Trouble Looms At Bekwai NPP

TROUBLE IS looming in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Bekwai constituency in the Ashanti region following a disagreement over the party’s parliamentary primaries. The party’s leadership in the constituency is divided as to whether or not the party should hold a parliamentary primary to elect a candidate for the 2012 elections. Whereas the constituency executives hold the view that a parliamentary primary is not necessary, the polling station executives are calling for a primary to elect the party’s candidate. The constituency executives are of the view that the incumbent independent Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Joe Osei Wusu, should be declared as the party’s parliamentary candidate. But the polling station executives, who are the majority, insist that a primary should be held for a winner to be declared. The constituency executives claim that the MP, popularly known as Joe Wise, was popular in the constituency and would therefore be able to retain the seat for the party. They contend that should a new candidate be elected apart from the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the party might lose the seat again in the December polls. According to them, though on paper Joe Wise was not representing the party in parliament, he had been financing the party’s activities, particularly the ongoing biometric registration exercise. The former DVLA boss contested the 2008 parliamentary polls as an independent candidate and won massively against Kofi Adusei Poku, the NPP candidate. This was after he had contested the party’s keenly-contested primary which was characterized by series of violence, and lost by a single vote to Mr. Poku, the then Deputy Minister of Fisheries. Information reaching DAILY GUIDE indicates that should the primaries be held, a repeat of the 2008 contest is likely to recur as Mr. Poku and Hon Joe Wise would be contesting the single slot again. Because of the issues surrounding the organization of the primaries, the party did not hold the exercise in the Bekwai constituency when the primaries were held across the nation last year. Commenting on the matter which is raising the political temperature in the party in the constituency, the Regional Chairman, F.F Antoh, called for calm, assuring that the right thing would be done for peace to prevail. He stated that no person in the party had the right to deny the holding of a primary, indicating that article 11 of the party’s constitution should be respected at all times. Article 11 of the party’s constitution spells out modalities for the holding of primaries in selecting the party’s parliamentary candidates for parliamentary polls.