NPP Votes Out Afoko
The second highest decision-making body of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Council (NC), yesterday upheld a decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party to suspend the National Chairman, Paul Awentami Afoko.
Mr Afoko was suspended indefinitely from his position following recommendations from the Disciplinary Committee for breach of the party's Constitution; and the First Vice Chairman, Freddie Blay, was asked to act in his stead.
But Afoko would not go without a fight, since he still claimed he was in charge, using surrogates to test the law over his suspension. The court threw out the case citing the locus of the applicants.
In spite of his intransigence, he later filed a petition to the National Council, which is the appellate body, against his suspension, since he considered the NEC decision as an act of illegality.
But when the issue came up for discussion and decision yesterday, Mr Afoko's petition failed to fly.
After several hours behind closed doors, the National Council of the NPP came out with a decision that Afoko be made to remain in suspension indefinitely.
Interestingly, what had been touted as an illegal meeting by the Second Vice Chairman, Sammy Crabbe, who had been hopping from one radio station to the other questioning the decision of NEC ahead of the meeting and describing it as a congregation of friends (apparently in reference to the flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo), was attended by all who mattered in the party, including former President John Agyekum Kufuor, General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and National Women's Organiser Otiko Afisa Djaba, who had not been attending meetings for some time.
Ironically, it was Kwabena Agyepong, who had initially insisted Mr Afoko was still Chairman of the party after the NEC decision, who reaffirmed the National Council's decision to the media.
At a hurriedly organised press briefing after the meeting, Mr Agyepong said 'the National Council of the New Patriotic Party met today to deliberate and consider the appeal submitted to it by Mr Paul Awentami Afoko against his indefinite suspension by the National Executive Committee of the party. At the end of today's deliberations, the National Council took a decision to reaffirm the decision of NEC to indefinitely suspend Mr Paul Awentami Afoko.'
The decision, he said, was by voting and that out of 77 members of the National Council who attended the meeting, only one was against Mr Afoko's suspension, with six abstaining from voting while the remaining 70 voted in favour of the suspension.
President Kufuor could not stay to vote since according to sources, he had to leave for another meeting with former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Checks by DAILY GUIDE established that those who abstained from voting included the party's flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong, MP for Subin Isaac Osei, Brong Ahafo Regional Secretary Alfred Anyeh and his colleague Volta Regional Secretary Joseph Hormenya, with the only dissenting voice against the NEC decision being Otiko Djaba.
With this decision of the NPP's National Council, Mr Afoko had exhausted the option of using the party's structures and procedure to overturn the suspension.
More to go!
The paper however picked signals that more loose cannons had been lined up to face the disciplinary procedure for not only questioning but discrediting the NEC's decision to suspend Mr Afoko.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu