Opare Hammond shoots down NPP's 'reserved Ga seats' proposal

Aspiring New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Akropong, Kwadwo Opare Hammond, says it was wrong for the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, to publicly announce a reservation of some twelve seats in the Greater Accra Region for Ga indigenes.

The constituencies are Ngleshie Amanfrom,  Ablekuma South, Odododiodio, Korle Klottey,  La Dade Kotopon and Ledzokuku. The others are Krowor, Tema East, Tema West, Kpone Katamanso, Amasaman and Obom Domeabra.

The one-time Member of Parliament for Adenta says traditionally, Ga indigenes have contested those seats. He told TV3’s News In Brief on Wednesday that in the past, the party used dialogue to appeal to Non-Ga indigenes to allow indigenes to contest.

He therefore sees no reason why the NEC would take such a decision and worst of all announce it publicly.

“I will say that this is totally uncalled for. With a lot of respect to the NEC, I don’t know why they came out with this decision and even made it public. From my own personal experience and as a former member of Parliament, who has also served at the national office of the party, I know that traditionally, every four years many of these seats are contested for by Ga indigenes and so I don’t know why this time they want to put it on paper and make it public. There had been instances where the party had gone out to negotiate with some candidates who are non-Ga indigenes and they have stepped down for the Gas” he stated.

Mr. Opare Hammond is thus asking the party to reconsider the decision and use dialogue to appeal to non-Ga aspirants instead of making it compulsory through directives.

“I think this is also another thing that they didn’t need to communicate it this way. They could have still implemented this decision in a different way. I think the party leadership should take a second look at all of these issues and possibly move them from the NEC to the highest decision-making body of the party after congress, that’s the National Council, to look at these issues and come out with something that will satisfy everybody”.

The party has come under intense criticism following newly adopted proposals ahead of its parliamentary primaries. One of such is the affirmative action that seeks to bar any male from contesting against the party’s female sitting MPs. Angry party supporters from across the country have described the decision as undemocratic and have protested peacefully to show their displeasure.

Political analysts have also cautioned that the move could affect the party’s chances in the 2016 elections. Others have also questioned the increased filing fees for parliamentary aspirants.

Filing fees for aspirants has been pegged at GH¢10,000 in constituencies not held by the party with those to challenge incumbent NPP MPs expected to pay GH¢20,000 more.

Women aspirants as well as youth and physically challenged members will be given a 50 per cent rebate.

But Dr. Opare Hammond says he has no problem with the new fees. He is of the view that individuals willing to contest should also see the need to contribute to the party financially.

On the affirmative action proposal,  the former NPP Director of Finance told TV3’s Edward Kwabi that although he strongly supports any decision to encourage more women to go to Parliament, the approach being used by the party is inappropriate.

He is of the view that the party employs the use of dialogue to impress upon such aspirants to allow their female counterparts instead of making it compulsory through directives.

The party has set Sunday, May 24 for the parliamentary primaries. Nominations for the elections will open on Monday, March 30 and close on Friday, April 10.

By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/3news.com/Ghana

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