The decision of the newly-elected chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Paul Afoko, to relieve the party’s Director of Finance, Opare Hammond, of his post is not only leading to a power struggle in the party, but also fast dividing the party’s front, ahead of congress to elect a flagbearer.
Mr. Opare Hammond was last week Friday relieved of his post by a word of mouth. This development has rattled feathers within sections of the party, which have questioned the authority of the party’s Chairman and the General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, to carry out such a directive. According to Mr. Opare Hammond, he was called into a meeting with the party Chairman and the Secretary, only to be told that “they have come to the end of the road with me.” He said no reasons were given for his dismissal.
“No concrete reason has been assigned to me by them (Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong) why they called me into the office…to just tell me that they have come to the end of the road with me,” Mr. Hammond told Joy FM. The issue has since deepened the deep-seated Alan, Nana factionalism, which has long eaten into the fabric of NPP politics. Allegations are that the move by the General Secretary and the party Chairman, who already bear an Alan tag, is part of a grand scheme to undertake a ‘house cleaning exercise ‘ at the party’s head office.
According to Mr. Hammond, the move smacks in the face of promises made by the newly-elected executives to foster party unity after the congress. He has since served notice he is not leaving his position as directed by the party Chairman.
Many within the party have also argued that the party’s constitution does not empower the party Chairman and the General Secretary to carry out such a directive. They base their argument on Article 9F (ii) of NPP Constitution, which, they say, only gives the National Executive Committee (NEC) the power to sack and appoint any director of the party.
Article 9F(ii) of the party constitution states:
‘The National Secretariat shall consist of the General Secretary, the National Organiser, the Director of Finance, the Director of Communications, the Director of Campaign Strategy, and such other personnel as the National Executive Committee may appoint.’
But, sources close to the party’s top hierarchy say the executives have the powers to undertake such directives.
The source told The Chronicle that the executives make the proposals for the hiring or firing of any director of the party.
What the National Executive Committee does is to “ratify” the proposals of the executives, the source explained. A National Executive Committee meeting has thus been scheduled for Thursday, 5 June, 2014 to bring finality to the issue.
Over the past few weeks, groups have mushroomed within the NPP, fronting for the aspiring presidential candidates of the party, and further heightening tensions in the party. The groups – Crusaders of Nana Akufo-Addo (C.O.N.A.A), Get Alan Kyerematen Elected (GAKE), Get Alan Kyerematen Kicked Out (GAKO), and many others that emerge each passing day have resorted to accusations and counter-accusations, in a bid to get their preferred candidate to win the top post in the party.
Some political observers, however, say the party is heading for a third time defeat in the coming general elections if efforts are not made to ensure party unity. “I have never seen a leading party in opposition this much clueless on how to run their own affairs. They clearly are playing second fiddle to the PPP, which seems to be the party of the moment,” one political commentator said.