From William Ofori Akwaboa, Kumasi
Parliamentary primaries of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), have flare up calls for the expansion of the Electoral College of the NPP to include all registered members of the party in good standing.
A number of defeated parliamentary aspirants, have been sharing their experiences publicly, with some lamenting bitterly about the outcome of the primaries which saw not less than 24 sitting MPs crashing out in their bid for re-election.
Nana Asante Frimpong, former MP for the New Patriotic Party between 1996 and 2004 in the Ashanti Region, for the people of Kwabre East Constituency, has opened a fresh debate on the issue, saying the existing Electoral College of the party is an explicitly undemocratic and exclusionary system that denies many popular people the opportunity to get elected as parliamentary candidates in the various constituencies.
Nana Asante Frimpong, is among the people who spearheaded the creation of Kwabre District from Afigya-Sekyere. He was an assembly member and was made the presiding member in the early 90s for three consecutive periods, before he was elected to represents the Kwabre East Constituency in parliament in 1996.
According to him, the present Electoral College, has assigned far too powerful and weighty a responsibility to few party members who can easily be influenced by any ‘political Bill Gate’ in deciding who becomes a parliamentary candidate.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with this paper about his observations from the NPP primaries and views of defeated aspirants, Mr. Asante, stated that he supported proponents of an entire-members popular vote to select parliamentary candidates in the various constituencies.
“People have been arguing in favor of all members popular vote for many years, particularly since the introduction of money into Ghanaian politics. Not only do I support expanding the Electoral College to rope in more members, I also support instituting Electoral College-type systems on the registered membership of the party at the constituency,” he noted.
In his view, the college has become a regular reminder of an exclusionary form of electing leaders in the party and a demagogue system of determining who gets to vote and be voted for.
He argued that such expansion would provide the opportunity for executive members to amass more revenue to run party activities in the constituency since the Electoral College would constitute paid-up members.
‘The smaller number of people constituting delegates needs not retain its influence in the party if we are to be a free society of people with like minds and leaders chosen by the majority, but not few and polarized group with leaders chosen by the minority,’ he lamented.
He said he was so marveled to listen to some rich men in the party who gave out money to delegates under an oath of Antoa Nyamah deity, he insisted that the expansion of the Electoral College will take away monetary inducement, as well as Independent candidates after every primaries.
According to him, he is not surprised many have come out to declare their intention of going solo to contest their fellow NPP aspirants as Independent parliamentary candidates in the Ashanti region and it is a bad sign for the New Patriotic Party, he fumes.
Taking money and swearing to vote for a particular candidate by delegates, the former member of parliament said he did not witness anything of that sort, but he overheard on radio many times which indicated that it was not just a rumors but rather it came to light after the primaries that at Afigya Sekyere East constituency, some delegates took money and sworn oaths to the Antoa Nyama deity before they cast their vote, so low and behold, an independent candidate have emerged.