The Member of Parliament for Asuogyaman, Mr Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, has said the ongoing squabbles between Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyerematen camps within the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is undermining party unity.
He has, therefore, urged the two camps to stop the squabbles over who is better suited to become the party’s flag bearer and rather concentrate on party unity.
He said instead of the bickering currently going on, supporters of both flag bearer aspirants needed to expend their energies on strengthening the grass-roots base of the NPP, adding that the 2016 elections could only be won if the party was strong at the local level.
Mr Osei-Ameyaw was speaking to some members of the Parliamentary Press Corps in Accra recently.
He noted that in the past few years, some level of self-centredness had crept into the party, while the spirit of selflessness on which the party was founded had ceased to exist.
The Asuogyaman MP said the 2012 election petition had revealed that a weak grass-roots base was responsible for the party’s defeat, adding that it was expected that after the revelations were made, all attention would be directed towards strengthening party structures and building capacity at the local level.
“We have no time to waste. Party members must stop the noise and get to work,” he said.
Mr Osei-Ameyaw considered some statements made by some supporters of both candidates which were carried by some media outfits as intimidatory and said some were even “veiled threats” which needed to be investigated and the perpetrators brought to book.
“The objective we have as a party is to sponsor a candidate to wrest political power so that we can come into power and implement the policies in our manifesto. So for anyone to come out to say that some people should be allowed to participate in the presidential primaries or would be prevented from contesting is tantamount to veiled threats,” he said.
“If these people are true NPP members, then we need to investigate and take action now to ensure that our ranks are not further divided,” he said.
Strengthening grass roots
Mr Osei-Ameyaw said he had, with his own resources, begun training party members at the local level in readiness for the 2016 elections and embarked on many programmes aimed at fostering party unity.
According to him, he has invested GH¢1 million in building the capacity of more than 130,000 polling station executives.
“This investment is part of my contribution towards the 2016 elections to also help direct the party’s attention to the need to train polling station executives,” he said.
Asked whether he was interested in contesting the flag-bearer position of the NPP and if the gesture was not intended to win him votes, Mr Osei-Ameyaw said: “ I have never said anywhere that I want to contest for presidency.”
“The decision will be made by those empowered to make that decision. If those who make the decision at any stage consider me fit for that position, endorse me, declare me their candidate and present me for election, I will oblige,” he said.
On Tuesday, May 27, 2014, a youth group within the NPP which claimed to represent the Greater Accra wing of the party called for the withdrawal of all flag bearer aspirants except Nana Akufo-Addo.
They said no party member should be allowed to contest the NPP 2012 flag-bearer.
The next day, Nana Akufo-Addo issued a press statement to distance himself from the group.
On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, another group calling itself Crusaders of Nana Akufo-Addo (CONNA) pledged to ensure that he garnered more than 90 per cent of the votes in the elections for the flag bearer position.
Another group has emerged within the party calling itself Get Alan Kyerematen Elected (GAKE).
These opposing groups have been attacking each other in the media.