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Politics of Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Review of NPP primaries: The good, bad and somehow ugly

As part of the build-up to the December general elections, contesting political parties are expected to conduct internal primaries to renew the mandate of their elected officials to compete in the main polls.

Over the weekend the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) conducted its primaries for the aforementioned reason and the fallouts from the primaries have set the tone for media conversations.

Issues about security, health and safety protocols as well as monetisation of votes have headlined discussions. In this regard, GhanaWeb brings you a compelling overview of the process taking into consideration the major angles there is.

Monetisation of votes

Prior to and during the primaries, speculations of vote-buying and vote influencing ran rife on the internet.

There were several visual evidence to back some of these allegations as well.

Some aspirants reportedly went as far as distributing fridges and huge amounts of money to delegates. Whether they were mere gifts or not, some curious Ghanaians have raised peculiar questions with regards to their propriety.

In Assin North constituency, an aspirant, Eric Amankwa Blay who ended up losing bought 250 bicycles for delegates. La Dadekotopon was no different as pictures of the incumbent member of parliament, Vincent Sowah Odotei’s ‘vote-buying goodies’ broke the internet in the early hours of the election day.

In fact, there were reports about some aspirants who shared as much $1,200 to each delegate. Daniel Oyem Aboagye and Benjamin Ashitey Armah, two losing aspirants who were cited in such practice later confessed to it.



Fights and petty squabbles

The popular quote of George S. Patton which says it is “Better to fight for something than live with nothing” rightly came to play in the NPP primaries.

For some reasons, there were multiple complaints from some delegates that their names had been removed from the voters album and in other instances replaced with people who according to them, were not even qualified.

A typical instance occurred at the Adentan constituency where a visibly frustrated delegate at the Gbentanaa electoral area resorted to raining insults and cursing party officials and other delegates.

She alleged that her name had been removed from the delegates’ album.

Similar discrepancies marred the process in Jaman South Constituency where eight persons were arrested and two shot at.

Dome Kwabenya constituency, where Sarah Adwoa Safo was battling it out with Mike Oquaye Jnr was also cited in such inconsistencies.

Not only that, in Effiduase-Asokore Constituency in the Ashanti Region, Kwame Adom Appiah an aspirant was left at the mercy of angry delegates after his failed attempt to whisk the electoral album away.

In Bantama, the peaceful democratic exercise denigrated to a fighting arena. This was captured with the headline, “NPP Decides: Blows, slaps fly as Okyem Aboagye’s agent prevents Bantama Treasurer from voting.”



Safety protocols

“…the large majority of us continue to adhere to the protocols unfortunately, there are some who do not, others are slacking and unacceptably significant number have refused to obey them all together. In such an atmosphere if we do not take care the virus will continue to spread which will lead to intolerable pressure on our health facilities…each one of us must be part of the fight to stop the spread of the virus…”

These were the exact words President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo employed to reiterate the need for Ghanaians to act responsibly in order to curb the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, during his 12th address.

It was quite refreshing to see at the beginning of polls that most, if not all, electoral areas were strictly adhering to safety protocols.

Veronica buckets were places at vantage points in polling centres and sanitisers were frequently used by EC officials, delegates and other party personnel.

The nose mask directives were also adhered to. Where did they go to?

In a snap of a finger when the heat turned up, even the aspirants threw caution to the wind. The scenes were as though we were in ordinary times. Hugs flew, social distancing became a figment of the imagination and the nose mask became an obstruction to speech.

But can they ever be blamed?



Security Detail

The security detail in some of the constituencies is worthy of commendation. The ever intimidating presence of the military men to an extent, controlled the level of chaos which could have otherwise occurred.

But for the timely intervention of security personnel, most of the petty squabbles could have degenerated into full-blown bloody scenes.

However, it is worth noting that some curious Ghanaians have questioned some of the security detail seen in videos.

For instance, in the Adentan constituency, during the collation and subsequent declaration, some heavily built men clad in black T-shirts and plain jeans and normal trainers to pair got curious mind busy.

However, they wore nose masks with bold prints of the coat of arms and words which read “NSC Operations.”

Were they indeed National Security operatives or otherwise?



Media:

It would be absolutely unfair to exclude the role of the media in the success of the just-ended primaries.

Poised to capture every moment, media personnel moved from one electoral area to the other to bring riveting details to bare, but in all fairness, social distancing even amongst media personnel was hard to practice.

Interestingly, however, there were very few, if not no reports of harassment and brutality against media personal throughout the process.

The primaries could have maintained a ‘clean sheet’ in that regard but for the harassment of a female journalist at the Tema East constituency. The incident was carried under the headline; “Police harass and arrest journalist for taking pictures at NPP primaries.”

As stated earlier, curious minds have questioned whether the failure to adhere to safety protocols have any implications at all, on the EC’s compilation of new voters register and the NIA distribution of the Ghana Card.

Also if, some aspirants and people captured flouting some directives will be made to face the provisions of the law and what the way forward is.

Well, of course, these questions were not developed out of a vacuum but based on strict observance of the just-ended primaries across the country.

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