General News of Saturday, 16 December 2017
All is set for the extraordinary delegates’ conference of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Kumasi tomorrow.
The event is slated for the Heroes Park, which is behind the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.
The conference is to consider some proposals for the amendment of the ruling party’s constitution – key among which is the proposal to exclude members with dual citizenship status from holding elective party offices.
Over 5,000 delegates, including founding members and patrons of the party, MPs on its ticket, metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives and national officers, are expected at the conference.
The party deferred the amendment of its constitution to the extraordinary national delegates’ conference when it held its Annual National Delegates’ Conference in Cape Coast in August.
Indications are that some members of the party have called for a review of the party’s Electoral College system to ensure that the same number of delegates who vote for the party’s national executives, also vote for the election of presidential candidate.
Some of the proposals are particularly generating heat among the Diaspora members of the party, who believe that the dual citizenship move is targeting them, calling it unconstitutional.
In a press statement issued by NPP-USA, ahead of tomorrow’s conference, the Diaspora-based members called the proposal “inconceivable” and an “albatross” and said the extraordinary confab had been “hijacked by hawks” within the party.
The proposal to exclude them is reportedly being pushed by the parliamentary caucus who say it is to harmonise the party’s constitution with the country’s 1992 Constitution, which Citizenship Act bars dual citizens from holding political office.
The group is worried, particularly since there is a move to amend Articles 94(2)(a) and 8(2) of the Constitution, as well as Section 16 of the Citizenship Act.
“We know the president is in support of an Amendment Bill proposed by Dr Kwaku Asare and his team. We have submitted same to the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Majority Leader, Attorney General and the minority in parliament.
“This Bill does not cost this country anything and we see no reason why it should be held for this long without passage,” the statement said.
“As a party that believes in equality of opportunities and equal citizenship, we believe we should be at the forefront of repealing this provision from the 1992 Constitution, not importing it into our Constitution,” NPP-USA claimed.
According to the Ashanti Regional NPP scribe, Sam Pyne, security arrangements had been made in order to ensure that the conference is incident-free.
The party has therefore warned its members to be of good behaviour during the conference tomorrow.
According to Mr Sam Pyne, security at the Heroes Park would be extremely tight during the entire duration of the event.
In this regard, any party member who would try to take the law into their hands might have issues with the law enforcement agents.
Sammi Awuku, National Youth Organizer of the NNPP, has entreated delegates from the 275 constituencies in the country that would be attending the programme to be of good behaviour to avert trouble.
According to him, the programme would be graced by dignitaries such as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and so definitely security would be beefed up.
“A programme which would be attended by the president and the vice president would definitely have a tight security so I am appealing to our members not to indulge in any lawless acts that would get them in trouble.
“It is an open secret that NPP members, all over the country and beyond, are law-abiding and democratic people so I am entreating them to replicate their usual positive behaviours during Sunday’s event,” he said on Peace FM yesterday.
Mr Awuku disclosed that accommodation had been provided for about 5,000 people to house the delegates who would converge on the Ashanti Region.
He stated that transportation and other incentives, which are crucially needed to help make the programme successful, had been provided by the party’s leadership, ahead of the event.
He also urged the members, especially those in the external branches, not to panic about recommendations that had been made by some party people, saying, “Those recommendations are not binding, for now.”
He explained that all those recommendations would be put before the National Delegates Conference – which is the highest decision-making body in the NPP – to either accept them or rejected them on Sunday.
Mr Awuku also disclosed that copies of recommendations that the party members had made had been documented and supplied to the delegates so that they could make informed choices.