The New Patriotic Party (NPP), has slammed one of the aspiring Chairmen of the party, calling him a liar and further accused him of breaking rules governing the party’s vetting process.
According to the party, claims by ex-Presidential Staffer, Paul Afoko that the NPP was seeking to prevent him from contesting the chairmanship slot at the National Delegate Conference in Tamale, as a result of his attempt to stage a coup D’état, was untrue.
Party insiders, have revealed that Mr. Afoko, during vetting was rather questioned on reports that he had used narcotic drugs, which led him into spending years in a drug rehabilitation centre in the United Kingdom (UK).
At the vetting last week, Mr. Afoko was confronted with the allegations and asked by the Committee to provide details of his address, while in London.
The Herald is informed that the NPP operatives, were searching through places to confirm the veracity or otherwise of the drug use to confront Mr. Afoko.
Meanwhile, the NPP Director of Communications, Perry Okudzeto has said that comments by Paul Afoko shortly after his vetting, were unacceptable and indiscreet.
“The issues that he has raised in the public domain about a prison sentence in Ghana were not the issues that were put to him at the vetting,” Okudzeto stated on Joy News.
“The ranting in the media and the disclosing [of] confidential information at a vetting is against the rules”, Okudzeto intimated.
“Let us all and let those, who seek to lead our party conduct themselves in a way that continues to breed that unity and cohesion in our party.
Paul Afoko’s candidature, still hangs in the balance, as the Vetting Committee looks into a petition brought against him.
He was one of 44 candidates vetted by the party last week.
The aspiring Chairman expressed disappointment with the Vetting Committee accusing members of the Committee of springing a surprise on him.
His supporters, have been vehement in their criticisms, with some threatening members of the Vetting Committee.
The NPP Director of Communications said, the comments by Afoko and his supporters were unacceptable.
But the supporters of Afoko are adamant. At a press conference in the Upper East on Monday, some supporters of the aspiring Chairman, accused the committee of being unfair and biased against their candidate.
They claim, the Committee Members are employing tactics to deny their “innocent aspirant” his right to contest.
Paul Afoko is one of four aspirants, namely; Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Fred Owari and Stephen Ntim- vying for the NPP’s top job in a National Delegates’ conference scheduled for April 12 in Tamale.
A group calling itself NPP Youth for Paul Afoko, last week issued a stern warning to the party’s election committee not to derail the chances of their candidate from becoming the National Chairman.
According to the group, a petition 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 Mr. Afoko the chance to lead the party to victory in 2016 general elections.
The attention of NPP Youth for Afoko, has been drawn to a publication by the New Crusading Guide, dated February 11, 2014 of a petition against the outstanding Paul Afoko, the incoming NPP national chairman.
This petition is defective in logic, conceived of cheap opportunism and enveloped in convenience. It further strips bear the desperation of its designers and their deep rooted ignorance on both the 1992 Constitution and that of the party.
The petition holds that Paul Afoko should not be recommended as a candidate for the chairmanship, because he was detained in Usher Fort prison for inciting people to resist the 1982 coup which overthrew a Constitutionally mandated government.
This certainly cannot be a brainchild of objective petitioners, more so, when the Constitution is unambiguous in article 3(4) and five of the 1992 constitution:
Article 3(4): All citizens of Ghana shall have the right and duty at all times – (a) To defend this Constitution, and in particular, to resist any prison or group of persons seeking to commit any of the acts referred to in clause (3) of this article;
(b) To do all in their power to restore this Constitution after it has been suspended, overthrown, or abrogated as referred to in clause (3) of this article.
Article 3(5): Any person who suppresses or resists the suspension, overthrow or abrogation of this Constitution as referred to in clause (3) of this article, commit no offence..
It is critical that we do not at this crucial moment in our struggle towards regaining power, fan the age long NDC propaganda that portends that the NPP is an “Akan based party”, it said.
Afoko simply resisted the overthrow of a regime and the suspension of the Constitution in adherence to our governing document. So, he is in the eye of the law a hero and not a villain. So if we won’t celebrate him for that, we cannot scold him.
Paul Afoko, has earned his position in the party by merit and attempting to cut-short his dream of chairing this great tradition on unmeritorious grounds frustrates the effort of millions of northerners in the party and whispers to them how insecure their future is in the party.
Clearly this the last straw-clutching attempt of his detractors to get him off the race after failing to match his vision in his detailed roadmap to recapturing power in 2016 dubbed “New Plan for Power”.
“We (YOFA) will humbly appeal to the vetting committee to disregard such flimsy intangibles in the vetting process and in as much as possible provide a level playing field for all the contestants so that the eventual victor will reflect the collective choice of our discerning electoral college”.
Another group, called Dombo Advocacy Forum on Monday, also issued a warning condemning “in no uncertain terms the publication carried in the 11 February edition of the New Crusading Guide newspaper by certain elements calling for the disqualification of Mr. Paul Afoko to contest for the NPP National chairmanship”.
“The said publication sort to allude to the fact that Mr. Paul Afoko broke jail in Ghana during the 1983 coup D’état by military officers including, Corporal Alidu Giwa and on that basis must not be allowed to contest.
The petition further alleged that Mr. Paul Afoko was tried and convicted in the UK on drug related offences. The allegations made in the petition lack foundation, are without merit, and designed to throw dust in the eyes of well-meaning party faithful and seek to engender disaffection for Mr. Afoko. In fact, Mr. Paul must rather be commended for attempting to stop the overthrow of a Constitutional elected Government”.
The Dombo Advocacy Forum, appealed to the Vetting Committee to treat this with the contempt it deserves and ensure due process is followed.
They called for equity and fair play during this vetting process. The NPP must not countenance any such frivolous and malicious allegations against his person.
As Dombo Advocacy Forum, we believe that the NPP at this stage needs very courageous leaders to win for us the 2016 general elections and Mr. Paul Afoko represents such a moving force currently.
We hope this is yet not another tactics and attempt to prevent a Northerner to assume the highest position in the leadership of the party.
It was signed by Amos Abu Mohammed, Prince Aminu Saana and Alhassan Sulemana, Chairman, Press & Publicity Secretary Operations and Director, respectively.
Former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute (DI), who was accused of masterminding a petition which sought to disqualify aspiring NPP chairman, Mr. Afoko has dared critics to come out with evidence to prove he is the originator.
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko on Neat 100.9 FM, affirmed that he does not benefit or lose anything if Mr. Afoko, becomes the party’s chair and therefore has no motive to sabotage him.
The Director of Elections for the NPP, Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah, told the media that a decision was taken to suspend Paul Afoko’s vetting after the party received a petition against his candidature.
“Some five people have been asked not to go…I am unable to name those who were not successful,” Mr. Adjei Mensah Korsah said.
He also revealed that the balloting could not come off “because of circumstances beyond our control”.
However, “the unsuccessful aspirants have the right to file an appeal on Monday February 17, latest 4pm” but vetting for Paul Afoko will continue next week.
Meanwhile, a staunch member of the NPP, has accused Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko of sending the petition and further stated that it is part of a grand scheme by certain individuals to consolidate their hold on the party.
According to Barima Sarpong; “I am reliably and doubly informed that the one who brought the petition, whose identity they (vetting Committee) are covering up is Gabby Asare Okyere-Darko. I know that it is Gabby who brought that petition, but if he thinks he can divide the NPP, the youth of the party will not allow him”.
“…truth has nothing to do with law. You may be a lawyer but that does not mean no one else can say what he believes is the truth. He sent that message to Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah (the Head of the Election Committee) and copied to Bryan Acheampong’s (Special aide to Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey) e-mail. I have told you. You are a Journalist you can go and find out”.
But Lawyer Asare Otchere-Darko could not understand why he has been linked to the petition because he has no interest in what is going on in the party now.
“…How does it benefit me if Afoko is disqualified…? Am I a delegate…? And why me…? Why would they think of nobody but me?” he quizzed.
He continued by expressing his disgust at the allegation by posting on his facebook wall, “So the NPP accepts petitions of allegations without supporting evidence from faceless strangers about their own leading members? Only for an innocent person sitting his somewhere to be publicly and falsely accused of being behind such rubbish? Sickening! Just sickening…”