Monday, June 16, 2008

Confusion rocks Suhum NPP primary again

The Suhum constituency branch of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is gradually acquiring the 'bad boy' image in the Eastern Region as fresh hostilities and confrontations on Saturday abruptly ended another primary to elect the party's parliamentary candidate for the December general elections.

One of the aspirants, Bryan Acheampong, not happy with how the primary was being conducted, led a large group of supporters to the Koforidua YMCA premises where the primary was being held and openly confronted two regional executives who were overseeing the event and accused them of 'bending' the rules to favour his opponent. In the midst of the confusion, Seth Otchere, popularly known as 'Osonoba', the regional organiser and Alhaji Umar Bodinga, second regional vice chairman were heckled, forcing them to abandon the proceedings and ran for their dear lives.

Osonoba was seen clutching one of his shoes running, while Bodinga who was alleged to have been pushed down, vanished into thin air after Bryan and his supporters stormed the venue of the primary and openly heckled them for going ahead with the primary contrary to the instruction from the national office that the primary be postponed.

About 10 policemen and some community policemen stationed there to ensure security were helpless as the supporters of Bryan overpowered them and entered the main yard of YMCA chanting 'war' songs and saying they no longer wanted the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP). The New Juaben Municipal Police Commander, Superintendent John Naami, however brought the situation under control.

This is the second time a scheduled primary for the constituency has ended in violence, with the two aspirants, Frederick Opare-Ansah, the incumbent and Bryan Acheampong, sharply disagreeing over the eligibility of seven of the 91 polling station chairmen who are the delegates.

In the first abortive primary, the regional executives of the party decided to restrain the seven from voting but the incumbent MP, who is in favour of the seven casting their votes, confronted the regional chairman on the matter, resulting in exchange of words and the eventual stalling of the exercise.

In Saturday's saga also, a committee consisting of the regional organiser and the second vice regional chairman, tasked to look into the matter, had also given the green light for the seven to vote in Saturday's primary but that decision did not go down well with Bryan, who Daily Guide learnt had petitioned the national executive on the matter.

The paper learnt also that the national chairman consequently ordered the postponement of the primary for the matter to be completely resolved. Before the primary the first regional vice chairman, Sub-lieutenant Christian Tetteh had relayed the order from the national executive to the two regional officers who were overseeing the primary but the two insisted that the primary must come on, resulting in the disruption.

Bryan, later at a press conference in Suhum, accused the two regional officers of taking sides and bending the rules to favour his opponent. When Hon. Opare-Ansah was contacted he declined to speak to Daily Guide, claiming the paper had taken a stand to shield his political opponent.

"If you want to know my views, then your paper must first publish what it knows about Bryan Acheampong," he stated. As a result of Saturday's incident some of the polling station chairmen disclosed to Daily Guide that they would no longer participate in any primary because they feared for their lives.

Source: Daily Guide

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