Labelled drug addict, ex-convict and homosexual
Ex-Presidential Staffer in the John Agyekum Kufuor administration, Paul Awentami Afoko, has emerged as the most broken, injured and damaged personality in the recent history of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), having ventured as the first Northerner to run for the party’s chairmanship slot.
In the run up to the just ended National Delegates Conference in Tamale in the Northern Region, Mr. Afoko, who was leading in the race hotly contested by Jake Obestebi-Lamptey, Steven Ntim and Fred Oware, had all manner of colossal missiles thrown at his person from within his own party, interestingly from the camp of Nana Akufo-Addo.
The businessman, who was physically assaulted at the 2007 NPP National Delegates Conference held in the University of Ghana, Legon campus, on the prompting of the then NPP National Organiser, Lord Commey, that he was bribing delegates with US Dollar bills, was enmeshed in a series of controversies with the NPP leadership, after declaring his intention to run for the chairmanship slot.
He was called a drug addict, narcotic drug trafficker, coup maker and above all a homosexual in the run-up to the D-day. It was as though Mr. Afoko and the members of his campaign team, were contesting against the whole machinery of the NPP.
First, was a shocking revelation that Mr. Afoko was once jailed in London for dealing in narcotic drugs. The story later changed that he had once exposed himself to narcotic drugs and had to be checked into a rehabilitation center in the United Kingdom (UK) to have the deadly substance flushed out from his body.
Shockingly, the NPP Vetting Committee, chaired by C.K. Tedem, was the body that leaked the matter on the drug trade and use claims of the aspirant. The same Committee, later disclosed that it had paid the UK Home Office Seventeen Pounds Sterling (17) for the criminal records on Mr. Afoko.
The International Police organization, Interpol was also written to by NPP Vetting Committee to ascertain whether or not it had any criminal records on the chairman aspirant.
One Barima Sarpong, an NPP activist, named Gabby Otchere-Darko, a cousin of Nana Addo and ex-Executive Director of the pro-NPP think tank, Danquah Institute (DI) that he (Gabby) was behind a petition that was presented to the Vetting Committee on Afoko, saying he had had a drug related issue in the UK.
A certain Kofi Twum Boafo, later emerged apologising to Mr. Afoko for falsely claiming he was in the UK with him and that he was aware of his drug related issues.
Mr. Afoko, a native of Sandema in the Upper West Region, who had once sought a political asylum in the UK, was later revealed as a Coup maker; having tried to overthrow the Military Junta, led by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, hence had to flee Ghana.
The aspirant was later cleared for the Tamale National Delegates’ Conference, but three days to the event, an exclusive letter he wrote to the Chairman of National Elections Committee, raising pertinent concerns about the mode of election during the Congress was leaked to the media.
The letter, was twisted to suggest that he (Afoko) had committed an abomination; that he wanted to prevent Nana Addo and his two–time running mate, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia from voting on the day of congress.
It took him some time to set the records straight, but had suffered bashing from party insiders like Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah, NPPs Director of Elections, who was also part of the Vetting Committee, where the issues of the narcotic drugs had emerged.
Barely twenty four hours to last Saturday’s congress, news started flying that Mr. Afoko, was homosexual and if voted was going to smash the buttocks of the young men of the party.
On the day of Congress, when all aspirants were putting finished touches to their campaign, Mr. Afoko was busy responding to accusations that he had hired thugs to hoot at Nana Addo and his entourage when they appear at the congress grounds, the Tamale Sports Stadium.
“I have heard the next rumour only this morning that they are preparing my T-shirts to give to people to hoot at Nana Addo when he comes to the stadium…please when it happens, know that the haters, the enemies of NPP are at work. It’s not Paul Afoko,” he said.
“…They started off by saying I was a cocaine dealer, who had been jailed in England. The Interpol came out to say that that was not true. That it was a lie. They’ve moved it on. At one point they said I was a homosexual. I had no need to even defend myself. I just laughed it off. I’m a married man; I have children,” Afoko decried.
Mr. Afoko said, all the rumours, allegations and accusations made against him are aimed at frittering away his chances of winning the chairmanship slot.
As to how he repairs his image now that Congress is over, will be a process that political watchers are observing.