamentary candidates are expected to monitor the voter registration exercise in their various constituencies.
In the Greater Accra Region about 49 aspirants including the Regional Minister, Sheikh I.C. Quaye have filed their nominations in 16 constituencies with sitting MPs whiles the Eastern region recorded 62 aspirants from 21 constituencies as having filed to contest the parliamentary primaries.