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19.05.2008 Regional News

After massive demo and police brutalitiesBEKWAI NPP CRISIS DEEPENS... polling station chairmen officially reject results, but Mac Manu calls for calm

By Sebastian R. Freiku, Bekwai-Ash - Ghanaian Chronicle
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POLLING STATION chairmen in the Amansie East constituency have rejected the results of the Amansie East primary of the NPP, held at Kokofu on Saturday, May 10, 2008, which saw the re-election of the incumbent MP, Mr. Kofi Poku Adusei.

They have thus called for the nullification of the election results because constituency and regional executives conspired and smuggled one Nana Yaa Takyiwaa of Adankrangya into the list of delegates.

As a result, the leadership of the party have been given an ultimatum to address the several complaints lodged against the Member of Parliament for the area, in a reasonable time before they advise themselves as to the next line of action.

Mr. Akwasi Owusu-Sarkodie, SDA Secondary school polling station chairman and chairman of the Association of chairmen, said at a meeting of Journalists at Bekwai on Friday that they allowed the primary to be held under protest.

According to him, they have lost faith and confidence in the MP, Mr. Kofi Poku Adusei and the constituency Executives because of their divisive tendencies.

The polling station chairmen stated that in order not to fail the electorate they would not hesitate to endorse and support an independent candidate to contest the December elections in compliance with the dictates of the constituents.

"The electorate has lost faith in Mr. Poku Adusei and has warned that they will not vote at all or vote against the NPP in the general elections if he is presented as the party's candidate"

They accused the constituency and regional executives of the party of dishonesty and the perpetuation of undemocratic practices and urged the leadership of the party to take steps to arrest the situation before it is too late.

Meanwhile, the polling station chairmen have blamed last Wednesday's clash between the youth of Bekwai and the police on the DCE, party executives and the MP.

They suspect that the above named personalities masterminded the police invasion of the town, since they have all failed to sympathize with victims of the incident.
In a related development, the GNA reports that Mr Peter Mac Manu, National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has appealed to all sides involved in the conflict in Bekwai to cease their acts of violence forthwith, and remain calm to give the party time to resolve the differences.

"That this explosion has occurred within the NPP over the selection of a candidate to contest for parliament on the party's ticket is unfortunate. This party has won the proud distinction of scrupulously avoiding physical conflict of any sort in its political discourse and every other activity since it was founded 15 years ago," he said in a statement.

It said members and supporters of the NPP had endured persistent acts of unprovoked violence from political rivals without retaliation.

The statement said in line with strong commitment to free, fair and violence-free elections as vital component of democratic governance, "The NPP insists that the loss of a single Ghanaian life is unacceptable."

"Under the circumstances, it would be a sad irony if an NPP life is lost through the thoughtless action of some other NPP member or supporter," it said.

The statement said the Bekwai violence was even more regrettable given the fact that the National Executive Committee had received a petition on the primaries and is studying it with the view to finding a lasting solution.

It said the party had a duty to give close attention to whatever happens in Bekwai since it is one of the constituencies that consistently keeps faith with the NPP by voting massively for the party.

In the last election, for instance, Bekwai voters gave 79 per cent of their votes to the NPP.

Violence erupted at a NPP primary when Mr Kofi Poku Adusei, the Member of Parliament for Bekwai, polled 70 votes to beat Mr Joe Osei-Wusu, Chief Executive Officer of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority, who had 69 votes.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators who blocked roads with burning tyres.

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