…As They Propose Strange Amendments To Constitution To Empower PCs At The Expense Of Delegates
Ahead of the proposed extraordinary National Delegates’ Conference of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), which will consider amendments to the party’s constitution, some strange propositions by the party’s Members of Parliament is causing disquiet.
Unhappy members of the NPP are questioning why MPs are asking for the constitution to be amended to empower the PCs to lead the party at the constituency level to the disempowerment of constituency executives.
Seen as undemocratic, the proposal asks, among other things, that Parliamentary Candidates (PCs), who effectively are shadow MPs, be given powers to appoint both constituency and polling station executives.
The proposed amendments to articles 6 and 11 of the party’s constitution ask that the election of constituency executives be scrapped so that elected PCs can appoint them.
It asks the same of the current process the party uses to get its polling stations executives in office through election.
“Amend Articles 6 & 11 to allow parliamentary candidates (PCs) to appoint constituency executives. The MP or PC shall also appoint all polling stations executives,” the proposition by the MPs requests.
Asking that PCs become the leader of the party at the constituency level, instead of the constituency chairman, the proposition asks that the PC be leader, even if he does not win elections to become MP.
Consequently, the proposition adds, “in event the party loses elections, the PC appointed constituency executives should hand over to administrative staff and the Research Officer.”
But the new propositions have already come under flak for their undemocratic imports, ahead of the extraordinary national delegates’ conference, which the party will hold before the end of the year, to consider proposed amendments to the constitution.
In effect, those proposing such amendments are asking that democratic elections which are held at the constituency levels to choose local leaders for the party should be scrapped and rolled into somewhat supernormal powers for the PCs.
The proposition effectively asks that at the constituency levels, only parliamentary elections should be the democratic determinant of who will lead the party, and once the parliamentary elections are over, whoever emerges leader should have power to choose all other executives at that level.
Angry NPP members have already pointed out that the proposal is a recipe for undemocratic dictatorship at the constituency level of the party.
It has also been dismissed as a trap for cronyism, as the PC, who would be elected, would have power to appoint only people that he likes to man the affairs of the party at that level.
As parliamentary primaries are usually punctuated by unhealthy dislike and suspicion between opponents, re-arranging things to make the PCs that powerful is seen as a proposition to institute an unhealthy winner-takes-all system at the constituency level, which will empower PCs to reward cronies and punish opponents.
It is suspected that the proposition from the MPs is being secretly championed by Majority Leader and MP for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who had made attempts, in 2015, to make the NPP allow him to go unopposed in the last election.
In the buildup to the party’s parliamentary primary in 2015, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who was then the Minority Leader, had suddenly declared that it was important for the NPP to maintain its parliamentary leadership in the august House.
However, his bid to have the Suame seat insulated from parliamentary primary elections had been parried off with two other people, hotly contending him, as the NPP was told to the face that any attempt to insulate any constituency from parliamentary primary election would be unconstitutional.
Eventually Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu won, but the jolting he received during the election has since served as pointer that he might not be that lucky in the next parliamentary primary.
It is with this background that the NPP MPs, led by Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu, who is now Majority Leader, are said to have proposed that parliamentary candidates be made leaders of the party at the constituency levels.
A disgusted member of the party, Razak Kojo Opoku, has since gone sarcastic, saying that in the spirit of the same proposed amendments, the constitution should be repealed to give the presidential candidate of the party powers to appoint all national executives of the party, as well.
“Then we should also authorize the Elected Presidential Candidate to appoint his cronies and favourites to replace: All members of National Steering Committee, all members of National Executive Committee, all members of National Council, all members of Regional Executive Committee, all Parliamentary Candidates, all members of External Branches (and) Identifiable Groups.
“The proposals by the MPS are unacceptable, undemocratic, non-profitable, unattractive, and, above all, should be thrown into the dustbin,” Mr. Opoku wrote.
A date is yet to be communicated for the extraordinary delegates’ conference that will consider amendments to the constitution.
In an eight-point resolution, however, the party stated that the extraordinary conference will be held before the end of the year.
“An Extraordinary National Delegates’ Conference to be held to consider all proposed constitutional amendments in the terms of the motion moved and carried today [Saturday],” the resolution statement had fixed.
Meanwhile, at that same conference, a seeming attempt by President Nana Akufo-Addo to foist megalomania on the party was rebuffed publicly by the leadership of the party.
A report that Acting General Secretary, John Boadu, had presented to the National Delegates’ Conference, the highest decision-making body of the party, had had parts of it disputed by Akufo-Addo in a rather pedantic manner.
The report had recommended that the “right people” be elected as the party’s polling station executives, going forward, but President Akufo-Addo had said he had a problem with the wording.
According to him, the better expression would have been that the party should elect “new” polling station executives.
However, the conference which viewed the President’s pedantic stance as rather whimsical overruled his objection and voted that the report be adopted the way it was.
Acting National Chairman, Freddy Blay, who is rumoured to have fallen out of favour with Akufo-Addo in his bid to be elected substantive party Chairman in the upcoming national executives election, put it straight to Akufo-Addo that his objection was unnecessary.
His position had been agreeable to the national delegates’ conference, which had similarly dismissed what is seen as the President’s pedantic megalomania on the issue.
In the upcoming national executive election for the party, President Akufo-Addo is said to be supporting Alhaji Abukari Abdul Rahman, alias Alhaji Short, Upper West Regional Chairman of the NPP.
President Akufo-Addo is in favor of Alhaji Short becoming NPP Chairman because of a desire to appease Northerners over the removal of Paul Afoko, the NPP’s first ever national chairman of Northern extraction, from office.
Mr. Afoko had been sacked from his post in 2015 for supposedly discussing party issues in public.
However, President Akufo-Addo’s support for Alhaji Short means Freddy Blay and his ambition for the party chairmanship have become adversarial.