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29.07.2004 Politics

Party Collapsing In Chairman's Hometown?

By Chronicle
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More 'Headaches' for Obed As Many 'Fishes' Tear Out of NDC Net The National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr. Obed Asamoah, may be the most disturbed politician in the country today, because just four months to this year's general election, in which his party says it is sure of total victory, mass defections from the party have hit his constituency and traditional area so hard that the extent of damage caused to the party is being described as simply irreparable.

The defection train in the party's 'World Bank', which started from Ketu North a few weeks ago, has made a stopover in the two constituencies in Hohoe (North and South), picking along hundreds of hitherto zealous NDC members into the camp of the New Patriotic Party, even including a constituency chairman, secretary, treasurer and organizer; a thing too strange for the modern-day politician to believe.

Among the hundreds of defectors that trouped into the assembly hall of the St. Theresa Training College last Saturday to confess their 'conversion' were Kofi Kusi, (Hohoe North Secretary), Joseph Kpende, (Hohoe North Treasurer), K. Azanyo, (Coordinator and Local Chairman for Alavanyo Agorhoe), Kofi Afari (Hohoe South Chairman) and Teddy Ofori (Organizer of Hohoe North and parliamentary aspirant).

The mass defection, described by observers at the occasion as a real test to the chairman's grip on the party and support base at the grassroots in his own home, came after a primary election held about two months ago did not go down well with many members, who saw the outcome as another imposition from the very top.

But unlike the 2000 situation, where members simply remained passive on the voting day and failed to turn out, members this time did not swallow their displeasure. They opted to 'cross the red sea from Egypt to settle in a New Canaan.'

Taking their turns to explain to the teeming NPP supporters gathered, Mr. Teddy Ofori, glaringly the biggest fish to have torn the NDC net so far and who moved out with virtually all the youth and elders of Likpe Bakwa, said even though it may be difficult for a person to change from an idea one had religiously held for a long time, such changes were, sometimes, necessary for the sake of progress and development.

"God is not a mad man. God ordains whatever happens to you in life. I have been a terror to the NPP for many years, but today, destiny has brought us together," he confessed.

Ofori, a parliamentary aspirant who lost narrowly, said his decision to quit the NDC should not be seen as a protest in any way, but part of the works of nature.

According to him, when word of his pullout leaked to the national executive in Accra, he received a number of calls from the flagbearer and leader of the party, Professor John Evans Atta-Mills, pleading with him to rescind his decision.

"But it is too late now. My love for the NDC has faded, and if salt loses its taste, it becomes worthless. I have lost a lot of friends, but it is an opportunity for me to make many more new ones," he stated.

He disclosed that some top gurus also asked him to present his campaign bills to them so that they would settle them to make him stay, but the principled Teddy said he had long crossed the valley of no return.

Narrating his zealous activities to his former party in the good old days amidst cheers and claps, the one-time organizer and aspirant said he formed a branch of the party at the University College campus in Mampong-Ashanti, and sustained it in those days when the Ashanti region was a no-go area for the NDC.

He said if he could do all that on a difficult terrain as Ashanti, then he could do far better for any party in his own town, district and region, and promised to win thousands more from his home to the NPP.

The opinion leader and the powerful voice of the Likpe Bakwa people, debunked rumours that he received a ¢56 million bribe from the NPP before his defection, saying; "My supporters and I are more than ¢56million. Everybody loves money, but this is not money matter. We are seriously committed, and there is no turning back. I may not be rich, but I am definitely not poor."

On his part, Mr. Joseph Kpende, treasurer, said he had noted the lies of the NDC against the Kufuor administration, and was happy to have left the party earlier.

He was surprised with the warm reception he received from the NPP, his new home.

Kofi Kusi, secretary, described what happened last Saturday as a milestone in the history of multi-party democracy, and promised to give all his support to the NPP's Peter John Amewu.

Others like Kofi Afari and Azanyo all came to tell their stories and pledged their support. But before then, Mr. Ken Ayim, Deputy Volta Regional Secretary of the NPP, said the day's 'ritual' was the beginning of the end of the NDC in the region, saying the notion that the NDC was strictly for Ewes must now be dispelled.

There were also busloads of other activists from Likpe Traditional area, Obed's umbilical chord, around to formerly announce their dissociation from the NDC.

Indeed, they came in batches from Likpe Bakwa, Lolobi, Akpafu and Santrokofi, and were happy to have finally severed relations with the umbrella party, as they announced it amidst dancing to borborbor songs all day.

Apart from that, they proudly wore the T-shirts of Peter Jonny Amewu, the NPP parliamentary candidate for Hohoe North and that of President J.A Kufuor and also were decorated in other NPP paraphernalia.

Formally welcoming them into the NPP, the Hohoe District Chief Executive, Hon. James Dogbe, said he was happy that the new wind of change that was blowing in the region started from his district.

He said if someone had told him that the noble men (chairman, secretary, treasurer and organizer) and women, would agree to be dressed in NPP T-shirts and mufflers, he would not have believed, even if it was prophesized by an angel.

Dogbe recalled how just nine months back at the same hall, Ofori had spit 'fire' against the NPP during the party's regional congress, and described it all as divine intervention. He promised them of every cooperation and assistance to enable them bring others into the party to win the two seats in the district.

An unconfirmed source put the total number of immediate defectors at six hundred, hinting that many more could not come to the declaration grounds, but were with their colleagues in spirit.

The executive members among them unanimously tended their resignation from the party on that fateful Saturday morning, the paper learnt.

Birds also whispered to this reporter that Dr. Obed Asamoah was seen in the town the very hour the mass defection of his clansmen was being consummated.

Present in the hall were Nana Okyere Mantey, Regional Treasurer; Reagan Tepretu, Regional Youth Organizer; Alhaji Issa, Regional Nasara Chairman and Mr. Delali Ndo, NPP parliamentary candidate for Hohoe South constituency.

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