The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Mr. Dan Botwe, has warned that any contestant, who loses in the ongoing primaries of the party and decides to run as an independent candidate in the December 2004 elections, will be sacked from the party.
He explained that going as an independent candidate after one has lost the primaries of the party goes against the party's constitution.
“ If there is an independent candidate, the party then has an opponent. Independent candidate is another separate candidate,” he stressed.
Mr. Botwe said this in an interview with The Chronicle in Koforidua, in the Eastern Region, yesterday where the New Juaben South primaries were ongoing.
He noted that if a sitting Member of Parliament lost in the primaries, there was nothing wrong with it, “because we are in a democratic era and the majority carries the vote.”
The NPP general secretary advised candidates to accept their defeat in good faith and rally behind the one who wins, saying they all belong to the same party and are fighting for a common vote to enable them to retain power come 2004 elections.
Mr. Botwe said in the constitution of their party, if a contestant declares his support for any other candidate, apart from that of your party, the one forfeits his membership of the party.
Meanwhile at the end of the primaries, which were keenly contested by the sitting MP, Hon. Yaw Barimah, and the presiding member of the district assembly, Ms. B .B. Boateng, Barimah, who is also the Minister for Manpower Development and Employment, emerged the winner with 58 points, while Ms. Boateng collected 35 points.
Ms. Boateng said she had accepted the defeat in good faith and was ready to work with the party in the region.
Mr. Barimah in a victory message congratulated the delegates on their support for him, and said he was pardoning anyone whom he had offended in one way or the other in the course of his campaign.
He said what they should focus on is how to get the party not to get below 60 per cent of the parliamentary seats, as against that of last year.
He asked the party faithful to work hard to ensure that they win in an emphatic manner for President Kufuor to go for the next term.
In all, 93 delegates voted. As a principle in the constitution of the party, the sitting MP, who is an executive of member of the party, should also cast his vote, but in the case of Mr. Barimah it was not so.
It was explained that the executives of the Koforidua constituency branch of party had been dissolved and there was an interim management in place, and so the MP, being an executive member, was not allowed to cast his vote on this basis.
The Koforidua constituency primaries had been one of the most keenly contested in the country within the New Patriotic Party.
It attracted mostly MPs and national executives of the party and other observers across the country, as well as the rank and file of the party.