ANALYSIS - Teshie NPP Not Ready for Reconciliation?
On Wednesday September 8, 2004, the entire executives, elected parliamentary candidates, unfortunate contestants and other party activists of the Greater Accra Regional Branch of the NPP met at the residence of the Regional Chairman, Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey who is the Minister of Tourism and the MOTCC to reconcile and patch up with the aim of forging ahead as a united body with one purpose: to win this year's presidential and parliamentary elections for the NPP in the region.
Between September 17-19, 2004 at Kumasi, the NPP showcased what it meant to be united with, to win the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in the country.
This sense of purpose to stay united and in peace and harmony with each other seemed to be lost upon a section of the party activists in the Ledzokuku constituency in Teshie, Accra.
By Tuesday September 21, 2004, the Party was served with a writ to appear before court and explain why the Ledzokuku constituency primaries held on July 24, 2004 should not be set aside or even turned in favor of the losing contestant, the incumbent MP, Mr. Eddie Akita, the Minister of State of Fisheries.
With the case in court, the Regional Executives decided to hold a meeting of all members to patch up the party at the constituency level. Such a meeting, which was scheduled for 6:00 pm but took off at 6:30pm on Thursday September 23, 2004 at the Lascala Cinema Palace in Teshie, was convened at the instance of Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey and Mr. R.O. Solomon, the NPP Greater Accra Regional 1st Vice Chairman with the aim of uniting the party and making it possible for all to accept the outcome of the court's judgment so that in the end, the party would come out victorious.
As if the meeting was a recipe for disaster, the opponents of the parliamentary candidate, Dr. Gladys Norley Ashitey took control of the frontage and heckled anyone perceived to be anti-Akita. They swore and cursed all those on the stage in the hall, nor sparing even Jake, Solomon and Kwabena Fosuhene, the Constituency Chairman.
Dr. Gladys Ashitey's supporters dominated the hall and cheered her up when she was introduced by the Constituency Chairman who had earlier called for peace and unity in the party.
When it got to his turn to speak, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey reminded the party members that the party was supreme and everybody should consider the ultimate goal for the NPP and not personal selfish ends.
He added that he was ready to allow people to come forward and express their grievances so that collectively, the party in Teshie could forge ahead in unity.
In the middle of his speech, a missile was thrown at him but fortunately, the badly aimed piece of concrete block went off course, broke force as it hit the tongue of a cap worn by a party official, before slightly bruising his hand.
Hell broke loose as pro Akita supporters moved into the hall to rescue their colleague who had thrown the stone as he was apprehended and carried to the stage.
A gentleman later identified as Nana Gyan, one of the plaintiffs who took the EC, the NPP and others to court, came forward, swearing and cursing Jake and Fosuhene.
In the ensuing confusion, Jake decided to close the meeting after pleading for tempers to cool down.
Mr. Solomon told the house that it was because of the NPP and its success that the meeting was convened and reminded the members that the party's constitution allowed the regional executives to conduct the primaries, however due to neutrality, the Party permitted that the Electoral Commission (EC) be allowed to do that.
He concluded that the regional office could not dispute the results with all fairness and belief in the EC. Those who were not happy could take the EC to court and that was exactly what two of the members of the constituency had done.
Jake then announced that due to the fact that Mr. Akita was not present, it would be appropriate to adjourn the meeting to a later date, which would be possible for Akita to attend.
Despite the commotion, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey and the officers on the stage left the hall without any physical attacks.
Some party members praised Jake and Solomon for the calmness they exhibited in the face of verbal and physical attacks by the rowdy crowd.
It would be an understatement to say that the NPP in Teshie is now a sharply divided force and there was no way it could unite to face the elections in December, a member lamented.
Some claimed the absence of Akita was tactical since anytime he wanted his supporters to create commotion, he conveniently found some excuse not to attend meetings of that nature.
Others believed it was not necessary for Akita to be present since nothing good would come out of the meeting to enable fairness to come to play. "Akita was shortchanged. And the matter is in the court, so why a belated attempt at reconciliation?" they asked.
An independent school of thought believed that whatever the outcome of the court proceedings, the NPP would retain the seat. They recalled the confusion that tore the party apart in 2000 after the Constituency Executive Election, which saw the top four positions occupied by non -Gas. Petitions from the indigenes were served on the NPP National Executive Committee.There was a call for the nullification of the results or institution of co-chairmanship. It was intimated that the indigenes believed that the executives supported the candidature of Eddie Akita whom they did not prefer. In the end, however, sanity prevailed and the party whipped the NDC to second place during the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections.
Another school of thought, which chose to remain neutral, did not believe that history could repeat itself. Someone wants the NPP to give up the seat. The length of the court proceedings could decide whether the party could file to contest the seat in Ledzokuku. The timeliness of the writ of summons by the two members is important. By the middle of next month, the EC would receive applications and after that, no party or citizen could file to contest in the elections. When will the court sit and give judgment?
What if the judgment is against Dr. Ashitey and she decides to appeal, then what? Unless the two withdraw the law suit in the supreme interest of the party and repackage Akita for 2008, NPP should forget the Ledzokuku seat." These were some of the speculations.
Can the Elephants come out triumphant in this sticky situation in Teshie as they always do? Much counts on what will unfold in the days ahead.