All is set for the National Delegates’ Congress of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), as the necessary structures have been put in place in line with the party’s constitution.
However, some disgruntled supporters of the opposition NPP yesterday besieged the party’s Asylum Down headquarters protesting against the provision made for ‘proxy votes’ in the upcoming congress.
This was ahead of a scheduled National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to plan for next week’s congress which comes off on Saturday, April, 12, 2014 at the Tamale Sports Stadium.
The NEC meeting rose with the acceptance of proxy votes as part of the electoral process as contained in the party’s constitution, setting the stage for the Tamale event with 44 contestants vying for various positions.
Some aggrieved supporters had filed petitions against the use of proxy votes, fearing that it was an avenue to swell some candidates’ votes.
At 11:00 am, angry party members, who from all indications, were supporters of some candidates had started arriving at the NPP headquarters amidst chants of ‘no proxy voting’.
They were believed to be supporters of some aggrieved candidates who were protesting the decision to include delegates of the party’s external branches and those who for one reason or the other, could not make it to the congress grounds to vote themselves.
Apart from placards which bore inscriptions of their concerns, some of the disgruntled NPP members wielded campaign posters of certain candidates they perceived to be pushing for proxy voting, including those of Fred Oware, contesting for the National Chairmanship position; John Boadu, running for the position of National Organiser.
This nearly brought confusion since supporters of Fred Oware and John Boadu confronted the protesters over the use of their candidates’ posters without their knowledge and approval.
The two candidates had to come in to save the situation from degenerating into clashes as they collected the posters from the protesters.
Members of the NEC had then started filing in for the meeting which was taking place at the conference room at the headquarters with the 2012 NPP presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo attending.
For close to two hours, the protesters chanted songs trying in a bid to get some response from the leadership of the party, but that was not to be since no one came from the NEC meeting to address them.
Not even an attempt to court the attention of Nana Akufo-Addo could suffice since he was shielded away by his bodyguards for the meeting.
It took the intervention of former National Youth Organiser, Anthony Abayifa Karbo, to calm the protesters after explaining a few things to them.
At that point, the protesters had no option but to start filing out to their various destinations with long faces.
Sources at the meeting told DAILY GUIDE that no speeches from aspirants would be allowed at the congress since in their estimation, if all the 44 candidates were allowed to speak, not less than six hours would be allotted for that segment alone.
The party’s Election Committee is meeting the aspirants or their agents for the last time tomorrow to take on board their concerns.
In spite of the agitations, NEC was said to have agreed to allow proxy voting after the Election Committee had defended the provision as contained in the party’s constitution, quoting Regulation 23 of CI 75 to back their position.
Members of the committee were said to have justified their position with an explanation that the process of proxy voting had been improved.
Under the current provisions, ordinary members of the NPP would not be allowed to do proxy voting for others except the authorized assigns of certified delegates.
In all, 137 members of the foreign branches of the party, who are delegates, were said to have applied for proxy voting while 40 applied locally (Ghana), making a total of 177 proxy applications.
Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah, Director of Elections and Secretary to the committee, confirmed that the party followed standard practice in ensuring that the proxy process was followed though.
Sources at the party headquarters told Daily Guide the applications for proxy were yet to be vetted and approved before being allowed to go through the voting process on congress day.
One thousand and two hundred police and 100 military officers have been deployed to provide security at the congress.
This security arrangement, according to Mr. Adjei-Mensah Korsah, was to ensure order and success of the programme.
“Security of our members is of much importance to us and the police have given a firm commitment that security is under control,” he added.
Mr. Adjei-Mensah Korsah urged party members without accreditation not to come to the congress grounds.
The impending political exercise is to elect national executives to steer the affairs of the party in the next four years.
He noted that various committees put in place to handle accommodation, feeding, security and other issues, were fully prepared to discharge their duties judiciously.
Mr. Adjei-Mensah Korsah promised that the Election Committee would create an equal playing field to ensure free and fair elections.