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Opinions of Thursday, 15 October 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Voter Registration May Really Be About the Money

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Oct. 10, 2015

The alleged decision by Messrs. Afoko and Agyepong to issue membership registration cards to new membership applicants of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) may be really about revenue collection (See “Afoko, Agyepong’s Registrations Are Illegal – Naabu” Ghana News Agency (GNA) / 9/29/15). Not long ago, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the parliamentary minority leader, publicly disclosed that he and his colleagues had effectively cut their regular contributions to the NPP’s national headquarters, because they been denied some unspecified support services they thought were due them. Mr. Mensah-Bonsu did not say whether the party’s members in our National Assembly intended to resume the payment of such remittances, once things returned to normalcy.

It is significant to note here that shortly before Mr. Mensah-Bonsu’s revelation, Chairman Paul Afoko had bitterly and publicly complained that the wherewithal necessary for the administration of party activities had effectively ceased flowing into the NPP’s Kokomlemle headquarters. And then we further heard that Mr. Afoko had invited police investigators to probe the details of a foreign account that had allegedly been established either by or with the knowledge and supervision of Mr. Freddie Blay, the party’s national vice-chairman. Well, Mr. Blay has, indeed, acknowledged the existence of such an account; but he has also noted that the account has been in existence for nearly a decade, and that it was not a secret. The unmistakable implication here, of course, is that the aforesaid account was opened during the tenure of President John Agyekum-Kufuor.

Whatever the truth or reality on the ground may be, one thing is patently clear – and it is the fact that all is not well at party headquarters. The Akan have a maxim that poignantly observes that pretty things cost a decent amount of money. The need for the finances of the New Patriotic Party to be put on a sound footing cannot be gainsaid, if the party is to regain access to the Flagstaff House come January 2017. If, as the Minority Leader noted, funding for the NPP’s headquarters administrators had been deliberately cut because the men and women at the headquarters were not providing the sort of the necessary assistance for which these administrators were duly elected and sworn into office, then there is every reason to believe that Messrs. Afoko and Agyepong lack the sort of trust and resources they need to effectively function at their respective posts of party chairman and general-secretary.

I have also long heard it rumored that due to the sort of acute mistrust adumbrated above, Nana Akufo-Addo’s faction of the party has constituted a parallel administrative machine at party headquarters. Nana Akufo-Addo, to his laudable credit, has come out to publicly declare that there are no such two parallel administrative structures at party headquarters, as has been widely alleged. He has, however, acknowledged that there have occurred some of the problems that have been commonly known for ages to invariably plague many a large and complex political organization, and that he and some dedicated party leaders were hard at work to bring a lasting solution to these growth-related problems.

Mr. Daniel Bugre Naabu, the Northern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, is the latest official to touch on the question of the administrative rough edges of the party. At a recent press conference in Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region, Mr. Naabu bitterly accused Messrs. Sammy Crabbe, Afoko and Agyepong of having illegally and unilaterally decided to register and issue party identity cards to new membership applicants. Mr. Naabu’s quite reasonable argument is that any attempt to register and introduce new members into the party ought to be officially sanctioned by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, in consultation with the party’s Council of Elders.

This is all well and good, except that the NPP has also increasingly come under criticism for being unnecessarily bureaucratic for its own good and efficient administration. What is clear here, though, even as hinted by Mr. Naabu, is the fact that the registration of new party members is equally about revenue collection. But even more seriously, the Northern Regional NPP Chairman has accused Messrs. Afoko, Agyepong and Crabbe of having established a non-party approved account for the purpose. If such accusation has validity, then Nana Akufo-Addo, or whoever is/are in charge of party finances, ought to promptly step in and ensure that the right things are done, for both the short- and long-term good of the party.