Over the weekend, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) conducted successful parliamentary primaries in constituencies where the party has sitting Members of Parliament.
But for the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency where the party decided not to open nominations at all, elections/confirmations were held in 165 constituencies nationwide, save three others where the party placed a hold on their primaries.
By next week Saturday, June 27 when the party will be wrapping up with the parliamentary primaries in the three remaining constituencies (Kwadaso on Wednesday, June 24 and Gushegu and Dormaa Central on Saturday), the party would be ready for the December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The party has also stated that on the same Saturday when it will be wrapping up on selection of its parliamentary candidates, it will also be acclaiming its sole aspirant for the presidential nomination, President Akufo-Addo, and his running mate, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia.
The pressures associated with the parliamentary primaries have brewed pent-up feelings among a section of the party’s members. The lurid curses, in some instances, on the leadership of the party, forcing the National Executive Committee (NEC) to put its foot down in constituencies where these barbaric acts occurred, in terms of disciplinary action, showed the level of discontent among some aspirants, delegates and party supporters.
The acrimony and resentments that characterised the campaign amidst unsubstantiated allegations, insults, vendetta and personal attacks before, during and after the elections have all added up to the seeping rage over the otherwise eventful calendar.
During the election itself, there were reported cases of political ‘mafias’ invading the turf, with names of some delegates allegedly missing, while others were alleged to have been ‘smuggled’ in. In places such as Bantama, the reported addition of a name of a National Security personnel stoked anger among supporters of the defeated MP, Daniel Okyem Aboagye—even though it turned out that he, indeed, was a lawful delegate.
In the Akyem Oda Constituency, for instance, despite clear guidelines given by the party, which same were outlined in details by the party’s Director of Elections & Research, Evans Nimako, names of polling station officers who resigned to seek other positions but lost still found their way into the album.
In the Asante Akyem North and the Subin constituencies, the alleged deletion of names of some delegates forced some people to seek refuge in the court, securing injunction on the elections (though the party still went ahead with the processes, anyway).
In the Akwatia Constituency, there is a report of the sitting Member of Parliament, Mercy Adu Gyamfi (Ama Sey), rejecting the results, alleging over-voting.
All of these issues have the potential of bringing back the unfortunate 2008 bad-old-days experiences, which ‘led the Elephant into the bush’, back into play, if not dealt with appropriately.
The party, therefore, has a duty to quickly move into action into patching up all the differences created by this exercise.
The COVID-19 situation, unfortunately, has already stolen two precious months from the party’s calendar in terms of adequately preparing for the general election.
Aside from that, activities towards the general elections have already begun in earnest. Just a week after holding its presidential candidate’s acclamation, the nation’s election management body, the Electoral Commission (EC), is also beginning with the compilation of its new voters’ register.
This exercise is going to take 38 days of the time the party has been left with to focus on the December 7 crucial elections. Then, a few days after the registration, the party will have to begin the processes of filing for nomination of its candidates, ahead of the general election.
The EC calendar itself is tightened, with very little breathing space. As a serious political party, the NPP will certainly have to engineer space to fit into the EC’s tight schedule as it organises itself and tidies up into the D-day.
Simply put, there is no time to spare as the party prepares for the general election.
This is the reason why it is heartwarming that there have been indications of rolling out measures towards a united front. Many of the candidates who lost have already conceded defeat and have pledged their support for the party’s forward match.
This, nonetheless, there may still be others who are peeved over issues surrounding the elections. That is why the patching up cannot wait.
Throw out the court cases
There have been indications, too, from some quarters about potential court cases. The party cannot have time to deal with court issues now. As I stated earlier, there is no time to spare. Every effort under the sun must be made to kill these potential court cases. Every single second or minute spent in the court room is a time too precious to waste.
Again, the party should not use high-handedness in dealing with people who threaten going independent.
It is true that the party’s guidelines for this year’s primaries had stated ‘expulsion’ as the punishment for people who go independent after losing the primaries, but it is also true that politics is about numbers.
While the mathematicians make us understand that some additions are negative, they equally make us understand that negatives, when multiplied, become positive.
In a democracy that just a single vote is all that it takes to make a difference, the party cannot leave any vote to chance.
The party must, therefore, ensure that it gets all individuals on board right about now for a united front and a resounding second term victory.
By Kwasi Frimpong