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NPP Primaries: Don’t be selfish, allow others to contest – Prof Agyeman-Duah to Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, NPP leadership

Professor Baffour Agyemang Badu, a former UN Senior Government Advisor has descended heavily on the majority leader of Parliament, Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu for his seeming adamant stance on running unopposed in the New Patriotic Party’s parliamentary primaries.

There is brewing tension in the Suame Constituency in the Ashanti Region as leadership of the NPP there are allegedly preventing some interested individuals from filing for nominations, a move aimed at ‘protecting’ the incumbent MP.

Some youth of the party who are not happy with the posturing of the leaders have resorted to agitations.

According to Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, it is in the interest of the party for him to run unopposed as his loss to a relatively new candidate will be disastrous for the party and to the Parliament of Ghana.

He has contended that his level of experience in Parliament is unmatched, suggesting that his absence will gravely affect the party’s role in the august house.

But a number of people have opposed the stance by the regional leadership of the party as well as the justification by the 4-time legislator and Minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs. One of such is governance expert, Prof. Baffour Agyeman-Duah.

According to the co-founder of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), the argument advanced by the legislator is untenable, adding that it is a self-serving position.

He is of the view that the move fundamentally breaches the democratic tenets that all parties are called upon to respect, suggesting that competition should be opened.

“What the majority leader has said is an interesting point. He is arguing that because of the long stay in position and his experience and other benefits that have accrued to the position for him, it will be suicidal for the party to leave him. But that is his personal opinion. He believes that being there for some time, he has acquired the skills and techniques and knowledge this will enhance the party’s role in parliament.

“That is a parochial view. Because by so saying, he may be thinking that without him the party may not win the election or if they lose the seat in Suame for instance, then the party may not have a capable person to do the job. That is not a very healthy thinking when you are a democratic party,” he said in an interview with ABC News.

The CEO of the Kufour Foundation also noted that although the party’s structures may allow for some people to go unopposed in certain circumstances, it was necessary for the party to tread cautiously as it may lead violence.

He stressed that democracy offers everybody the right to contest for election and as such nobody should be denied that right.

“The party must be careful of that. They should not take any action that will portray them as undemocratic in the way they conduct the affairs of the party. It will create a lot of discomfort among the party’s stalwarts in that constituency,” he mentioned.

What the professor proposed should be done by the leadership of the governing party is to build consensus at all levels of the party hierarchy.

That, Professor Agyeman-Duah believes will calm nerves and increase the party’s chances in the upcoming elections.

“What they could do is perhaps for the party to find a way to meet in the constituency to come to a consensus that we want this person to go for these reasons, and if the contestants are happy with that then I think nobody can argue with that.

“But to bluntly tell them you are not even allowed to file your nomination to challenge, that I think violates the principle of democracy,” he stated.

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