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04.10.2004 NPP News

Ablekuma!: Dogfighting Over NPP Seat

By Chronicle
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A SUSPENDED New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary aspirant, who displayed his posters in Ablekuma South Constituency in the Greater Accra Region alongside those of Ms. Theresa Amerley Tagoe, says his suspension does not hold water.

Mr. Alex Bruce Appiah who described his suspension as 'bogus' stated that the Regional Chairman of the party, Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, had no mandate to suspend him, adding that if he should be suspended it should have been the prerogative of the disciplinary committee of the party.

"If anything at all, it should be the disciplinary committee who, after investigating the matter, may suspend me if they find merit in the allegations leveled against me," Appiah told The Chronicle in telephone interview.

He alleged that the chairman did it with the connivance of the constituency executives to reward the sitting MP who got elected at the primary.

When questioned about the blunder supposedly committed by Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, Mr. Bruce Appiah, said he had taken the party and the EC to the High Court to seek an injunction to restrain the EC from entertaining Ms. Tagoe as the contestant for the constituency, adding, "at the appointed time, I will come out with the facts."

The suspended aspiring NPP candidate stated that it was wrong for the party executives to refuse to solve the impasse that had engulfed the constituency amidst various reports and petitions.

"We had a problem in the area during the primary and the MP fraudulently organized the election without the officials of the party and the EC and declared herself as the winner. "Meanwhile everybody has equal opportunity to contest and I believe that every rational being would call the two of us to resolve the problem. This is very bad," he said.

On the issue of assault on the regional women's organizer, Mr. Appiah denied any involvement saying, "This was an orchestrated attempt to frame me. If I have assaulted the organizer, the matter should be reported to the police for them to apprehend me. This is a defamation of character and I will take legal action against the constituency chairman and the secretary," he said.

The Chronicle can report that the side-by-side pasting of posters of the two NPP parliamentary contestants has created tension between the supporters of the two camps.

Currently, Ablekuma South Constituency is spotting the posters of Ms. Tagoe, the incumbent MP and Deputy Minister of Lands and Forestry and Mr. Bruce Appiah, a businessman and a former assemblyman for Mansralo Electoral Area.

Reports available indicated that it would not augur well for the party if efforts were not made to resolve the impasse that followed the controversial primary.

Just before the constituency primary, the national vetting committee of the party disqualified one of the contestants, Mr. Charles Biney, who has since declared his intention to contest the seat as an Independent candidate.

In the midst of the trouble, supporters of Mr. Bruce Appiah who has put up his candidature for December election on the ticket of NPP claimed that there was an orchestrated attempt by the party hierarchy not to allow free and fair elections.

Meanwhile a survey by this reporter indicates that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is just waiting to sweep the protest votes of the aggrieved NPP supporters who thought that NPP executives were not being fair to them.

"Let them fight over who is to lead them. As I speak with you now, one of the NPP contestants who was disqualified, is contesting as an independent candidate and he is actually going to reduce some of the votes and with the new trend, the NPP will receive the shock of their lives this time round," one NDC supporter said.

NPP supporters also stated that though there was trouble, there was no way that the NDC would unseat the NPP in the constituency.

Before the suspension of Mr. Appiah, Mr. Daniel Kweku Botwe, the general secretary of the NPP told this paper that, the posters were shown to him and he would consult the constituency executives about what was going on before a decision would be taken.

He said as far as the party was concerned, the official candidate for the constituency was Ms. Tagoe.

"The official candidate for the party is Hon. Theresa Tagoe. Mr. Bruce Appiah brought a petition to the party and we looked into it and therefore I see no reason, why he should use the party symbols for his posters."

Ms. Tagoe also confirmed the story and said she had presented copies of the posters to the party hierarchy, adding that the party would soon take a decision on the matter.