PRESIDENT NANA Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s 40 years of political experience once again, came to bear yesterday as he made what political pundits have termed as wise and constructive suggestions that contributed immensely to save the ruling political party from imminent internal squabbles.
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) approved a number of amendments to the party’s constitution without the controversial proposals that had given rise to grievances and disagreements among delegates who attended the Extraordinary National Delegates’ Conference in Kumasi yesterday.
The president, without mincing words, strongly kicked against three proposed amendments in the document, sternly warning that they had the potential of creating internal wrangling which could weaken the base of the party.
The controversial proposals were withdrawn at the eleventh hour after President Akufo-Addo had openly opposed them.
He told the delegates, drawn from across the country, that the proposed amendments “will be a disaster” if adopted by the conference, as they could cause disunity and create problems for the party.
The amendments, which President Akufo-Addo described as “controversial,” included a ban on party members with dual citizenship from contesting and holding party office; MPs being given the right to select constituency executives and the presidential candidate being leader of the party.
Fear Of Cracks
Political watchers had predicted that if those three controversial amendments were accepted by the conference, there was the likelihood that they would lead to cracks in the ruling political party and also impede the president from delivering on its campaign promises to the people.
Addressing the delegates at the historic conference, President Akufo-Addo stated, “I strongly kick against the three controversial amendments, which have been moved before the conference for consideration since they can shake the NPP’s boat from sailing peacefully.”
He stated categorically, “The controversial amendment which makes it impossible for dual citizens to hold party office and contest elections, will be a disaster for the party. It will collapse our external branches and it is unconstitutional.
“We are aware of the problem that the amendment 30 seeks to cure; but we have to do it in another manner. I also strongly oppose the amendment that MPs should have the right to appoint constituency executives. I strongly oppose to this measure, so it will be withdrawn.
“I also absolutely oppose the amendment that will make the presidential candidate, the president of our country, and the flagbearer as the leader of the party. This is against the traditions of the NPP so I will ask conference to reject it if it is not withdrawn.”
Shouts Of Joy
Even before President Akufo-Addo could finish with his statement, the over 5,000 delegates that had converged on the event venue, spontaneously shouted on top of their voices – a clear indication that they fully supported the president’s bold stand.
Withdrawal Of 3 Amendments
Significantly, a few minutes after the president’s statement, all the three controversial amendments were quickly withdrawn by the people and groups who made the suggestions. This action was also welcomed with loud applause by the excited party members.
Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on behalf of the NPP parliamentarians, withdrew two amendments, including a suggestion that MPs should appoint constituency executives and determine who qualifies to be a constituency executive.
The majority leader, who is also the MP for Suame in Kumasi, admitted before the delegates that those two proposed amendments were creating hiccups and convulsion among key party members across the country, hence his decision to withdraw them for peace to prevail.
Right after he had left the podium, the NPP US branch, led by its acting chairperson, Obaa Yaa Amponsah, also nominated a key member of their group, who also withdrew the proposed amendment that would make the presidential candidate or president the leader of the party.
Interestingly, the event was characterized by withdrawal of amendment proposals, which the party’s grassroots members had continually kicked against in the media in recent times. However, a few of the proposals that sought to strengthen the unity and forward march of the NPP, were moved by the conference.
Other bigwigs of the party who were at the function were Freddie Blay, Acting National Chairman; ministers of state; national, regional and constituency executives, among others.
Mr Freddie Blay called on the delegates to do well to resolve any issues that had been bothering them at the conference ground before their departure.
For him, the conference was a family gathering to ensure that the NPP was strengthened and become more formidable.