…To set date for national election
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) is holding its national delegates conference in Cape Coast tomorrow, to crown a series of regional delegates conference.
The event, which is a constitutional requirement of the party, will afford the NPP the opportunity to review its activities and put in place appropriate systems and measures for its smooth operation.
It will also take decisions regarding some proposed constitutional amendments and replace all of its national executives who have been appointed to serve in government.
As a crowning however, it is expected that the event, which will last for two days, will yield a timetable for the election of national executives, complete with the announcement of a date for the election of executives.
It has already been loudly indicated that the election will come on next year- 2018.
Ahead of that however, maneuverings on the quiet in preparation for the turf war over the soul of the ruling party is reinvigorating the Akufo-Addo and Kufuor fault lines in the NPP.
The Gazettee has it on authority that both sides of the NPP divide are busily preparing candidates to be put up for various positions in the party, and the lining-up process is whipping loyalists into line behind either Kufuor or Akufo-Addo.
So far, names have been picked up from both sides with the Akufo-Addo camp presenting clearer overtures with a vociferous sense of entitlement to the party, while the Kufuor camp has clutched things to its chest.
Even so, The Gazette can report that among those who will lead the Kufuor camp in the NPP’s Delegates conference next year, will be former Chief of Staff in the Kufuor regime, Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani.
For the Akufo-Addo side, this paper can confirm that rumours about the President settling on Alhaji Abubakar Abdul Rahman, alias Alhaji Short, for the Chairmanship of the NPP are true.
Sources confirm that President Akufo-Addo has withdrawn his support for Acting National Chairman, Freddy Blay, and thrown his weight behind the Upper West Regional Chairman of the party because of an agenda to pacify Northerners.
An election of Alhaji Short as National Chairman of the NPP is aimed to show northerners that the sacking of Paul Afoko, the party’s first ever National Chairman of Northern extraction, was not done by Akufo-Addo out of malice for Northerners.
For the General Secretary position, the Akufo-Addo camp is comfortable with current Acting General Secretary, John Boadu.
Sammy Awuku, the party’s current National Youth Organizer, is to be put up for the National Organizer position. Mr. Awuku’s upgrade from the Youth Organizer position is seen to be a done deal as his rejection of a Deputy Ministerial appointment given him by the President to enable him to concentrate on party work, has endeared him to the Akufo-Addo camp even more.
With Awuku’s upcoming ascension to the National Organizer position almost assured, the Youth Organizer position he is occupying now becomes empty for the Akufo-Addo camp.
The camp is ambivalent over who to put up for this position, with Akufo-Addo and his loyalists torn between Camara Dini and Eugene Boakye Antwi.
However, Boakye Antwi is said to be more in the good graces of President Akufo-Addo, because he is an Akan.
Current Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, aka Wontumi, is to be looked out for as an upcoming contestant for the 2nd National Vice Chairmanship position, while Rita Asobayire, former National Women’s Organizer of the NPP, is being propped up to contest the 1st National Vice Chairmanship by the Akufo-Addo camp.
Sources say, former Women’s Organizer of the party, Otiko Afisa Djaba, has long been out of favor with the Akufo-Addo camp and so the camp had long wanted her out.
It is alleged that it is actually in the quest to get Otiko out that the National Council of the NPP, led by Akufo-Addo, was made to come up with the rule, on 11th May that any party executive serving in government position should resign from the government position.
With the party law now marooning her in the Gender Ministry alone, if Akufo-Addo reshuffles her out of office at anytime, Ms Afisa Djaba would have nothing to hang on.
Otiko is said to be aware of the dislike for her but has since been ambivalent about contesting for the National Chairmanship which will mean she resigning from office as Gender Minister.
The Kufuor side, which is also known to be preparing towards putting up candidates for the contest, has mostly kept its plans close to chest but sources tell The Gazette that former Chief of Staff in the Kufuor regime, Kwadwo Mpiani, will be a prominent feature in the election from the Kufuor camp.
Sammy Crabbe, who had been suspended along with National Chairman, Paul Afoko, and General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, in 2015, is also said to be under preparation from the Kufuor side to contest for the National Chairmanship position.
The Kufuor and Akufo-Addo blocs within the NPP have been locked in a long rivalry for the soul of the party since President Kufuor’s attempt to replace himself as leader of the party with Alan Kyeremanten, whom he had long doted on as heir apparent, while President, was fiercely resisted by the Akufo-Addo camp in 2007.
Amidst beatings and hounding along these fault lines over the years, it is mainly members of the Kufuor camp that have suffered casualties, with Alan Kyeremanten failing to make the flagbearership of the party in 2007, 2011 and 2015.
Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong, along with Sammy Crabbe, in 2015, lost the National Chairmanship, General Secretary and the 2nd Vice Chairmanship positions respectively after they had been suspended after their election into office.
Even though the NPP had gone into the 2016 election with heightening of the fault lines, victory in the election was thought to be a calming balm for the differences in the party.
However, the upcoming National Delegates Conference in 2018 is re-heightening the rivalry.