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09.10.2008 Politics

Search for Baah-Wiredu's Successor - Appiah-Kubi Disqualified

Search for Baah-Wiredu's Successor - Appiah-Kubi Disqualified

Mr Andy Appiah-Kubi, the man at the centre of the controversy over who succeeds the late Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary aspirant for the Asante Akim North Constituency, has been disqualified from the race.

The national vetting committee of the party disqualified him from participating in the re-run of the primary when he appeared at its sitting in Kumasi.

He was said to have been asked to withdraw from the re-run for security reasons but he declined the directive and the committee then took the decision to recommend his rejection to the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Before he appeared at the vetting, the constituency executives had informed the vetting committee that they could not support Mr Appiah-Kubi's bid.

They explained that it would be difficult for him to campaign at Agogo where Mr Baah-Wiredu hailed from.

A source said the committee members asked Mr Appiah-Kubi, who is also the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Free Zones Board, why he failed to attend the one-week observation of the death of Mr Baah-Wiredu at Agogo.

In his reply, Mr Appiah-Kubi pointed out that it was not safe for him to attend the funeral, taking into consideration demonstrations and allegations against him over the death of the former Finance Minister.

At that point, the committee came to the conclusion that it would not be politically viable to allow Mr Appiah-Kubi to contest the primary because in the event of his winning, it would be difficult for him to campaign in the entire constituency.

The committee contended that the party could lose votes in the constituency, which is a stronghold of the party, if the aspirant won the primary.

Anxious party members had gathered at the premises where the vetting took place waiting to hear the outcome. The vetting, which was held in camera, was attended by party leaders from the national and regional headquarters.

When the news of his disqualification reached him, Mr Appiah-Kubi described the process adopted against him as an absolute disrespect for the virtues and principles of the party.

“How they went about the processes of my disqualification can at best be described as absolute disrespect for the fundamental principles of the NPP”, he told the Daily Graphic.

Mr Appiah-Kubi further described the exercise as an unfortunate misrepresentation of political power within the NPP family.

He said it was unfortunate for the committee to base their argument on the premise that he (Appiah-Kubi) failed to attend the one week celebration of the late Baah Wiredu.

The committee's contention was that if he was given the nod to represent the party to contest the parliamentary seat he could not go to Agogo to campaign.

According to Mr Appiah-Kubi, the constituency executive also said they could not work with him because of their incompatible stands.

All these charges, Mr Appiah-Kubi said, were frivolous and had no basis in contemporary democratic arrangements.

He said from what had happened to him, the party had sacrificed the value of competence and noted that if the image and growth of the party is to be sustained there is the need for the injection of adequate qualitative human resource into the centre of the party.

“There is unwarranted display of complacency coupled with undue arrogance on the part of the leadership of the party in the Ashanti Region and that would only amount to signal for disaster”, he added.

He said that the vetting committee had the mandate to select a cadidate using the party's 21 point guidelines and should therefore not have gone outside those guidelines as was the case in his vetting.

The point of him not attending the one week observance of Mr Baah Wiredu's death as part of the recommendation as substantive factor for disqualification was not tenable.

He said the committee did not even recognise his loyalty and contributions to the party in the past having been a founder member and a past national youth organiser.

The Free Zones Board second-in-command, who lost to Mr Baah-Wiredu in the earlier primary, was the centre of disturbances last Monday in the constituency, where about 20 people were injured.

Story by Kwame Asare Boadu

     & Nana Yaw Barimah