Tension is mounting between the Member of Parliament (MP) for Abirem, Ms Esther Obeng-Dapaah, and the Constituency Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Charles Baffour-Anim, popularly known as Apollo.
The MP accuses Mr Baffour-Anim of sexual harassment but he has denied the charge and accused the MP of sour grapes.
Ms Obeng-Dapaah claims Mr Baffour-Anim had, on various occasions, touched her lasciviously, leering around her in public in a manner that greatly embarrassed her.
She is yet to lodge a formal complaint of sexual assault against her party chairman but told the Daily Graphic that she would seek legal advice on the issue.
Mr Baffour-Anim also claims the MP is bitter because her third term bid for the seat in 2012 is in great danger, after all her sponsored candidates for constituency executive positions in November 2009 lost miserably.
According to him, since that loss, Ms Obeng-Dapaah had sought every opportunity to castigate him and cause him public ridicule.
“How can I play romance with a woman in front of 350 people, as well as Nana Akufo-Addo and some leading members of the NPP?' he asked.
Ms Obeng-Dapaah said Mr Baffour-Anim had been at loggerheads with her since she won the NPP primary in 2008, leading to her second electoral victory to retain her seat that year.
She said before then, the chairman had been making fruitless amorous approaches at her.
According to her, during the constituency election in November last year, Mr Baffour-Anim managed to get his favourites elected and since then none of the new executives had co-operated with her, even though she is the sitting MP.
Ms Obeng-Dapaah said when the executives abandoned the constituency party office which she had hired and rented a new one, she had no alternative but to turn it into the MP’s office.
She denied taking over two party vehicles, as claimed by Mr Baffour-Anim, adding that the NPP top hierarchy sold one of the vehicles to the former constituency chairman, Mr Emmanuel Amoako, while the other was grounded.
The MP alleged that last Saturday Mr Baffour-Anim recruited thugs from Nkawkaw and Akoase, with the aim of assaulting and disgracing her before Nana Akufo-Addo and his entourage but the MP for Nkawkaw, Mr Adjei Baah, aka Shaba, intervened to save the situation.
She accused the constituency chairman of being anti-Nana Akufo-Addo, for which reason he was doing everything possible to ensure that the aspirant was deprived of the chance to become the NPP’s flag bearer for the 2012 general election.
Mr Baffour-Anim denied all the allegations, saying, “Ms Obeng-Dapaah is pro-Allan Kyerematen and has been undermining Nana Akufo-Addo at the least opportunity.”
He said he had supported Nana Akufo-Addo since 1996 when he (Nana Akufo-Addo) lost the primary to former President J.A. Kufuor at the NPP’s national delegates conference in Sunyani, stressing that Nana Akufo-Addo could attest to that claim.
Mr Baffour-Anim said at the conference hall of the New Abirem Senior High School (SHS) last Saturday, the MP pushed him more than four times to prevent him from getting access to Nana Akufo-Addo.
Besides, he said on the podium where he sat with Nana Akufo-Addo and Ms Obeng-Dapaah, the MP insulted him loudly, to the hearing of Nana Akufo-Addo and his entourage, using provocative words “I don’t recognise you and your constituency executive.”
He said he never uttered a word and Madam Grace Omaboe, who was among Nana Akufo-Addo’s entourage, had to sit between him and the MP to cool down tempers but the MP never budged.
He said before then, he had been compelled to leave the high table but Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo had to convince him to return, since he was the constituency chairman hosting the presidential aspirant.
Political analysts contend that if the top hierarchy of the NPP does not take realistic measures to resolve the matter, it could cost the party the parliamentary seat and also affect the presidential votes for whoever emerges the party’s presidential candidate for the 2010 general election.