The founder of the Democratic People's Party (DPP), Mr T. N. Ward-Brew, was, at the weekend, elected by popular acclamation as the National Chairman and presidential aspirant of the party for the December polls.
At a national delegates congress at the Arts Centre in Accra, which attracted 200 delegates from all the 10 regions of the country and some party supporters the delegates also acclaimed nine other national executive officers to man the affairs of the party for the next four years.
The other executive members include Vice-Chairman, Dr D. B.Yankey, General Secretary, Mr G. M. Tettey, Deputy General Secretary, Mr Mohammed Salisu, and National Treasurer, Francis Poku.The congress also attracted representatives from the Nigerian High Commission, the Togolese Embassy, the Great Consolidated People's Party (GCPP) and the Every Accountable Ghanaian Living Every Where (EGLE) Party.
Forty parliamentary aspirants were also introduced to the well-attended congress, which saw bus loads of people arriving, even after the programme had ended around 2.05 p.m.Welcoming the people to the congress, Mr Ward-Brew, recounted the chequered history of the party, involving what he termed as “attempts by some people to hijack and manipulate” it for their parochial interest.”
He noted that since its inception in 1992, its detractors, who pretended to have the welfare of the party at heart had made subtle attempts to ensure that the DPP did not field both parliamentary and presidential candidates in almost all the elections for fear of the party drawing their supporters to its side.
He said the members of the party who wanted to stand as parliamentary candidates during the 1996 and 2000 elections were coaxed with money to stand down, while others who insisted were threatened.He said numerous dubious legal battles and manipulation of some institutions were also employed to stifle the growth of the party.
Mr Ward Brew alleged that all these were done in the name of forming alliance with the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which in the long run sought to submerge the party. According to him, with the assumption of office of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration, the party was “breathing the air of freedom and was undertaking all its activities without fear or intimidation.”
The presidential aspirant stated that this freedom made the party to participate in almost all the by-elections which he said had strengthened the resolve of the party to participate in the December polls to win a lot of parliamentary seats.
After his acclamation, Mr Ward-Brew commended the delegates for the confidence reposed in him, and said the aim of the party was to ensure that the NDC and the NPP did not plunge the country into chaos with their insatiable quest to rule the country.
He ruled out entering alliance with any political party, adding that with what the party had gone through with its relationship with “its big brother NDC, it has learnt that once bitten, twice shy.”Mr Ward-Brew advised Ghanaians to be steadfast and ensure that the two leading parties did not destabilise the country and stated that “we have reached a stage in our development when we should not allow the destiny of our country to be toyed with.“
He said lessons learnt in the by-elections showed that the NDC was losing to the DPP while the NPP members were also sympathetic to the DPP and stated that “should there be a re-run between the DPP and any party, the DPP would win the elections.”
Mr Ward-Brew described the increases in the registration fees for both the presidential and the parliamentary candidates from ¢500,000 to ¢20 million announced recently by the Electoral Commission (EC) as an attempt to sideline poor people from participating in running the affairs of the country and said that “ that not withstanding, the DPP will participate actively in the 2004 election in both the presidential and parliamentary.”
He also refuted allegations that it was the NPP which was funding the activities of the DPP, but when asked by reporters to name his source of funding, elated Mr Ward-Brew said “it was Jesus Christ who is funding our activities because he has the biggest bank in the whole universe.”
The much-awaited launch of the manifesto of the party could not take place because, according to Mr Tettey, as at the time of the congress, the printers of the manifesto had not finished their work.A minute silence was observed in honour of those who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorists attack in the USA.