'Rawlings' influence is getting too much'
Sections of supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Wenchi-West Constituency have threatened to vote 'Skirt and Blouse' if Prof. Evans Atta Mills did not change the Parliamentary candidate he had 'imposed' on them. The people hinted The Chronicle that, one Mr. Osei Kwadwo, a former MP for the area was their preferred parliamentary candidate, not Alhaji Benneh, who they said was imposed on them by Prof. Mills, Ex-President Rawlings and the regional party executives. They provided no evidence.
The distressed NDC supporters did not understand why the former President had taken over the responsibilities of controlling the affairs of the party from the Flagbearer, Prof. Mills. “It is nice for a party like NDC to have the presence of the founder of the party in our midst, but it is getting too much,” said the aggrieved members.
Speaking to The Chronicle after the party executives had endorsed Alhaji Alhassan Benneh, of the EGLE party as their parliamentary candidate, the Koase Zonal Chairman of the NDC, also the leader of the disgruntled members, Mr. Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah said the Brong Ahafo Regional and some Constituency Executives had deceived them by way of selecting Alhaji Benneh for them, instead of organizing a competitive and transparent primary between Alhaji Benneh and Mr. Osei Kwadwo to elect the choice candidate for the constituency.
The endorsement of Mr. Benneh as the people's candidate was characterized by heavy walkouts, confusion and misunderstanding among the executives, some of the delegates and the supporters.
The allegedly imposed candidate, Alhaji Benneh, also the General Secretary of the EGLE party, was chosen to contest on the ticket of the Grand Coalition and the NDC, but with EGLE's colours and symbols.
Before the inauguration of the Coalition, the paper was told that, the Wenchi West NDC members had nominated Mr. Osei Kwadwo as their choice to lead the party in the 2004 elections.
Mr. Owusu-Ansah explained that they were opposing the decision of Prof. Mills and the Executives, not because Alhaji Benneh was incompetent, but because he was a stranger to the NDC and they believed that the electorate, especially the less literate and the aged would definitely be confused with the colours and symbols of the EGLE party. This, according to him, might have enhanced the chances of the NDC's arch rival, NPP to capitalize on that mistake.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Secretary of the NDC, Mr.Mohammed Kwaku Doku said the EGLE party had been very submissive and accorded the party all the needed support and respect since 1992, therefore the only way the NDC could express their gratitude for their contributions to the party was to appoint a parliamentary candidate from the EGLE party.
Describing the NDC as a social party, Mr. Doku said anybody who had the party at heart and was prepared to serve the party and the country in the interest of all Ghanaians would be given the requisite position, hence Alhaji Benneh.
He noted that the only way the people in the Wenchi West Constituency could take over power from the NPP, was to support and rally behind the EGLE man and Prof. Mills.
The NDC regional Secretary, therefore, urged the party members to eschew any negative impressions and embark on house-to-house campaign to facilitate the victory of the Progressive Alliance in the December polls.
Alhaji Benneh, in an interview with the paper, emphasized that those supporters who walked out had shown a sign of ingratitude to him and the EGLE party because his party had voted for the NDC in 1992, 1996 and in 2000. He said there had been a number of times their members had contested on the NDC tickets, which nobody stood against. Alhaji Benneh urged the NDC supporters to know that if a mother or father gave birth to a child, he or she expected the child to grow, therefore, they should be grateful to see their own child who had grown up with intelligence and was capable of fighting the arch enemy of his father, the NPP.
The MP aspirant said there were nothing like illiterates anywhere in the parties and was of the view that the only thing needed for the party was to educate the electorates on the small changes in the colours.
Alhaji Benneh, who said he was not intimidated by the behavior of the rebellious group, assured that very soon, the people would be at the frontline of his campaign team, through dialogue.
He hinted The Chronicle that when voted into power, some of the major issues so dear to him, which he would solve immediately, were the chieftaincy disputes in the area, that according to him, had retarded the smooth development of Wenchi. Alhaji Benneh revealed that the Wenchi Township was totally divided into ethnic lines and it had disunited the people and prevented them from achieving a common goal.
Other important areas he mentioned were the areas of health, quality education, sanitation, agriculture, good road network and employments among others.
The NDC aspiring MP promised that, another major task ahead of him when voted was to build a substantial library in the Wenchi town to honour the former Head of State Dr. Abrefah Busia.