A group calling itself the Concerned New Patriotic Party (NPP) members in the Upper East Region, has called on the Council of Elders of the party, to stop all forms of injustice within the party.
The group argued that if the intervention is not swift, some moves made in the party’s vetting, can have some damaging effects on unity and cohesion in the party which invariably can affect its chances of winning the 2016 elections.
The group made up of some of the Constituency Executives and the NPP Communication Team members, made the call at a Press Conference organized in Bolgatanga on Monday, and described the attitude of members of the current national vetting committee towards Mr Paul Afoko as bias, unfair and discriminatory.
Mr Afoko is contesting the National Chairmanship position of the party, but was disqualified by the vetting committee because the contestant had some questionable past records.
The spokesperson for the group, Mr Robert Atasige who is also the NPP second Vice Chairman for Chiana-Paga Constituency, indicated that the group wondered why the aspirant was told that a petition had been brought against him just as he appeared before the committee, instead of serving him earlier with a copy of the petition.
“How can an aspirant appearing before a vetting committee be told that a petition had been brought against him, just before the vetting process? Doesn’t natural justice require that a copy of a petition be made available to the person being petitioned against, ahead of the vetting process”? The group queried.
The Concerned group stressed that what gave them the strong indication that the vetting committee members were bias towards Mr Afoko emerged when they subjected him to injustice of the highest order, by denying him the right to both content and access of the said anonymous petition.
“The committee exhibited its bias and unfairness in the manner in which the so called petition against Mr. Paul Afoko was handled”, the group emphasized.
The group further alleged that the composition of the committee puts its integrity in doubt, as some of the members happened to be appointees and employees of the incumbent Chairman, and alleged that the composition of the vetting committee lacked the requisite regional balance to the extent that more than 85 per cent of the members appeared one-sided.
The concerned group noted that it was unfair to note that some incumbent members of the national executives who were currently being investigated for alleged misappropriation of funds had not had their vetting put on hold, but only a loyal and committed party member, Mr Afoko was being victimized.
“Almost every great leader of our great party has suffered one or the other form of political detention, especially during the dark days of our country’s political history and Mr Afoko is just one of them. He risked his life for the cause of Ghana’s democracy in 1982” the group stressed.
The group stated that it was an undeniable fact that without the distinguished efforts of Mr Paul Afoko, the campaign machinery of the NPP in the three northern regions would have suffered serious setbacks in the general elections of both 2008 and 2012.
The group said Mr Afoko’s personal financial support hugely outweighed that of the party’s entire support to the three Northern Regions during those elections, to which parliamentary candidates, Parliamentarians, Constituency Executives, former District Chief Executives and former Regional Ministers could testify.
The group stated that already, the party was being branded as an anti- Northern party, and Mr Afoko had been leading the battle against this negative perception by working tirelessly to advance the fortunes of the party in the north and indicated that the savage attempt by some parochially-minded elements within the party would only be an endorsement of that false perception that a northerner would never be given the opportunity to lead the party as its Chairman.
“Let us not forget that the trickling effect of such naked expressions of unfairness and discrimination against the north can be very devastating when it comes to elections, as every single vote counts. “, they stressed.
The group called on the rank and file of the party to rise up and join hands to fight against all forms of injustices in the party so as to save it from losing again in the 2016 general election.