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17.08.2004 NDC News

NDC mass defection saga

By Chronicle
NDC mass defection saga
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OBED ASAMOAH CHARGES ... Dares NPP to enter his territory THE MASS defection of the sympathizers and party officials that had rocked the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in favour of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), has provoked the NDC National Chairman, Dr. Obed Yaw Asamoah, to embark upon a litmus test of the defections to see how negatively it would affect the fortunes of the party in the forthcoming elections. Dr. Asamoah went to his hometown, Likpe in the Volta Region, where his party sympathizers were reported to have defected to the NPP, including constituency executives, to address rallies and engage in other programmes as means of testing the party's support base.

And for his findings, he told The Chronicle in an exclusive interview last Friday that the NPP had chosen a wrong battleground.

He dared the party not to step into his territory.

“They have chosen a wrong battle ground and more especially my constituency. I am more prepared than ever to meet that challenge. I will have them heavily whipped in the December elections in spite of these dramatic defections,” he charged.

“The NPP should rather go to the weaker areas but not my constituency,” he further said.

According to the veteran politician and a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, it was interesting that the NPP chose to make noise about defections, saying the NDC also baptized members of the NPP who felt disappointed with their party and cross- carpeted to the NDC without making any noise.

“The drama of defections does not reflect the feelings of the electorate. Some of the defectors do it for selfish interest. We don't make defections an organizational strategy as it is happening in the NPP. We have leant that it does not help. In 2000 we had more defectors but yet we lost. Again there are defections from the NPP to the NDC for various reasons and therefore it cancels each other,” he said.

He said he personally did not feel perturbed at all about these defections, adding the NDC knew of NPP officials who were dissatisfied with the performance of the party but “we don't make noise about it”.

“These defections cannot do any damage to the party at all. In the first place when I heard the news, it was necessary for me to go and test the ground. The youth organized a rally to test whether our support base was intact and whether it was shaken. I was surprised at the turn out. From all indications, it was clear that these defections couldn't do any damage at all.”

Dr. Asamoah said he witnessed spontaneous reactions from the party supporters to show their solidarity with the party.

Hazarding reasons for the defections, he said it could be his refusal to grant financial support to candidates who sought financial assistance from him.

“Some of the complaints were that they sought financial assistance from me and I refused. I don't want to be seen to support a candidate by granting them financial help. It was just inappropriate for me to do that. And as a result they got peeved,” he indicated.

Dr. Asamoah said he had steadfastly abstained from getting involved in the primaries and had remained neutral,

He said some of the defectors were only rationalizing their action to win sympathy from the NPP for their selfish interest which every one in the affected constituencies were aware of.

“It is being rumoured that the NPP is doing this to entice people with money but what it does is that, it earns disunity in their camp and causes disaffection for the party because it is said monies are paid to these defectors.”

He told The Chronicle: “I have a very long experience in politics. I can tell you that there is some element of opportunism in some people. People who want goodies have opportunity in government. The results of the elections will not depend on these defectors because we have similar situations in 2000 but we lost.

“Defections are not determining factors and the reasons are clear. The majority of electorate are not just opportunists. They will vote according to their conscience, taking the cost of living, cost of electricity, high school fees, fuel price hikes and others into consideration.”

Responding to assertions that he loses nothing if the NDC fails to win the elections, Dr. Asamoah said if the party failed to win he would have lost something.

It would not be in his interest for the party to lose under his chairmanship and he would not allow that, he said, adding, that was why he was putting a lot of effort into getting NDC well organized to win the elections.

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