‘Intimidation, Force’ Emerge In NPP Race
-Afriyie Akoto Reveals …Says Contractors Unpaid For Not Supporting ‘One Candidate’
One of the presidential aspirants in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer race has aired his frustration about some alleged intimidation and force being employed by the powers-that-be to the advantage of one of them, ahead of the party’s scheduled Super Delegates Conference to trim the 10 aspirants.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who describes the development as very dangerous antics just to favour “one candidate,” disclosed that, some road contractors are being sidelined and refused payment for work done, because they do not support a particular candidate.
In a recent interview monitored by The Anchor, the former Food and Agriculture minister, without mincing words, told Joy FM’s Elton John Brobbey, that contractors who have gone for loans to execute these contracts at a very high interest rates are being denied payment, apparently on a suspicion by the powers- that-be that they do not support an establishment candidate.
He noted that, what is happening in the NPP on the quiet is worse than a contest between the governing party and its main opponents, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“And there is some kind of force being used, intimidation I mean. I received complaints on my trips. Those contractors who are not seen to be for this candidate, they are not paid when they have completed their jobs and they have gone for huge sums of money from the banks and the interest rates are at 35-50 percent. They are being punished for not supporting…” the former minister said.
Asked if he was aware of any use of executive power to whip people in line, he would not answer, except to say that, “Well, I don’t know about executive whip. I don’t know what executive power is, but if somebody has done a job, a contract with the government and they are not paid, while others who declared for that particular candidate are paid. And you know, it is even worse than between NDC and NPP.”
He said this has paved the way for people who, per the party’s election guidelines and dictates, are banned from declaring their support for any candidate of their choice are now doing so with impunity.
A worried Dr. Afriyie Akoto told the radio interviewer that discipline in the NPP has been thrown to the dogs.
According to him, appointees of government and the party executives, including regional chairmen, have all gone on a declaring spree, endorsing what he calls “one candidate.”
He said these appointees and executives have not only declared their choice of candidate, but are also jumping on the campaign trail, abandoning the work they were appointed or elected for.
“That really tells you that there is no discipline in the party. What is going on?
“There is a classic example where people are publicly campaigning, high party officials are publicly campaigning for one particular candidate against the instructions and regulations of the party and they know no one will say a word to them and any institution cannot live without discipline.
“No, that is wrong, it is not in our party. Somebody sitting somewhere can say I have endorsed, but not a chairman of a party and it has become free for all, and they know that nothing will happen to them,” the ex-minister said.
Dr. Akoto said regional chairmen who are on record to have declared their support for this same candidate have turned around to suspend constituency chairmen seen as supporting different candidates.
He claimed national executives who have the task to enforce regulations and rules or crack the whip on errant appointees and elected officers are aware of the situation, saying they have been petitioned against at the national headquarters at Asylum Down in Accra.
“Oh yes, they are aware. I mean some of these chairmen. Without any reason regional chairmen are suspending constituency chairmen because they don’t support their candidate, and all of that has come to their attention. Petitions are flowing into headquarters and all of that,” the flagbearer aspirant maintained.
He added, “Yet people who have been chosen to manage this party, to man this party, have the authority to punish people for going against the rules and regulation and they are not cracking the whip, so everybody is doing whatever they like
“This is a dangerous path. All those making public pronouncements, they happen to be high profile government officials. So, what happens if that candidate does not win? Because what they are doing is really hurting the rest of the contestants, and in the country the people feel very strongly that it is a misconduct for them to go the way they are going,” the 72-year-old Dr. Akoto said.
Asked who this “one candidate” is, the former Kwadaso constituency MP refrained from pinpointing the individual, except to say that “These are people in the party who have benefitted from the sweat of the party, because it is the party which won us power in 2016 for us to form a government in 2017.”
Even though the election to prune the 10 aspirants to five is less than two weeks away, Dr. Akoto hoped that the national executives will do the needful by punishing such persons.