The New Patriotic Party (NPP), has ceased to be a dreaded cult with highly guarded top secrets on its members. It is now like a compound house, where two rivals married to the same man, openly trade insults and drop secrets to capture the husband’s attention.
Vetting of aspirants, interested in various positions in the NPP’s upcoming Congress to select National Executives has led to some damning disclosures about two of the contestants; Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and Paul Afoko, who are both vying for the National Chairman slot, together with Fred Oware and Stephen Ntim.
While, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, has been revealed as someone who had embezzled the party’s cash, Mr. Afoko has also been tagged with a more serious claim of being an ex-convict, because he served separate jail terms, both in Ghana and the United Kingdom (UK).
Interestingly, while Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, has been given the green light by the Vetting Committee; Mr. Afoko, who coincidentally was involved in an accident over the weekend, is scheduled to make another appearance before the Committee, which is investigating details surrounding his time in jail in
the UK, to allow him become the party’s National Chairman, if elected at Tamale in April.
Meanwhile, the composition of the Vetting Committee, as well as its work has angered some party members, including one of its founding fathers, Dr. Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe, who has revealed that Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey is under investigation for embezzling party funds and logistics for election 2012.
Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe, questioned the composition of the party’s National Vetting Committee and suggested that they (the members) lack experienced and in-depth knowledge of the party affairs, beside it was 85 per cent Akan.
The Vetting Committee is chaired by Mr C. K. Tedem, with Rev. Dr Asante Antwi, Dr. Adjei Bawuah, Brig Gen Joseph Odei (rtd) and Mr. Kwabena Sarpong as members. Others are: Madam Cecelia Dapaah, Mrs Catherine Afeku, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo and Mr. Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah as Secretary to the committee.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic last week, he described the composition of the current members of the Vetting Committee as worrying.
“You come out with a composition of members of a Vetting Committee, such that when the results are out, it will be acceptable by all because it is deemed to be a fair and balanced committee,” Dr Nyaho Tamakloe pointed out to the Daily Graphic.
He questioned; “The incumbent Chairman of the party, Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, is still under investigation of having embezzled party funds and logistics for election 2012; what is the outcome of that investigation?”
In his view, the party had senior people who were well-versed in party matters and had the requisite expertise to handle the party at this crucial stage.
He mentioned names such as Odoi Sykes, Sammy Okudzeto, Roland Alhassan, Gladys Asmah, Appiah Menkah, ex-President J.A. Kufuor, Kwame Pianim, Donkor Fordjour and Cecelia Bannerman and asked “how can there be a national Vetting Committee without these experienced personalities?”
“What is happening now in our party? The way affairs are being handled leaves much to be desired. If care is not taken they will destroy the party before our very own eyes,’ he declared.
According to Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe, “in every political organisation, there are senior people,” but “for sometime now, many of the senior members of the party have been sidelined for their selfish interest and the few who want to participate in the affairs of the party are being attacked anytime they want to contribute”.
He argued that the party had the tradition of generational handover based on merit but “party leadership struggle was affecting the well-being of the party.”
“What is going on at the moment is very disturbing and worrying and must be handled very very carefully,” Dr Nyaho Tamakloe concluded.
Interestingly, a group calling itself NPP Youth for Paul Afoko, has issued a stern warning to the Vetting Committee not to derail the chances of their candidate from becoming the National Chairman.
According to the group, a petition from an unknown source asking the committee to disqualify Mr. Afoko, because he is an ex- convict is “defective in logic”.
The NPP Youth for Afoko urged the committee to treat the petition with the contempt it deserves and give Paul Afoko the chance to lead the party to victory in 2016 general elections.
Five persons – Fred Kwaku Amankwa Sarfo (Vice Chairman), Philomena Serwaa Akoto Sam (Vice Chairperson), Hajia Fati Amadu (Vice Chairperson), Kamal-deen Abdullai (National Nasara Coordinator) and Charles Adu Gyamfi (National Youth Organizer), were last Thursday declared unqualified to contest their respective national positions in the party.
The aspirants, according to the Vetting Committee were disqualified from vying for positions in the NPP, because they were ignorant about the party.
According to a statement issued on Saturday by the party’s National Election Vetting Committee, the “persons were not successful due to their inability to exhibit enough knowledge of the party which high office they are seeking to occupy”.
“They may appeal to the National Election Appeals Committee latest by 4pm on Monday 17th February 2014 if they wish to do so.
“The vetting of Mr. Paul Afoko, contestant for the position of National Chairman has been put on hold until further Notice. Therefore balloting by contestants for the National Chairman Position, also remains on hold until further Notice,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, one of the disqualified aspirants, Fred Amankwa Sarfo, has indicated his resolve to challenge the decision that bar him from running for the position simply because, “I don’t know the National Council of Elders” of the NPP.
Mr. Amankwa Sarfo, believes he has what it takes to occupy the vice-chairman slot and help bring back the party to power in the next elections.
“What we are going to do in 2016 is critical; we need somebody with the core competencies to help us win elections which I think I have…I will not let things go,” he vowed.