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04.08.2004 Politics

Tribal Politics And Attendant Problems

By Ghanaian Chronicle

The Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency branch of the NPP has been rocked by more confusion as the executive and chairmen of polling stations appear to be on a collision course over the choice of the party's candidate for the December parliamentary election.

Amid accusations of bribery and tribal politics, the constituency's preparations for the primary to select its candidate six days hence, have been characterized by demonstrations by some polling station chairmen and their supporters.

Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, who is challenging the sitting MP, Isaac George Amoo, has been accused of giving the constituency executives money to influence their decision. "The party is not for sale. Let true democracy prevail," some of the aggrieved polling station chairmen told The Chronicle in separate interviews.

"The problem is that our executives are biased against the MP and have started campaigning for Mrs. Osei-Opare. They sometimes use the woman's car and our constituency chairman has consistently refused to play a neutral role in the running of the constituency, saying Mrs. Osei-Opare is his relation," Michael Kwame Power, polling station chairman of Achimota Business College and Michael Amankwah, Abelenkpe Methodist chairman, spokesmen of the aggrieved chairmen alleged.

"We want to make it clear that the constituency is not for sale to unknown people like Mrs. Osei-Opare. We don't want to believe in the so called tribal politics, executives should be advised."

They said Mrs. Osei-Opare's appearance on the political scene, had unveiled the tribal politics of the chairman, claiming that she was not known in the constituency.

The Chronicle learnt that last Sunday a number of polling station chairmen and party supporters besieged the premises of the constituency office to register their displeasure against the chairman.

They carried placards with inscriptions like: "The Seat is not for sale," "No Amoo no vote," "Ga Candidates for Ga seats," "Amoo is our hero;" "Where was Frema Akosua Ose-Opare when the going was tough," "National Executives discipline constituency executives, they are destroying our beloved party."

Apparently, the constituency chairman who had called for a general meeting to plan towards the forthcoming primary, was reported to have locked the gate leaving only the constituency organizer, Mr. Stephen Danso and the constituency patron who together with Mr. Amoo, took turns to address the supporters, prevailing upon them to calm down and assuring them that their grievances would be looked into.

The situation was nearly marred when a group of armed police arrived, allegedly from the Castle. This appeared to have infuriated the demonstrators.

"How come police from Castle were here as if there was a riot and upon whose request did they come? If there was a riot, is it not under the jurisdiction of the police around the area, why Castle police?" one supporter charged.

Meanwhile, The Chronicle can report that the party chief patron, Nana Kweku Baah and Mr. Danso, constituency organizer and ward chairman for East Legon have officially written to the party executive on various issues militating against the constituency.

Mr. Baah in his letter dated July 26, stated: "It has come to my attention that a date for the election of a parliamentary candidate for my constituency has been fixed for 8th August, 2004, between the incumbent MP, Hon. George Isaac Amoo and Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare. I wish to raise a very serious objection to the aspirations of Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare. As an active member of the party, I do not see her as qualified under the NPP constitution, Article 11 (4) i."

Mr. Baah said Mrs. Osei-Opare was not known to be active member of the party until only recently when she showed interest in contesting the seat.

"I don't want to believe that the NPP is so broke financially that after some of us have given our loyal commitment and active selfless service to the party over the years, at the risk of our lives, families and businesses, today the party is being clandestinely offered for sale to all kinds of persons who do not strictly qualify by the party's own regulations, and rules except that those persons have large sums of money to influence their way to power and fame."

He called for the disqualification of Mrs. Osei-Opare, who he said was not qualified because "her party card was fictitiously done for her and backdated as well."

Mr. Danso condemned the activities of his fellow executives, saying he was shocked at the way the party leadership was mute over the nagging problems of the constituency.

"Lest the party forgets, in July, 2000 when Alhaji Inusah Issaka resigned from the NPP to join NDC because he was refused the opportunity to contest with the current MP in the primaries, he was told that as a Northerner from Walewale, he should go to his hometown to contest a seat there. This decisive and rational decision of the party leadership offended Alhaji Inusah leading to his resignation and defection.

"Today there is an Akan, Frema Osei-Opare on the scene, who does not even qualify by the party's constitution, yet is being allowed to contest. Why is she not being told also to go to her region to contest?" He called on the party leadership to tackle the problem carefully for the sake of justice and fair play.

Mrs. Osei-Opare could not respond to The Chronicle's enquiries, saying that she was attending very important meetings.

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