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NPP Primaries: Hammond Seeks to Disqualify Rivals

The veteran MP petitions the National Vetting Committee to bar his opponents from the parliamentary race

by Victor Adetimilehin

The Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, has filed a fresh petition with the National Vetting Committee of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), asking for the disqualification of all three contenders in the party’s parliamentary primaries.

This move comes after Hammond’s initial petition to the Ashanti Regional Vetting Committee on January 2, 2024, seeking the disqualification of his main challenger, Mr Sammy Binfoh Darkwa, was dismissed.

The vetting committee, led by NPP National Organiser Henry Nana Boakye and Ashanti Regional Chairman Bernard Antwi Boasiako, cleared both candidates, allowing them to start their campaign for the primary.

Hammond’s Allegations 

In the petition, Hammond argues that his opponents, including Sammy Binfoh Darkwa, the Managing Director of the Ghana Publishing Company, are ineligible to participate in the parliamentary primaries, citing violations of Article 12(4) and (7) of the party’s constitution.

Hammond accuses his rivals of not being members of the NPP and not contributing enough to the constituency’s development.

He also claims that Darkwa has a dual citizenship, which disqualifies him from contesting for a parliamentary seat, according to the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

Hammond is urging the National Vetting Committee to disqualify his opponents based on the allegations he has levied against them.

Darkwa’s Response 

Darkwa, however, has dismissed Hammond’s petition as baseless and frivolous, saying that he has met all the requirements to contest in the primary. He said he has renounced his British citizenship since 2019 and has a certificate to prove it.

He also said he has been a loyal and active member of the NPP since 1992 and has supported the party in various ways, including donating vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, and cash to the constituency.

Darkwa said he is confident that the National Vetting Committee will uphold the decision of the regional committee and allow him to face Hammond in the primary.

The Stakes Are High

The NPP parliamentary primaries are scheduled for January 27, 2024, and the stakes are high for both Hammond and Darkwa.

Hammond, who has been the MP for Adansi Asokwa since 2000, is seeking to retain his seat for the sixth consecutive time. He is one of the longest-serving MPs in the country and a former deputy energy minister.

Darkwa, on the other hand, is a newcomer to the political scene, but he has a strong background in the media and publishing industry. He is the current MD of the Ghana Publishing Company, which prints government documents and textbooks.

He is also a former editor of the Daily Graphic, the state-owned newspaper, and a former lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

A Test of Democracy 

The NPP primaries in Adansi Asokwa are expected to be keenly contested and closely watched by the public and the media. The outcome of the primaries will be a test of the party’s internal democracy and the popularity of the candidates.

The winner of the primaries will also have to face the candidate of the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the general elections in November 2024. The NDC has not yet announced its candidate for the Adansi Asokwa constituency. The constituency, which is located in the Ashanti Region, the stronghold of the NPP, has been voting for the NPP since 1996.

However, some analysts have predicted that the NDC could pose a threat to the NPP in the 2024 elections, especially if the NPP primaries are marred by acrimony and division.

The NPP and the NDC are the two dominant political parties in Ghana, and they have alternated in power since the return to multiparty democracy in 1992.

The current president of Ghana is Nana Akufo-Addo, who won the 2020 elections on the ticket of the NPP. He is expected to seek a second and final term in 2024.

The NDC is yet to elect its presidential candidate, but many observers believe that the former president, John Mahama, who lost to Akufo-Addo in 2016 and 2020, will run again.

The 2024 elections are expected to be highly competitive and contentious, as both parties will be vying for the majority of votes in the parliament and the presidency.

The elections will also be an opportunity for the Ghanaian people to exercise their democratic rights and choose their leaders for the next four years.

Source: Modern Ghana 

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