NPP Parliamentary Primaries And Matters Arising
Political party is an entity that thrives on grassroots participation of every single person that believes in ideals it stands for. Sometimes there are others who might not necessarily be attracted by ideological considerations but rather attraction the organization portrays through policies, programmes and conduct of decision-makers.
I have come into contact with ordinary people who tell me they are attracted to the NPP because they find the party’s colour appealing. Others are attracted by just the demeanor of the man Nana Addo, and this was on display during the 2016 electioneering campaign where I had the rare privilege to be a member of Nana Addo’s campaign team as an Aide.
I remember an incident where upon arrival at Tarkwa at 2am and in a heaving downpour, a young girl approached us, burst into uncontrollable crying and said: “I have completed JSS for two years now but I am still at home because my parents do not have money to pay for my SHS education so I am praying for Nana Addo to win so he will actualize FREE SHS for some of us to continue our education”.
For such a person, how internal structures of NPP are managed definitely don not mean anything to her. Her motivation for being attached to the party is a policy alternative propounded by then flagbearer; and like I have stated already, there are other millions of ordinary Ghanaians who might not be officially associated with the party but are attracted by policies and image it projects.
I have always reminded appointees of the Nana Addo administration and officials of the NPP about what he told us, (the national communication team) at the party national headquarters when the verdict of 2008 did not go in our favor, thus “FOR THE GOOD PEOPLE OF GHANA TO REAP THE BENEFITS OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE, THE NPP, WITH ITS ROOTS IN THE DANQUAH-BUSIA-DOMBO TRADITION MUST GOVERN FOR A PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN 20YEARS, CONSECUTIVELY”.
That opportunity, once again, eluded us in 2012 but with determination and resilience, the good people of Ghana bought into our message, spearheaded by amazing display of energy in campaigning by then flagbearer Nana Addo, and gave us the privilege to serve them. And I deliberately chose the word “PRIVILEGE” to stress home the fact that political power belongs to the governed and therefore can be taken away at any point in time.
The sure-bet to maintain power is doing what is in the interests of the people, and what those in authority think they can force down the throats of the governed. It therefore stands to reason that, to ensure NPP stayed in power for the next 16years and beyond in order to actualize the dream Nana Addo told us about in 2008, we must do things in ways that will engender trust, built hope, consolidate credibility and enhance the image of the NPP.
Now, in 2008, the NPP was in power and processes leading to selection of parliamentary candidates for the 2012 elections were characterized with misunderstandings with resultant effect of others going independent. Indeed, we had instances where some individuals the party wanted to protect out of good intensions, resulted in others being dissatisfied, going independent and actually winning.
In the end, it had a rippling effect on our ultimate electoral fortunes as a result of voter-apathy. The ndc suffered a similar fate during processes towards 2016, and they were trounced.
I have had the occasion to run a bit of commentary on processes leading to our ongoing parliamentary primaries when issues of alleged denial of nomination form to some prospective aspirants in some constituencies. We heard reports of constituency executives responsible for issuing nomination forms either going into hiding or the forms running out.
Indeed, one can be spared for going into hiding at any point in time, since we are enjoying freedom of movements as guaranteed under the 1992 constitution. However, nominations forms cannot be said to have run out, when the quantity supplied to a given constituency actually outstrips the number of those that have picked them. And this is where I had serious issues with managers of the process.
For example; if 10 nomination forms have been sent to a constituency and 7 aspirants have gone to pick, what was the point coming out with a directive to others being told the forms had ran out at the constituency, to go to regional and ultimately national to secure a form, instead of calling the constituency executives to order?
Is it not when the numbers of prospective aspirants at a given constituency actually outstrip the quantity of forms supplied, that, others can be asked to go to regional or national? And even if there is more demand at a given constituency, couldn’t official request be made to national or regional for extra in other to spare prospective aspirants the hustle? The submission was characterized by its own peculiar shenanigan encumbrances.
The vetting has not also gone without uproar: Dr. Lawyer Addison was in the spotlight, generating a lot of contesting intra-party inferno. From what I hear, he was disqualified on the grounds of not knowing every single polling station in the constituency he intended to represent in the august house. He was also said not to have “natured the constituency and not known by the constituents”.
Now, my problem with these reasons for which Lawyer Addison was disqualified is simple: for an individual to qualify to contest primaries of NPP, he/she must;
1. Paid-up registered member
2. Be registered in the constituency for not less than 2years
3. A citizen of Ghana
4. No criminal record
5. Sound mind
Absolutely nowhere in rules/regulations governing the process, is it stated that one must know, off-the-cuff, every single location of polling station in a given constituency, as a pre-requisite for contesting the primaries. But if we are to insist on this requirement, then, it stands to reason that a regional officer is to have at his/her finger-tips, the number and location of every single polling station within the region; and this can be stretched to national officers.
Theoretically, an individual perceived to be completely alien to a constituency will not be voted for by the constituents and therefore the decision must always be left to the local people in order to avoid all the uproar. But practically, someone perceived to be alien in a constituency can still be voted for by the constituents for varied reasons.
I am therefore of the belief that when an individual is not known in a constituency but qualifies to contest per the laid-down requirements, he/she must be allowed to contest and the decision regarding his/her fate left in the bosom of the constituents.
OUR AGENDA OF MAKING GHANA A BETTER PLACE GOES BEYOND 7TH DECEMBER, 2020; and that is why our time and energies must be expended on acts that generate PEACE, UNITY AND TRANQUILITY rather than needless intra-party brouhaha.
INDEED, THE ALTERNATIVE IS AN EYE-SOUR BUT LET US NOT MAKE WHAT WE HAVE UNATTRACTIVE. God bless our homeland Ghana.
Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei
Email: [email protected]
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