Kufuor’s Minister Cries.
Ex-Deputy Minister of Justice, has decried bribery and vote buying codenamed “monicracy” creeping into internal politics of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which was recently endorsed by no less a person than the party’s National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, saying it spells doom for the party.
Lawyer Kwame Osei Prempeh, described as sad, how some party officials openly endorsed candidates, he claimed were engaged in buying positions in the NPP.
Indeed, the internal polls for the Ashanti Regional chairmanship race was over last Saturday had lost miserably, he pulled 209 as against 559 for Bernard Antwi-Boasiako popularly known as “Chairman Wontumi, a small scale miner with a lot of cash to throw about.
Cash strapped Lawyer Osei Prempeh’s grief, had come on the back of reports of vote buying, especially in the Ashanti Region, ahead of the NPP Regional elections last Saturday.
The ex-Minister’s rival, “Chairman Wontumi” , had been accused of using money to influence Delegates.
He is said to have paid for nomination forms of some candidates, vying for Polling Station and Constituency positions.
The issue became murkier when Chairman Wontumi last Thursday, donated an office complex to the party in Kumasi, claiming “it is God who directed me” and not because of the impending Regional elections.
Before this, Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, had said candidates were free to use money to influence Delegates, if they have it, because in politics, money is a gift.
Responding to reports of inducement and corruption ahead of elections to select Regional Executives, Jake gave a lecture on the importance of using one’s strength in politics.
“If you speak well, then go and speak well, if you are a good organizer, show the people you are a good organiser, if you have money..then use the money, if you have time and patience then show the people you have time and patience”, – an advice that could potentially increase a vote-buying orgy.
But to Jake, politics “is like a heptathlon, it’s not just one event…there is sprint, long distance, shooting, there is swimming [and] archery. Some of those things you will be good at, some of those things you are not so good at, so you work hard to make sure that you don’t fall too far back… and you maximize the advantage that you have”.
The National Chairman, who is also seeking re-election against stiff competition from Paul Afoko and Stephen Ntim noted that “it will be difficult in politics to stop them from using their strengths” despite concerns that this amounts to vote buying.
But, Osei Prempeh on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme last Friday, bemoaned the “manipulation of the system” to favour one candidate.
“It is shameful; tolerating vote buying in the party is officially endorsing corruption of the system,” he added.
The former deputy Attorney General and Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsuta-Kwamang-Beposo said, if “money-politics” is not nipped in the bud, to enable responsible people contest positions, “the NPP will be a laughing stock”.
He was certain party Delegates who have the NPP’s interest at heart, will not allow money to influence them, but would vote on their conscience.
Osei Prempeh, urged the Delegates to be selfless and vote for a competent, dedicated, honest and passionate person ready to work for a landslide victory in 2016.
A political scientist at the University of Ghana (UG), Ransford Gyampo, was disappointed in the NPP National Chairman’s comment saying; “that statement shouldn’t come from a high profile person like him”.
Although he concedes that money is important in running a campaign, he fears it undermines internal democracy of the party.
According to the senior lecturer, using money to influence voters, creates uneven playing field, sacrifices fair competition and creates rancour and bitterness for those disadvantaged by the lack of money.
He conjectured that the NPP Chairman, may have made the comment because he is also contesting but he warns, undue monetary influence creates ineffective leaders.
The Herald called up Mr Paul Afoko, one of the leading contenders in the race to unseat Mr Obestebi-Lamptey, to solicit his views on the statement attributed to the National Chairman, but he did not pick up his phone, it rang for several minutes without any response.
However, when The Herald rung Mr Achibald, a Special Assistant to Stephen Ntim, also a front runner in the Chairmanship race, he told this paper that his boss is in the Brong Ahafo campaigning, whereas he is in the Volta Region also campaigning, but could only arrange for an interview a day after.