Dan Lartey's Candidature is illegal - EC

About seventy people on Saturday met at the Prempeh Assembly Hall in Kumasi to affirm Mr. Dan Lartey as the flag bearer of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) in an election that the Electoral Commission (EC) has described as illegal. According to the EC, the congress, which was marked with strange and interesting developments, was unlawful because prior to the congress, the party had organised only one regional congress instead of 10 regional congresses, as required by law. The Director of Elections at the EC, Mr Albert Arhin, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic on Sunday, said the party had been informed previously that unless the EC had supervised the regional congresses, it would not oversee its national delegates’ congress. He said the EC had advised the hierarchy of the GCPP to organise regional congresses in the remaining nine regions and ensure that they were supervised by the EC before the commission could supervise the national delegates’ congress to make it acceptable. About 80 people, including journalists and observers, attended the congress that elected the octogenarian politician for the third time running as its presidential candidate. Mr Lartey and the chairman of the party, Mr John Thompson, had earlier given conflicting figures about the number of delegates expected at the congress. While Mr Lartey mentioned 1,300, the national chairman said they were expecting up to 500 delegates. And when the numbers they were expecting were not forthcoming, they explained that, the delegates were "held up in traffic". The entire event, which also included the election of national executive members took about an hour to complete. Quite surprisingly, the elections were carried out without the involvement of the Electoral Commission (EC). No other political party was at the congress to give any solidarity message. Ten national executive members of the party, five of whom were absent at the congress, were also acclaimed. They were Mr John Thompson as National Chairman; Miss Georgina Rita Bimpong as Women's Organiser; Mr. Adams Ali, General Secretary; Mr Kwasi Ameyaw, Treasurer; and Mr Amadu Haruna, Deputy Organiser. Those who were absent but acclaimed as national officers were Mrs Adelina Dennis, First Vice National Chairperson; Mr Adu Tetteh as Second National Vice Chairman; Mr Caleb B. K Dorfenyoh as National Organiser; Mr Justice Worae, Youth Organiser; and Mr Ohene Ofori, Educational Secretary. In his acceptance speech, Mr Lartey said when given the nod as President of Ghana, he would increase wages and salaries of workers by 400 per cent. He said workers had not been given salaries to meet the rising cost of living, and promised that his government would ensure improved conditions of service for workers at all times. He said his main focus as President would be on domestication and that he would concentrate on improving local industries. Mr Lartey said now that he was aware of the support of his party followers and he had accept.ed to lead them to the general election, the campaign of the GCPP was in "full gear.” He charged the few delegates around to go back and preach the message of "domestication". He said he was happy the GCPP had been able to organise its national congress at long last. Explaining why many of the delegates and some of the national officers were not present at the congress, Mr Lartey said, "1 have information that they are still on their way here only that some of them are stuck in traffic at Nsawam on their way to Kumasi from Accra." "You see the road network in the country is very bad so my people have been stuck in a traffic jam at Nsawam spending almost four hours over there." Earlier, Mr John Thompson, the National Chairman, said they were waiting for more of the delegates to join them and added that 100 delegates could form a quorum for the congress to go ahead. But, the congress went ahead with less than 80 people, journalists and observers inclusive. Mr. Thompson, in his address, charged the few delegates who were present to go back and work hard to ensure victory for the party in the December elections.