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NPP To Retain 28 MPs In Ashanti 6/19/2007
A member of the Council of Elders of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Appenteng Appiah Menkah has hinted that the party was considering retaining 28 sitting Members of Parliament in Ashanti region for the 2008 elections. He indicated that the party has set the ball rolling in line with amendments in the regulations with the selection of parliamentary candidates for the December 2008 elections.

He noted that some of the MP’s had performed so well that the party would want to honour them by retaining them in Parliament. According to him, the said MP’s whom he did not name for what he said were strategic reasons, had performed well in the interest of their constituencies, party and nation and that the decision to retain them would go a long way to consolidate the gains of the party at the constituency levels.

Appiah Menkah said even though the party’s constitution proposes that primaries be held in every constituency, the Council of Elders exercising their advisory role, would liaise with constituency executives to retain the said MP’s on the basis of their performance.

According to him, MP’s had previously perpetuated themselves in Parliament irrespective of whether they deliver or not. “The situation will have to change in the interest of the party,” he said.

The renowned industrialist, therefore, recommended in a telephone interview with The Chronicle that, based on their performance, sitting MP’s should be allowed to go unopposed.

He said two of the 36 NPP MPs in Ashanti in the persons of Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor (Manhyia) and Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku (Offinso North) have unofficially declared their intention to contest the flagbearership.

“Of the remaining 34, 28 have performed so well while the rest performed badly” he said.

Elder Appiah Menkah said in spite of the stand of the Council of Elders, parliamentary aspirants who want to contest a sitting MP who has been picked for retention, would not be stopped and primaries would definitely take place except that the aspirant would be doing so at his own risk.

He agreed with Lord Commey, the National Organizer’s position that parliamentary aspirants, for strategic reasons, would not have their way to contest sitting MP’s.

According to Commey, rules and regulations governing the selection of parliamentary candidates, particularly Article 11 of the party’s constitution, had been amended in the interest of the party.

It means qualification as a candidate is not enough. One would have to get the backing of the party after one’s application had been considered and cleared by an in-house policy that ensures that the party’s interests are always protected and promoted.

Clear warning signals have however started pouring in, warning the party leadership and drawing attention to how a similar policy adopted by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) spelt its doom in the 2000 elections when a number of top NDC guns lost their seats to NPP candidates as a result of a similar imposition.

The NDC learnt its lessons from that imposition disaster and have since adopted measures that would make the choice of constituents stand supreme in the selection of parliamentary candidates. The NDC will therefore ‘praise their lord’ if the NPP goes ahead to adopt a similar imposition agenda which will definitely land the party or most of MPs in opposition.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sampson Kwaku Boafo, the MP for Subin constituency in Kumasi has decided not to contest the primaries when the nominations open for the December 2008 elections. He has reportedly discarded his fourth term bid and told a Chronicle source that “I am retiring with the President”.

Boafo, now the Minister of Chieftaincy and Cultural Affairs, a lawyer by profession and pastor by alleged divine calling has represented Subin constituents since January 1997.

Boafo’s decision makes it possible for the party to consider vetting aspirants for the Subin seat as those being occupied by the NDC at Asawase, New Edubiase and Ejura/Sekyedumase. The Ashanti NPP Secretariat vetted aspirants seeking to contest the three seats- Asawase, New Edubiase and Ejura/Sekyedumase, last Saturday.

49 aspirants vetted in Northern region The Ghana News Agency (GNA) reports that in the Northern Region, Mr Lord Commey, National Organizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has appealed to parliamentary aspirants of the party to dissolve all camps and forge ahead in unity for the party to retain power in 2008.

He said the NPP had laid down procedures, which had to be followed in choosing persons for positions in the party and that those who lost chances of assuming certain positions should dissolve their camps for peace to prevail for electoral victory in 2008.

Mr. Commey made the appeal in Tamale on Thursday when he addressed 49 parliamentary aspirants of the party from 16 constituencies in areas where the party had no sitting MPs before they were vetted.

Mr. Commey said: "Because of the true democratic nature of the party, many members have interest for leadership positions but only one person can be chosen.

I therefore plead with you, particularly those who have formed camps to de-camp after one person is chosen so that peace will prevail for the party to win power again."

He claimed that no party could defeat the NPP in Ghana since the party had a strategy, which when properly utilized, was difficult to beat saying, "That strategy would never be disclosed to the media, not even to some members who are not loyal to the party."

He advised members and sympathizers of the NPP to remain focused and help in ways that would strengthen the structures of the party at all levels.

Mr. Clifford Braimah, Northern Regional Secretary of the party said the number of people contesting positions in the party was an indication that people had not lost faith in the NPP, which he claimed would continue to be winning elections in Ghana.

He gave the assurance that the party would choose its parliamentary candidates by the end of August this year, which would be followed by intensive campaign to increase its strength in the Region.

The Chronicle

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