Ashanti NDC Retains Indicted Chair, Anger Brewing
The re-election of the embattled Ashanti Regional Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC),despite alleged adverse findings against him and a few others, has left the party’s rank-and-file badly crumbled and angry.
Mr. Augustus Nana Akwasi Andrews was retained over the weekend in a keenly contested race, when the party conducted its regional executive elections in parts of the country.
The elections were held in 13 regions, with the exception of the Bono, Ahafo and Eastern regions, where there are outstanding issues.
Interestingly, regional chairmen, like the Greater AccraRegion’s Joseph Ade Coker, Central Region’s Ebenezer Kweku Tetteh Addo and Volta Region’s Henry Ametefe, who were seeking re-election, were booted out by new entrants.
But in the case of the Ashanti Region, the incumbent Nana Akwasi, who a bribery allegation report allegedly indicted him and pointed to his failure see to the proper conduct of the 2020 general elections, beat stiff competition from three other contenders to retain his position.
The contenders are a former chairman, Yaw Owusu Obimpeh, a private legal practitioner, Evans Amankwah, and one Enoch Amoako-Nsiah.
Nana Akwasi,amidst allegations of mistrust, managed to garner some 637 votes against his closest rival, Evans Amankwa, who had 572 out of the over 1,400 delegates.
His opponents, all Ashantis, had vowed to unseat him, who is said to be a Krobo from the Eastern Region, but lives and has his businesses, including a hotel, in the stronghold of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
But his close win, apparently, does not erase the fact that he is retaining the seat with a baggage of a sort.
Nana Akwasi, together with the outgoing regional secretary, Kwame Zu, months ago, was accused of taking bribe from the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to play it soft during the 2020 general elections. His ‘partner-in-crime,’ Kwame Zu, has abandoned ship, as he has decided to contest for deputy general secretary position.
The allegations led to the setting up of a seven-member committee, chaired by a former Ashanti Regional Minister, Samuel Sarpong, to delve into the matter.
Even though some publications on the 64-page committee’s findings said the two were indicted, the party strangely managed to hide details of it from the grassroots to make informed decision, despite several calls by them to make the report public.
The findings of the committee, coupled with attempts to have an Ashanti as chairman, in order to own the party in the region, which is a known stronghold of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), had allegedly intensified the quest for others to unseat him.
The Samuel Sarpong-led report had claimed among others that during the last general elections, there was “No teamwork and factions were created and as a result of that, factions operated to their own advantage.”
It said that the regional chairman was unaware of the party members who were supposed to represent the party at the Election Commission (EC) collation room.
The retained chairman, according to portions of the report, also came across as someone who had no clue about the conduct of the elections, despite being a top executive.
It was decried that, the chairman, instead of seeing to the efficient conduct of the elections relegated all responsibilities to Kwame Zu, who took advantage of the situation to undermine the process.
“Generally, the Regional Chairman exhibited gross incompetence; he seemed not to know what was happening before, during and after the 2020 elections. He was not on top of his work as Regional Chairman.
He left everything in the care of the Regional Secretary who also manipulated the system to his advantage,” a publication by The Chronicle in October quoted portions of the report as saying.
Regardless of the alleged findings by the committee, the party in the region has again voted for the incumbent, who will be seeing to the conducting of the 2024 elections again.
Some delegates had worked tirelessly for Nana Akwasi because, according to them, he has been supporting the party since going into opposition and has allowed for the use of his hotel for party activities, including meetings.
Ahead of the last Sunday November 13,elections at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, the general secretary of the party, Johnson AsieduNketia had urged delegates to change some old executives “who failed to meet expectations.”
The comment by the NDC top scribe, who has declared his intention to contest the national chairman position, was seen as one that could thwart the chances of NanaAKwasi.
Meanwhile, the three-day elections, which began last Friday, saw the Western, Oti and Western North regional chairmen, Nana Kojo Toku, John Kwadwo Gyapong and Michael Aidoo, all retaining their respective seats.
In the Savannah and Upper East regions, Alhaji Imoro and Alhaji Abdulai MumumiBolnaba went unopposed, and the Upper West’s Abdul Nasir Saani was retained.
In the Central Region, the chairman, Theophilus Aidoo Mensah, was defeated by one Richard Kofi Asiedu, while in the Northern Region, a former District Chief Executive (DCE) for the SabobaDistrict, Ali Adolf John, won the seat, formerly occupied by the substantive chairman, Alhaji Abdulai Ibrahim Mobila, who died a few months ago.
In another development, the retained Ashanti Region Chairman of the party says his victory is incomplete because he is disappointed in their General Secretary, Johnson AsieduNketia, for campaigning against him.
Nana Akwasi, right after he won the elections, drew the battle line between himself and AsieduNketia as he expressed disappointment because his own General Secretary rallied for his loss ahead of the elections.
He explained that though he won the elections convincingly, he is not happy because he couldnot believe when he saw his own party General Secretary campaign against him.
The retained Ashanti Region Chairman spoke exclusively with Akoma FM‘s Onyame Ye Obolo after the Sunday’s election, which saw him victorious.
He explained that “AsieduNketia came here in Kumasi to campaign against me but God is on my side so I won. The NDC in this region has shown love and they have spoken, there were forces working against me but I won.”
Few hours to commence NDC’s regional executives elections at Baba Yara Sports Stadium, General Secretary of the party Johnson AsieduNketia mounted the dais and advised delegates to consider changing incumbent executives if such decision serves the interest of the party.
He further explained that “if you keep doing the same thing, you get the same results therefore delegates must know that if it is necessary to substitute some executives for the greater interest of the party, they shouldn’t be tamed or enticed by the petty cash some aspirants are dashing out.”
But Augustus Nana Akwasi Andrews took the assertion in bad taste as he decoded the General Secretary’s assertion as move to campaign against him.
Though he won, he is of the view Mr. Asiedu Nketia doesn’t like him, hence his victory is incomplete.