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NPP National Council rejects petition to hold special election at central location

Nine aspirants in the NPP’s super delegates’ conference petitioned the NPP National Council asking members to centralise the 26 August pre-primary poll

The National Council of the ruling New Patriotic Party, which is the second highest decision-making body of the NPP, has rejected a petition by nine out of the ten aspirants in the party’s upcoming super delegates conference, demanding that the conference be held at a centralised location instead of in all 16 regional capitals across the country.

The former energy minister Boakye Agyarko, the former MP for Mampong in the Ashanti Region Francis Addai Nimoh, the former NPP general secretary Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, the economist and former regional co-operation minister Kofi Konadu Apraku, the former food and agriculture minister Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the energy expert Kojo Poku, the former trade and industry minister Alan Kyerematen, Kennedy Agyapong, the sitting MP for Assin Central in the Central Region, and Joe Ghartey, the former railways development minister and sitting MP for Essikado-Ketan in the Western Region, filed the petition which has been disallowed by the NPP National Council.

All nine aspirants are standing in the NPP’s 2023 presidential primaries,

Demand of petitioners

Essentially, the petitioners were demanding three things in the lead-up to the super delegates’ conference.

First, they wanted the National Council to allow each delegate to be given the opportunity to vote for five candidates so that, after the voting exercise, the ballot papers would be sorted and counted to identify the candidates with the highest votes, from first to fifth, in order to shortlist them for the main primaries on 4 November 2023.

Second, the petitioners were seeking clarity on whether or not delegates who have multiple roles, which apparently make them eligible to vote as delegates at different levels, will be given multiple voting rights, or whether the party will stick to the “one man, one vote” principle even if a delegate plays several roles that make him or her eligible to vote more than once.

Last, in their petition the nine candidates demanded that the super delegates’ conference be organised at a central location or venue instead of the decentralised approach used in 2014, when the party had its first ever super delegates’ conference.

They argued that a centralised approach will be consistent with Article 13 (1) of the NPP’s constitution, which says in part that “the date and venue (not venues) for the election shall be decided by the National Council”.

Petition shot down

After six hours of deliberation at the Alisa Hotel in Accra on Thursday (20 July 2023), the National Council concluded that it would maintain the decentralised approach it adopted in 2014 during the party’s first super delegates conference which was conducted at the regional level.

Sources within the NPP National Council say the decision received the endorsement of roughly 97% of members of the Council when the body voted on the petition.

The National Council also concluded that every delegate is entitled to just one vote and that this cannot under any circumstances be varied. The proposal by the petitioners to allow each delegate to select five people to go on a shortlist was also shot down by the National Council.

An Asaase News source who attended the National Council meeting said the Council said that if this were allowed, it would defeat the concept of shortlisting, which is the main reason for holding the super delegates’ conference.

Position of National Council

The general secretary of the NPP, Justin Kodua Frimpong, spoke to the press after the National Council meeting and made the announcement that, after many hours of debate among National Council members, they had decided that the precedent of 2014 should stand.

“The special [electoral] college will be held in the various regions, except for one, which will be held at the national headquarters for national officers, external branches and members of the national Council of Elders,” Kodua Frimpong said.

“The National Council also cautioned our aspirants and, by extension, their campaign supporters or members, that it has taken notice of several [uses of] unsavoury language … by some aspirants and their supporters, and that from today onwards the National Council, without fear or favour, will crack the whip if it has to,” Kodua Frimpong added.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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