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31.05.2004 Regional News

Tension Rocks NPP Primary - Juju, Vote Buying Cited

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With few weeks left to conduct the New Patriotic Party (NPP) primary in the Kade constituency of the Eastern Region, high simmering tension appears to be brewing as supporters of the two leading contestants continue to trade verbal assaults.

Supporters of the incumbent MP, Lawyer Ofosu Asamoah, who is being hotly challenged by marketing mogul, William Ampem Darko, have accused the latter of vote buying, offering of fake promises and usage of juju to win the primary.

He has also been accused of being a former National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier.

Party sources told the Gye Nyame Concord that Mr Ampem Darko has promised each Ward Chairman who votes for him a U.S. Visa, apart from mobile phones, rice, frytol vegetable oil plus cash he is reported to presently dolling out to polling station representatives.

These accusations and counter accusations that have rocked the constituency, which has proud history of peaceful elections since the rebirth of multi-party democracy in 1992, reached dizzy heights few weeks ago, when the two main combatants themselves went to town on each other's private life on the Tema-based Adom FM's morning show programme.

A cheerful William Ampem Darko who later spoke to this reporter simply said, “I will win”.

Asked as to why he was so confident, he said, all signs were “positive” adding “I am going with 70 out of the 97 electorate. That is why I have already written my victory speech”

Commenting further on some of the allegations levelled against him, he said he had never ever associated himself with the NDC and that none of the NDC people being bandied in the media as members of his campaign team was part of his camp.

The said hardcore NDC faithfuls, Oti, Kyei, Eshun, Kwaku Akuafo, all citizens from the district capital, Kade, were recently mentioned in the media as part of Ampem Darko's campaign team, fuelling speculations then that he had been deliberately planted in the NPP by the opposition NDC to cause confusion.

“This is an orchestrated attempt being perpetrated by enemies of our great party”, he told Gye Nyame Concord, saying that such dirty 'politricks' only push away good materials from the party.

He said the people who were perpetrating falsehoods about him were doing so out of ignorance and desperation, but for him and as part of his strategy he wouldn't allow any of his supporters to do anything that could divide the party in the constituency.

The Constituency Secretary, S. E. Asafo-Agyei, when contacted confirmed that tension has rocked the party in the run-up to the Kade primary, stressing on how the party was now divided along the two leading contestants, with rival supporters at each others throat. “We are only praying that this kind of politics will end for us to have a peaceful and united primaries and general elections as usual”.

In all, four candidates, Dr Ankomah Kwakye, Oppong Asante, William Ampem Darko and Amponsah Seidu are up to try and unseat the incumbent MP, Ofosu Asamoah, who serves as the Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Local Government in Parliament.

However, one of the candidates, Oppong Asante, died in a motor accident on May 6 while campaigning.

Independent sources who spoke to this paper say the contest was a two way dogged fight between Ofosu Asamoah and Ampem Darko, with the former slightly ahead of the latter.

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