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NPP Broke; Delegates Stranded
 
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17-Oct-2014  
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Barely a day to the crucial presidential primary to elect a flagbearer, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) is struggling to raise funds for the all-important political exercise.

There are widespread concerns that the much anticipated election might not come off as scheduled but some members of the party, including immediate past General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, aka Sir John, have vowed to resist any attempt by the National Executives to postpone the all-important event.

Innovative Fundraising

According to Sir John, the party has no money and accused the national officers of not telling the public the actual situation on the ground. He asked them to find innovative ways of raising funds for tomorrow’s election.

As at press time last night, the party had not been able to send money to the various constituencies where voting is supposed to take place, creating apprehension among delegates.

Assurance

In spite of the concerns, National Chairman, Paul Afoko, has been on various networks assuring the party’s rank and file that the election would surely go ahead.

He said that the executives had already completed a deal with the Electoral Commission (EC) which is mandated to supervise the election. It is supposed to handle the voter register and other related issues. However, Mr Afoko declined to discuss other matters in the media, including how to finance the over 141,000 delegates.

MPs Support

Sources within the party said all NPP Members of Parliament (MPs) had been impressed upon to support delegates in their respective constituencies on the election day.

The MPs are said to have voted GH¢10 for each of their respective delegates. They are also ready to support additional 15 orphan constituencies where the party has no seats by pulling GH¢70,000 from their pockets.

The rest of the 137 constituencies, DAILY GUIDE learnt, would have to be taken care of by the party.

Due to financial constraints, the Afoko-led executives are said to have persuaded Hackman Owusu Agyemang, who is the immediate past chairman of the party’s finance committee, to sign for the release of GH¢140,000 from the party’s coffers to support the process.

Misappropriation

Additionally, they had also gone into the party’s forex account, which Afoko accused Kojo Opare Hammond of concealing and misappropriating the funds, and asked the signatories to release $60,000 to support the exercise.

Sources said the GH¢140,000 and the $60,000 were used in printing the ballot papers as well as take care of security for the election tomorrow.

The party’s finance committee, chaired by former Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani, is yet to raise funds since its inauguration about two months ago.

Rough estimates showed that the party needs GH¢700,000 to cater for delegates in the 137 constituencies.

However, NPP General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, reportedly insisted that the party could afford half of the estimate which would be GH¢35,000.

Furthermore, the plan to further task the three candidates to bring more cash to support the exercise was eventually scuttled. Those who opposed the idea were of the view that the party needed other innovative ways of raising funds.

The candidates: frontrunner, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen and Francis Addai Nimoh, have already coughed out GH¢10,000 and GH¢75,000 as nomination and filing fees respectively.

Additionally, Joe Ghartey, Kofi Osei Ameyaw Stephen Asamoah Boateng and Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, had all paid similar amounts when they contested in the August 31 super delegates congress that pruned the number of the flagbearer aspirants from seven to five, translating into almost GH¢600,000.

This amount was said to have been used for monitoring the limited voter registration exercise organised recently by the EC, leaving the party cash-strapped.

Delegates’ Transport

It was being speculated yesterday that some of the delegates, especially those in the urban centres, might not receive their transportation for the process, and it was unclear whether it is a move to ensure voter apathy so that the turnout would be lower than expected.

The General secretary is said to have told concerned party people that those who reside close to the polling centres should bear their own transportation and feeding costs, meaning that the GH¢5 he claimed he was ready to pay is not even feasible.

Attempts made to reach him were unsuccessful.

An SMS text message sent to his phone was not responded to as at press time.

Congress

If what Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong said on Wednesday that everything was set is anything to go by, then all seems to be set for the crucial flagbearer elections.

“Everything is set for the election,” Mr Afoko said at a press conference held at the NPP’s Asylum Down national headquarters in Accra, whiles asking the rank and file of the party to prepare for the real battle in 2016, after the election of a flagbearer to lead the party into the general elections.

This was followed by a set of ‘operating instructions’ read out by Kwabena Agyepong, which included polling hours and admission to polling stations to guide the conduct of the elections.

Interestingly, it was only four out of the 12 national steering committee members who were present at the press conference, including 2nd National Vice Chairman, Sammy Crabbe and National Women’s Organiser, Otiko Djabah.

Sources said the rest, 1st National Vice Chairman, Freddie Blay and his colleague 3rd National Vice Chairman, F.F. Anto; National Organiser, John Boadu; Youth Organiser, Sammi Awuku; Nasara Coordinator, Kamaldeen Abdulai and Treasurer, Abankwah Yeboah as well as Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader and CK Tedam, Chairman of the Council of Elders, were not informed about any such press conference.

Regulations

But as Mr Agyepong told reporters, Saturday’s poll would open at 7am for delegates to cast their votes and close at 3pm.

Only delegates who would be in the queue after 3pm would be allowed to vote.

For the purposes of identification and verification of voters, it was stated, “A presiding officer may, before delivering a ballot paper to a person to vote at the election, require the person to produce voter identification card or a party membership card in order to establish that the person is the voter whose name, picture and particulars appear in the album.”

“After the close of poll in the presence of the agents of the candidates, the presiding officer shall be required to count the ballot papers at the polling station, record the total number of votes cast in favour of each candidate as well as total number of rejected ballots, sign a declaration and cause the agents to sign as to the results of the election and announce the results of the voting at that polling station,” he emphasised.
 
 
 
Source: William Yaw Owusu/Daily Guide
 
 

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