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Politics of Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Source: The Republic

Panic strikes Akufo-Addo apparatchiks

Last Saturday’s defeat of Naa Torshie-Addo, the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Tema West at the party’s Parliamentary primaries at the constituency has sent shivers through the remaining favorites of flagbearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Republic Newspaper has gathered.

NPP Parliamentary primaries are yet to be held in the constituencies of the two main remaining favorites of Akufo-Addo- Ursula Owusu Ekufful and Philip Addison- Korley Klottey and Ablekuma West Constituencies respectively.

The two are expected to lose their bids, given what has been described by party sources as a tide surging against Akufo-Addo’s remaining loyalists vying for parliamentary seats in the 2016 general elections.

Before the Tema West elections were held on Saturday, Akufo-Addo is said to have dispatched party gurus and loyalists such as Atta Akyea, Hackman Owusu Agyemang and Dan Kwaku Botwe to campaign for Naa Torshie.

Atta Akyea, the NPP Parliamentary candidate for Abuakwa North is said to have told electorates that they should vote for Naa Torshie because she has already been penciled down as a potential Cabinet member of an anticipated Akufo-Addo government post 2016.

Despite this plea, and a resort to Anointing Oil for luck, Naa Torshie lost heavily to her main rival, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, who rode on the growing discontent for Naa Torshie to be voted the substantive candidate for NPP in Tema West.

Seeing Naa Torshie’s defeat, Philip Addison and Madam Ursula Ekuful are said to have resorted to “dirty tactics” to frustrate the imminent primaries set to be held in their respective constituencies.

Philip Addison, a close friend of Akufo-Addo, who was the lead lawyer in Akufo-Addo’s 2013 Presidential election petition in the Supreme Court, is said to be manipulating the system to ensure that his main rival, one Nii Noi Nortey is disqualified.

Mr Addison is said to have headed to court to file for an injunction against the planned primaries in Korley Klottey accusing his rival of filing fake documents.

The embattled Addison wants the court to, among others, to declare Nii Noi Nortey unfit to contest the crucial polls because they claim he presented a fake certificate to the vetting committee of the party.

‘’I do not even think that it is now an allegation because it is a matter that the university has confirmed. Therefore, I do not understand why there is so much fuss and backwards and forwards on this matter. The fact remains that, this certificate was presented to the party and the fact remains that it has been established.

“If you look at the forms that we filled (nomination forms), it refers to an undertaken that should be taken by all applicants, vouching for the truth of information and the documents submitted and it states clearly there that any false statement could result in disqualification,’’ he said.

However, his critics have pointed out his fear of a possible defeat as the main motivation for the injunction.

Meanwhile, in Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu is facing an impossible task of retaining her seat as an incumbent, as polling station executives brazenly canvass for votes against her.

Party executives in Ablekuma West claim Ursula’s actions and utterances against her constituents have been mostly disrespectful, and they believe she cannot unite the party for victory in the 2016 elections.

The executives in the constituency have even threatened to vote ‘skirt-and-blouse,’ a situation where they would vote for the NPP Presidential candidate but vote for the parliamentary candidate of the rival National Democratic Congress (NDC).

“I am ready to give my vote to the NDC if anybody imposes her (Ursula) on us, even if they come and share money,” one of them said.

Ursula Owusu has been involved in several fracas in the constituency, for instance, an instance where she was said to have caused the arrest of an NPP member in the area for challenging her over an issue.

Ursula has had an “arrogance” tag hanging on her since she became the MP of Ablekuma West in 2012.

Her main rival in the upcoming primaries, Mr. Theophilus Tetteh, is being tipped to unseat her in the yet-to-be-scheduled parliamentary primaries.

Mr. Tetteh, a former constituency Chairman in Ablekuma West, resigned his position to contest Ursula, given her growing negative ratings in the constituency.

Earlier this year, the perilous position of Ursula Ekkuful and Naa Torshie prompted Akufo-Addo loyalists within the party to hastily propose a controversial affirmative action seeking to bar men from contesting the two in their bid to retain their incumbency in the constituencies.

During the heated debate over the controversial directive, Akufo-Addo further gave impetus to suspicions that he was backing the ladies by publicly stating his support for the affirmative action.

However, majority of the party's support base kicked against the move, saying everybody should be given the opportunity to contest for parliamentary seats of their choosing, the massive opposition to the directive forced the leadership of the party to beat a hasty retreat, saying it was a mere suggestion.

The reversal of the directive opened up Ursula Owusu and Naa Torshie-Addo to a strong competition.