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It IS emerging that Major Kojo Boakye-Djan, former spokesperson of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), would have big hurdles to cross in his quest to become the parliamentary candidate for Jaman South in the Brong Ahafo Region, on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

This is because Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, has expressed misgivings about his candidacy.

Mr. Iddrisu doubts the electoral value of Mr Boakye-Djan, 68, warning those pushing the ex-soldier’s agenda to reconsider their decision.

Ever since Major Boakye-Djan declared his intention to contest for the seat on the ticket of NDC, senior members of the governing party, including Kofi Adams, a deputy general secretary and spokesperson to former President Jerry John Rawlings and Fiifi Kwetey, a deputy minister for Finance and Economic Planning ,have questioned his credentials within the party.

Haruna’s pronouncement appears to have given the former AFRC spokesperson and a close pal of Jerry Rawlings a red card, as the minister has declared that there is no way the governing party is going to sacrifice ex-President Rawlings for Boakye-Djan.

Major Boakye-Djan has had serious political differences with NDC founder, Mr Rawlings, for years and political observers believed he was being cajoled by some NDC big shots to join the ruling party and contest the Jaman South seat in order to spite the ex-president.

NDC is founded on the ideals and philosophy of Mr Rawlings and with Boakye- Djan having regularly lambasted the NDC founder, one wonders the basis on which the former AFRC man was contesting the NDC slot.

Haruna, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South, said even though he sometimes disagreed with the politics of the ex-president, he did not “think in terms of political value, one should sacrifice former President Rawlings for Boakye-Djan or Jaman South seat. It doesn’t make political sense to me”.

“If you have a person like Boakye-Djan running as candidate for NDC in a parliamentary contest, what is his status within the party?” the Communications Minister quizzed on a Metro TV programme yesterday.

Haruna asked whether Boakye-Djan had met the minimum requirement to contest the Jaman South on the ticket of the NDC, including a member in good standing, asking members of the party in the constituency and in the region to diligently scrutinise him.

The national executive, he cautioned, should adhere rigidly to rules and regulations governing the NDC and parliamentary primaries, adding, “I think a person like Boakye-Djan has a herculean task in terms of meeting the minimum requirement according to the party’s constitution in qualifying to contest on the ticket of the party”.

He said although he believed Rawlings had made a wrong political judgment by allowing his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings to contest President Atta Mills for NDC’s flagbearership, the former first couple “still have something to add in terms of the political fortunes of the NDC and I think that we must manage them well”.

Already, a mad rush of ministers and deputy ministers of state desirous of unseating incumbent Members of Parliament of NDC is beginning to tear the party apart even before the next general elections.

Although the party is yet to blow the whistle for potential aspirants to take off in parliamentary primaries in constituencies where there are sitting MPs, over ambitious ministers are apparently ‘spraying’ cash and other inducements around just to woo delegates ahead of time.

There were reported cases of a minister allegedly blowing cash and dashing motorbikes in the Kumbungu constituency in the Northern region, with his colleagues exhibiting similar opulence in NDC’s strongholds in the Volta Region.

Such surreptitious moves and brazen show of lavishness by egoistic ministers have also caught the attention of the Minister for Communications.

Mr Iddrisu cautioned the national executive of the party to take a critical watch in the selection process for parliamentary aspirants, both for orphan constituencies and those with sitting MPs, else the party would suffer political humiliation.

The success of the NDC in the next general elections, the minister noted, would largely depend on how the national executives managed the parliamentary primaries, serving a stern notice that “the party must exercise the gavel’.

“I think the challenge of NDC will be how to smoothly shepherd this process of selecting MPs in a manner that is not rancorous, acrimonious; in a manner that brings cohesion and unity and in a manner that will not allow people to run as independent candidate against the party,” the minister stated.

Already, vetting of aspiring parliamentary candidates for NDC primaries in some orphan constituencies has been greeted with violent clashes, with some being postponed all together.

According to Mr Iddrisu, NDC’s bane was not Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings contesting President Atta Mills at the presidential primaries in Sunyani or her conduct after the delegates’ congress.

Although he believed the former First Lady’s decision to vie for the flagbearership position of the party was a bad judgment, he did not think that the exercise of that democratic right would greatly affect the fortunes of the ruling party but rather how successful the party managed the primaries.

“We have to learn from our own experience in 2000, what happened to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2008 and be guided by it. We must learn from the NPP… their inability to manage the selection process for Members of Parliament where incumbent Members of Parliament were being undermined,” Mr Iddrisu cautioned.

He said all those desirous of contesting the parliamentary primaries should wait until the whistle was blown.

“Nobody is saying that don’t have ambition, you don’t have an ego or don’t serve your party but you must play to the rules,” he added.

Abdul-Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, a co-panelist on the programme, said the issue was not peculiar with the NDC but added that the ruling party should manage the process well.

The success of the NDC in next year’s election, he added, would largely depend on how they would manage the process or “they risk what we call skirt and blouse voting,” where party supporters might vote for their presidential candidate and vote against the parliamentary candidate or vice versa.

Indicating that he would not go into the record of Boakye-Djan, Baako said attempts by the former spokesperson of AFRC to contest the Jaman South seat on the ticket of the NDC was a wrong move which surprised him (Baako).
Source: Awudu Mahama

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