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Opinions of Saturday, 9 December 2006

Columnist: Antwi, Eugene

Word Of Advice To Kwabre West NPP

It is with great dismay that as a fully paid up member of the Danquah/Busia/Dombo tradition, I have to put this statement out not only as a consummate democrat but as a true son of Kwabre (both parents of mine hail from there).

I hate to wash my dirty linen in public but please party faithful, bear with me whilst I address certain laid down processes that have been flouted and need accentuating. As a dyed-in-the-wool apostle of our great and noble tradition, I have despaired and deemed it fit to speak out now.

Enemy within

As a party, we ran the risk of creating our worse enemy within, rather than focussing on our opponents. It is important that all the membership, irrespective of their position, abide by the constitution and the spirit and principles in which it was created. Certain persons in leadership positions should not be allowed to run roughshod over our great party’s constitution. For the benefit of those who may not have followed events in Kwabre West over the past week, please take note of the following (November 26 headline on Ghanaweb) “KWABRE WEST NPP CHAIRMAN APPEALS FOR CALM”.

The story stated that Odeneho Kwaku Appiah, the constitutionally elected Chairman of the constituency had appealed to the party in the constituency to resist attempts by some regional executives of the party to divide their ranks. Odeneho further intimated that, a section of the Ashanti Region executive did not see the welfare of the party as paramount but were trying to scandalise some hard working people in the party.

“Odeneho Appiah appealed to people who were trying to fuel his removal from office to desist from that and channel their resources to the building of the party to continue to remain in power”.

Then on the 28th of November, there was another headline on the matter: “KWABRE WEST NPP STILL BOILS – DEFIANT REGIONAL CHAIRMAN GOES AHEAD WITH NO-CONFIDENCE CONGRESS”. It also stated that the Regional Chairman, Mr Robert Yaw Amankwa and the Regional Assistant Secretary, defied all warnings on Sunday, November 19 this year and controversially moved on with the no-confidence-vote conference against the constituency chairman, Odeneho Kwaku Appiah and five other constituency executives.

Mr Amankwa, who was bent on unseating the constituency executives at all cost, went ahead to conduct the emergency delegates’ congress in spite of a boycott of 40 out of 75 delegates and other members of the regional executive and is even said to have sacrificed an important assignment in Accra just to see to the mission of the will-not-budge polling station chairmen and finally conducted the election as planned.

A local newspaper The Chronicle’s reported that as early as 9:00 am on that day, fully armed police officers numbering 30 (with 20 from the Kumasi Buffalo Unit) and led by the Offinso District Commander besieged the constituency office in Kodie to ensure smooth running of the delegates’ conference, following a request made by the Regional Chairman.

Mr Amankwa, who saw nothing wrong with his action, justified it in a radio interview, indicating that he only showed respect to the NPP’s constitution and nothing more. It may be true that the regional chairman was acting in the interests of our great and noble tradition. However, the question is, did he follow the laid down provisions of our party’s constitution?

As elected officers of our party, the party has a process of doing things and the spirit of our great constitution must be followed to the letter. The constitution states the appointment of disciplinary committees, jurisdiction, functions, proceedings, appeals, misconduct, and grievance.

I will refer the group seeking the removal of the Kwabre West Chairman to Article 4 – Disciplinary and Grievance and Article 10 – Removal of Elected Officers of our party’s constitution to support my thesis. Article 10

“Whenever forty per cent (40%) of the delegates that elected a Constituency, Regional, National officer, as the case may be, give written notice to the constituency, regional or National Executive Committee, as the case may be, of their demand for the removal of such an officer, the constituency, regional or National Executive Committee, as the case may be, shall, within one (1) week of receipt of the notice, circulate such notice to all delegates and shall, thereafter, within one month, summon and Emergency Delegates Conference to deliberate and decide on the matter.

Upon receipt of the notice, the constituency, regional or National Executive Committee, as the case may be, may suspend the officer from acting in his or her office pending the holding of the conference. The notice summoning the Conference shall specify the agenda. Approval for the removal of the officer shall be by simple majority of the votes cast at the Conference. Refusal by the conference to approve the removal of the officer shall, automatically, terminate his or her suspension, if any, from office.”

In view of the foregoing, I have five (5) main questions for Mr Amankwa and his executives who sought to remove the Kwabre West Chairman:

(a) Was due process as provided in our party’s constitution followed?

(b) What was the National Executive Committee’s response to the notice and (ii) about his actions?

(c) Were the Kwabre West executives given notice to attend and an agenda for this emergency conference, if so, why did they boycott it?

(d) Do the 35 delegates constitute the required 40% needed to remove the Kwabre West Chairman?

(e) Was the presence of the armed police and a whole District Commander necessary or needed to remove the Chairman?

The last point smacks of a commando-led operation under a previous administration and if the answers to the remaining four (4) questions are “NO”, then I am afraid to say that Mr Robert Yaw Amankwa has acted well beyond his constitutional powers as conferred on him by our constitution and must be advised to rescind his decision and seek the advice of the party’s National Executive Committee on the matters raised therein.

I will end with a quote from the British Prime Minister Tony Blair: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose. A time to mourn and a time to renew. A time to reflect and a time to move forward. A time to challenge, and a time to come together. A time to debate, and a time to unite. For our tradition now than ever before, this is the time to unite. Because we have travelled too far, too many miles together, for us now to lose sight of our destination. Together we have climbed too high for us not to achieve the summit, that is, our third historic term of office. And it is near and within our grasp.”

Eugene Yaw Boakye Antwi,
LONDON, UK


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