The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has finally settled on December 2023 to carry out its Presidential and parliamentary elections to select candidates for the 2024 polls.
This decision, follows reports of confusion and near fights between various groups over the date for the elections with three meetings by the NPP National Executives Committee ending inconclusively.
Members of Parliament (MPs), presidential aspirants and National executives, have been unable to agree with the President, Nana Akufo-Addo that the election should be delayed by a year more to avoid him becoming a lame duck leader.
But the paper’s contacts in the party have revealed that progress, has been made with December 21st earmarked as the date of voting.
Last week, Dr Richard Amoako Baah, a political science lecturer and a member of the NPP blamed the delay in setting a date for the party’s presidential and parliamentary primaries to some machinations by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
According to him, there “is a contention between the president and the party with regard to the date for the primaries”.
Dr Amoako Baah, revealed that “the president wants to hold the primaries in February next year which he said, his 2024 budget would have been passed by then. The MPs on the other hand, also want the primaries held in August 2023, to give them enough room to do whatever it is that they have to do to keep the party in good shape.”
Interestingly, an earlier report said that the ruling party National Council wanted November 2023 to elect its presidential candidate, January 2024 to elect parliamentary candidates for constituencies with sitting NPP MPs and April 2024 for constituencies without sitting NPP MPs.
Dr Baah, speaking on Accra-based Citi FM, described the development as absolutely absurd to have President Akufo-Addo, to be deciding the timelines for the party.
“It doesn’t make sense and the party should not tolerate it, the party does not belong to the president and the party cannot go according to his timetable.”
Dr Amoako Baah, also alleged that the president has threatened to mastermind the defeat of some of the NPP MPs.
“Were you not there or have you not read when the Subin MP [Eugene Boakye Antwi] said the president threatened to mastermind his defeat, how can an outgoing president hold the whole country to ransom?”
Pressure has mounted on the NPP to announce a date for its two most important internal elections on its calendar as two different meetings held by the National Council of the NPP last week to set a date for the primaries ended with reports of confusion, heated arguments and exchange of words.
After the first meeting on Thursday, the party’s Director of Communications, Richard Ahiagba, shortly took to his Facebook wall with a message that sought to douse inflamed passions in the various camps; Bawumia, Kyerematen and the Jubilee House.
Mr Ahiagba wrote “The NPP has just concluded a successful NEC & NC meetings and the unified position is to enable broad consultations to achieve a consensus position on when to hold the Presidential & Parliamentary primaries Long live the NPP”.
The Herald’s information is that, while the Presidential aspirants wanted an early conference to decide who leads the party, President Nana Akufo-Addo, disagreed with that position, fearing it would make him a lame duck president – “Kwasiapanyin” in the Twi dialect.
With a hung parliament, the President is particularly afraid that NPP Parliamentarians would boycott his bills and allow the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to torpedo his programmes for political points.
The meeting which had in attendance the President, the Vice President, the Chief of Staff, some MPs and presidential hopefuls, was expected to officially set a date for the remaining two elections on the party’s calendar.
It was also supposed to produce a date for the opening of nomination for both elections.
Two blocs are said to have emerged within the party and pushing for early Congress, while the other is asking the party to abide by the provisions of its Constitution which mandate the party to elect a presidential candidate 12 months to a major election. President Akufo-Addo, wants a late Congress.
Second meeting on Friday also came out with the same result as the previous one on Thursday. The aspirants insist on getting an early date in this year to reduce their expenditure.
The party’s National Council after a long meeting over the matter, was forced to have endorsed the decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) to engage in broad stakeholder consultation before announcing a date for its primaries.
The NPP NEC meeting aside setting a date was also to draw up modalities for the two important internal elections on the party’s calendar.
The meeting had initially been postponed from January 31 to February 2, following the absence of many of the Council members on the earlier date.
The former Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, has declared his intention to contest the flagbearership slot and lead the NPP.
He will contest former Agriculture Minister, Dr Akoto Afriyie and former Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, who have all declared their intention to contest.
On February 1, a former MP for the Mampong Constituency, Francis Addai-Nimoh, formally announced his intention to contest the party’s flagbearership race when nominations are opened.
The former legislator, said preliminary research conducted by his team coupled with consultation and advice from some elders of the party, psyched himself to bring on board his professional knowledge and values to retain political power.