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With 13 months to the general election in 2016, the deep rift within the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) seems to have widened.

This follows the unanimous decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party yesterday to suspend the party’s National Chairman, Mr Paul Afoko, indefinitely.

While some members of the party welcomed the decision, others believe that it would further deepen the woes of the party and jeopardise its chances in the 2016 general election.

A leading member of the party, Mr Charles Wereko-Brobby, described the suspension as a coup d’├ętat and dark days for Ghana’s democracy and NPP politics.

However, Nana Akomea, the Communications Director of the NPP, said the decision to suspend Mr Afoko was an endorsement of the recommendations by the party’s National Disciplinary Committee.

The Disciplinary Committee made the recommendations after the National Council of Elders in September petitioned it demanding, among other things, that Mr Afoko be made to step aside until after the 2016 elections.

According to the council, Mr Afoko had conducted himself in a manner that had affected the party’s reputation.

Mr Freddie Blay, the First Vice-Chair, per the NPP’s constitution, becomes the acting National Chairman of the party.

Although Mr Afoko tried to stop the meeting by issuing a press statement describing it as “illegal”, because he was the one constitutionally mandated to convene such meetings and chair them, the meeting was held, resulting in his suspension.

Internal wrangling

The internal wrangling within the main opposition party resulted in the death of the Upper East Regional Chairman, Adams Mahama, after an acid attack on him near his home in Bolgatanga in May 2015.

Mr Afoko and his colleague, Mr Kwabena Agyepong, the General Secretary of the party, came under pressure to leave the party following the death of Mr Mahama.

The development engendered a lot of media brouhaha by some party members, compelling the flag bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, to issue an immediate ceasefire on radio.

Despite the call by the flag bearer for party members to cease fire, the National Council of Elders formally wrote to the National Disciplinary Committee for an action to be taken against the party’s national chairman.

The Council of Elders said it held several meetings in an attempt to resolve the challenges by meeting with Mr Afoko and the General Secretary, Mr Agyepong to discuss the state of the party.

At every meeting of the council, it was stressed that party matters should be kept out of the media but the elders said Mr Afoko disregarded the party’s position to keep internal party matters out of the media.

"It therefore came as a shock to our teeming supporters, NEC and the National Council of Elders to read in the dailies a statement from one Nana Yaw Osei, who described himself as the spokesperson of the National Chairman of the NPP, Mr Paul Afoko, about fighting corruption at all levels of the party.

“This was immediately followed by one Mr Baah Achamfour, who proceeded to make a complaint to the police," the letter said.

The letter further indicated that Mr Afoko went to give a statement to the police, which was likely to take the matter out of the hands of the committee members and also give the matter more publicity.

The elders said the chairman allowed the police to wade into the party's internal matters, following the complaint of a so-called party member, which left much to be desired.

Two weeks to appeal

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Mr Akomea said Mr Afoko was invited on many occasions to appear before the Disciplinary Committee, but he refused to do so.

He also said the meeting was therefore intended to deliberate on the report from the Disciplinary Committee and make a decision.

Until Mr Afoko was called back to work, Nana Akomea said, Mr Freddie Blay would act as the substantive National Chairman of the party.

On the implication of the suspension of the national chairman from the party, Nana Akomea said the executive’s decision was in the interest of the party and was fully aware of the consequences of any decision.

He further indicated that if Mr Afoko had any issues with the decision by the NEC, he (Afoko) had the right to make an appeal to the National Council of the party within two weeks per the party’s constitution.

Responding to a statement by Mr Afoko prior to the meeting, Nana Akomea said the NEC was convinced of the legalities of the meeting and if he (Afoko) had any problems with it he could appeal formally to the National Council.

Those present at the meeting included Mr Freddie Blay, Mr Hackman Owusu Agyemang, a leading member of the party; the party’s Ashanti Regional Chairman, Mr Antwi Boasiako; Mr K.T. Hammond, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful, Mr John Boadu and Mr Sammy Awuku.

Source: Graphic

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