NPP IN MAKE OR BREAK MEETING
The argument for and against the proposal for early congress to elect a flagbearer for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the 2016 Presidential election before deciding on its national executives, would come under scrutiny when the National Executives Committee (NEC) of the party meet today to consider the policy direction for the elephant family for the next four years.
Also on the agenda for consideration is the proposal for the retention of the party’s sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) for the 2016 Parliamentary elections, as well as a proposal for the way forward, with regards to reducing the cost of internal elections.
The meeting, which starts at GMT 9:00 is expected to travel deep into the day, due to the nature of the task in the hands of the NEC.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, according to his spokesperson, Frank Agyekum, who spoke to The Chronicle yesterday ‘is likely to be part of the meeting’ that would also see some party bigwigs like Haruna Esseku, former National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, National Chairman and Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, National Secretary attending.
Efforts to get Perry Okudzeto, the director of Communication for the party to comment on today’s meeting drew blunt. Though he confirmed that the meeting would come off, he refused to give details, saying ‘a NEC meeting is confidential and I can’t discuss that with the media.’
During the party’s recently held nationwide ‘Thank You Tour’ after the Supreme Court ruling on the Election Petition, the various constituency and regional executives were tasked to submit ideas, proposals and observations on the party, its organizational structure and campaign among others, that would help the party capture power from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2016.
The executives were given two weeks to submit such proposals to their various regional offices for onward transmission to the National Head Office of the elephant family.
According to the Busia-Danquah-Dombo family, ‘these submissions would ensure that the party is able to put up the best strategy for each polling station and constituency.
Since losing the election petition case, several proposals have cropped up from the corridors of the elephant family, with some party bigwigs opting for a special congress to elect a flagbearer before deciding on the national, regional, constituency and ward executives.
Others too, including the National Organizer of the party, Alhaji Muhtar Bamba and Paul Afoko, member of the National Council, have opted for the status quo – the election of ward, constituency, regional and national executives, before conducting the congress to elect the presidential candidate.
Their argument has always been based on Chapter 12, Clause 1 of the NPP constitution, which reads: 1. The election of the Party’s Presidential Candidate shall be held not later than twenty-four (24) months from the date of the national election. The date and venue for the election shall be decided by the National Council, provided, however, that the National Council may, on appropriate occasion, vary the date.
But proponents for early election of a flagbearer also maintained that changing the status quo was not tantamount to breaching the aforementioned constitutional provision of the party. To them, such a decision was the best since it would help do away with factionalism and disagreement in the party as it prepare for elections 2016.
After failing in its second attempt to wrestle power from the NDC, division within the center-right Busia-Danquah-Dombo family have deepened, as a result of conflict arising out of who should lead the party in the 2016 elections.
It remains to be seen where the minds of the NEC would go since the consideration of the proposal for or against the early election for a flagbearer before other executives is a make or break for the party.
The proposal for minimizing cost of the party’s internal elections, The Chronicle learned, would also be heatedly debated. Available information from sources within the party suggests that the elephant family spends between GH¢30million to GH¢40million on its internal elections, including those from the ward, through the Presidential Candidate levels.
Such money, according to some party fateful, was too much and the early it was pruned down the better, since it leaves the party empty handed in the face of the main battle.
The retention of the party’s sitting MPs is also expected to generate heated debate during the meeting since some party bigwigs see that proposal as slap in the face of democratic principles of which the elephant family prides itself with.
The proposal for such a decision is not new to the party. In the run-up to election 2008, certain regions, including the Western and Ashanti Regions, set up a committee to consider the retention of the party’s sitting MPs.
Such a proposal was borne out of the fact that the fortunes of the party were heavily affected in 2004 when some defeated candidates stood as independent candidates.
It is, however, not clear whether the NEC would deliberate on the call for a forensic audit into the accounts of the party, especially, funds released for the 2012 campaign by a pressure group calling itself Patriotic Future of the NPP.
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