Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, August 03, 2015
There appears to be confusion in some constituencies in the Greater Accra New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the election of their parliamentary candidates.
Some candidates from Klottey Korley and Okaikoi South were said to have boycotted the elections yesterday even though the processes were held amidst the protestations.
At Klottey Korley, Lawyer Philip Addison and another contender, Samuel Nii Adjei Tawiah, a former parliamentary candidate for the constituency, boycotted the process, citing ‘bad faith’ on the part of some national, regional and constituency executives, leaving the turf for Nii Noi Nortey, who had 393 votes out of almost 800 in the constituency.
Vicky Bright, a candidate at Okaikoi South, also withdrew from the race at the last minute, accusing some of the party’s executives of trying to ‘shepherd’ incumbent MP Ahmed Arthur to another victory in spite of her claims that the MP should be disqualified for forgery.
Addison described the election as a sham, pointing accusing fingers at Kwabena Agyepong, NPP General Secretary, for allegedly manipulating the process.
The Electoral Commission had refused to conduct the polls on Sunday, citing short notice, but DAILY GUIDE sources indicated that the NPP General Secretary went ahead to get the election done yesterday.
Ahead of the polls, there was confusion at the party headquarters, but Mr Agyepong was nowhere to be found when he was needed to resolve the crisis. It took police reinforcement to restore calm at the polling venue, with one person being arrested.
Mr Addison confirmed to DAILY GUIDE that he indeed boycotted the election held at the NPP National Head Office at Asylum Down, Accra, and added that he was aware Nii Adjei Tawiah also boycotted the exercise since they all agreed earlier that the election should be held on August 8 and not August 2, as was done through an executive fiat.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that a letter from General Secretary Kwabena Agyei Agyepong indicating the election be held on August 2, was what was used in spite of an earlier meeting reportedly held by the three candidates at the instance of Mr Agyepong where they agreed on August 8.
The election was originally fixed for July 13, but was put on hold due to a legal battle which sought to disqualify one candidate, Nii Noi Nortey, but the case was subsequently dismissed by an Accra Fast Track High Court last Thursday.
“We were summoned to a meeting at the Regional Office of the party last Friday by the Regional Secretary and we were made to understand that it was at the instance of the National General Secretary,” Mr Addison told DAILY GUIDE.
“I was there and my contender Adjei Tawiah was also there. Regional Secretary, Regional Vice Chair, Constituency Chairperson Juliana Aboagye, Elections Committee Chairman for the constituency, who also doubles as Chairman of the Council of Elders, and a member of the Elections Committee called Eunice Hammond were all at the meeting.”
Nii Noi’s Absence
He said “we waited for about an hour and Nii Noi did not show up. So the Regional Secretary suggested we postpone the meeting to Monday because Nii Noi was not there and others suggested we could go ahead and relay the information to him later. We all finally agreed on next Saturday (August 8) for the election.”
Mr Addison disclosed that “we also discussed the issue of accreditation and the venue which we said should be at the National Party Office.”
General Secretary’s Statement
He noted that “sometime in the evening on Friday, I heard the General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong had issued a statement saying that the election will come off on Sunday, August 2.
We had ended the meeting around 2pm on Friday. The final agreement I understand was communicated to him. We informed our delegates and everything that the election should be held August 8.
“I was surprised when the radio stations started calling in to ask me about the impending exercise. At least we should have been called back and told the election is set for August 2. When we have circulated that it won’t come on and some delegates have travelled and all, and also late Friday when everything is closed, how are we going to mobilise for an exercise for the weekend.”
He said that interestingly on the same Friday, they received a letter from the constituency election committee “outlining all that we discussed and saying there will be no elections on August 2.”
Mr Addison insisted that “all the elections committee officers are not part of the process going on now. Everything is being handled by the constituency chairperson and her vice who were in the same meeting with us. The constituency election committee is clearly not involved in the whole process.”
Nii Adjei Tawiah was particularly disappointed that General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong failed to show up during a meeting held to agree on an appropriate date; but Nii Noi Nortey has rubbished concerns by his opponents about the date for the conduct of the election.
Nii Noi’s Rebuttal
“I don’t see anything wrong with what the General Secretary said...because if you are an aspirant, from the very first time you picked a form to contest in this election, you knew the elections were coming off on June 13. That means you should be ready by June 13. Any other issue that dragged the election should not affect your campaign,” he told Joy FM.
“I was the one whose matters went out there. I was the one who six people filed petitions against and it has not affected my campaign in any way.”
In spite of the controversy, the results were later declared, with Nii Noi polling 393 votes to beat Mr Addison, who had 22 and Nii Adjei Tawiah with 19 votes.
About 800 delegates were expected to cast their ballots and the situation clearly showed there was voter apathy, as Addison was said to have told his supporters not to take part in the process. Even with that, he had 22 votes with no agent at the polls.
Vicky Bright on the other hand accused the incumbent MP for Okaikoi South, Ahmed Arthur, of fraud, adding that she was unable to take part in a ‘fraudulent’ contest, at a news conference.
She insisted that Ahmed Arthur forged his certificate, which was said to have been awarded him by the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), for which reason she petitioned the party to disqualify him.
The party on Friday set the election for Sunday after an Accra High Court dismissed a petition for injunction on the election on Thursday.
At the end of the exercise, Ahmed Arthur polled 505 votes while the beleaguered Vicky Bright polled 29 out of the 540 total votes cast.