Some agitated members of the opposition New Patriotic Party thronged the party’s National Headquarters on Tuesday in protest against new guidelines outlined for the party’s parliamentary primaries scheduled for May 24, 2014.
But the members just like many political observers have criticized the adopted proposals announced by the party, with the most contentious being a decision to bar male aspirants from contesting in constituencies where women are incumbent MPs.
The female MPs have also had their filing fees slashed in order to reduce the financial burden on them. The proposal which was later adopted by the party’s National Executive Committee, has received mixed reactions.
While some have lauded the affirmative action as a move to get more women in Parliament, others say it is discriminatory. But the party’s Director of Communications Nana Akomea has explained that the policy is only a proposal that may not be compelled on members.
Wearing red armbands, the angry party members who arrived in buses at the party’s headquarters on Tuesday, say the directive contravenes the party’s constitution and the national constitution.
TV3’s Sangmorkie Tetteh reported from the party’s Asylum Down office that the agitated members are demanding a reversal of the directive to allow a level playing field for all candidates irrespective of gender. They were infuriated by the fact that the party did not engage in broad consultation before taking the decision.
They believe the move is politically suicidal and could diminish the fortunes of the party. TV3’s Sangmorkie Tetteh says the agitated members mostly came from the Ablekuma West and Efutu-Senya East constituencies.
She reports that it took about thirty minutes to calm tempers after which the members left the scene. She says national officers of the party are locked up in a National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting over the proposals and the subsequent reactions.
The party has set Sunday, May 24 to elect parliamentary candidates for the 2016 elections. In a statement issued on Monday, March 23 and signed by General Secretary Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, nominations for the elections will open on Monday, March 30 and close on Friday, April 10.
Filing fees was pegged at GH¢10,000 for Members of Parliament and aspirants in constituencies held by other parties. However, aspirants challenging MPs will pay GH¢20,000 more as “development fee”.
Among the decisions taken at the National Executive Meeting is that the current 16 female MPs should only be contested by females, who will be given 50 per cent rebate on the filing fees.
Young aspirants as well as those with disabilities will also get a 50 per cent rebate.
“Similarly the following coastal constituencies in the Greater Accra Region should be contested by Ga indigenes except in exceptional circumstances: Ngleshie Amanfrom, Ablekuma South, Odododiodio, Korle Klottey, La Dade Kotopon, Ledzokuku, Krowor, Tema East, Tema West, Kpone Katamanso, Amasaman and Obom Domeabra.”
By:Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/3news.com/Ghana