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17.08.2004 NPP News

Losing NPP Aspirant Cries for Ghana's Young Democracy

By Chronicle

Says one without money can't win primaries

The defeated National Patriotic Party's parliamentary aspirant for Tafo-Pankrono, Mr. Owusu Afriyie, has expressed the fear about the nation's young democracy running into jeopardy with the kind of system currently in place for election in parliamentary preliminaries.

He said the chances of one winning the preliminaries without pumping money into the system are very slim.

He said since bribery and not real democracy as well as patriotism taking the front role in the politics of the nation, the future of Ghana's democracy is in danger.

Mr. Afriyie was speaking in a telephone interview on a local radio in London.

Until July 2002, Sir John, as he is affectingly called, resided in the United Kingdom.

He left London to take an appointment as the head of Administration at the Ghana National Petroleum Company at Tema.

A staunch and dedicated member of the NPP he resigned his enviable and prestigious position having in mind to support his party parliament. Mr. Afriyie was defeated at the preliminaries for the newly created parliamentary seat at Tafo-Pankrono in Kumasi.

He lost 24 -32 to the deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Akoto Osei.

He said money monetary gains have completely taken over the right needed spirit of patriotism and democracy.

Mr. Afriyie observed that most of the contestants have spent huge sums of money running into several hundreds of millions of cedis just to provide them with the ticket to contest for the seats with their opponents from other political parties.

He said it is no longer a secret that members of the electoral colleges demand colossal sums of money from the aspirant yet some of them unfaithfully refuse to vote for them.

Others, he alleged, were influenced by the aspirants with huge sums of monies.

Asked how much money used to influence, or he spent on his campaign, Sir John refused to comment but was quick to say that 'you have to pay their taxi fares and give them something for refreshment any time they come to you'.

He condemned the system of allowing a privilege few to form an electoral college at the constituency level and said it does not depict a true representation of the people.

He cited an instant where one of the units at a meeting agreed to vote for him but the chairman who represented them camped with his opponent.

He stressed the need for a broader and bigger electoral college, which would not only depict a fair representation of the people but also be very difficult to influence all of them with money.

It would also whip up the urge of members to register to enable the party gain more money. He explained that every one would want to vote to get his man to represent the party in the various constituencies.

'For now, it remains the only system that we use, if good or bad but it is not perfect. I am not saying this because I lost' he said.

Mr. Afriyie pledged his support for the conqueror and said together they would fight and win the seat for the NPP.

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