The New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ghana's biggest opposition party, has rescheduled its impending national delegates congress to a later date.
The congress to elect national executives was planned to take place on March 1, 2014. But Myjoyonline.com gathered that the National Council of the party at a meeting on Tuesday moved the date to April 12.
The Council, which is the second highest decision making body after the national annual delegates congress, also agreed on a centralised congress to be held, for the first time in Tamale, Northern Region. The choice of venue was strategically decided to honour the memory of the late former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama who hailed from the region.
During the Council meeting, it was “agreed that the money is there,” which made it prudent for the leadership to follow the constitutional procedures by holding the election at a centralised venue, NPP’s Acting Director of Communications told Joy FM’s Top Story on Tuesday.
NPP’s National Executives had indicated that a centralised election will cost the party an amount of 1.2 million Ghana cedis, while a decentralised one will only cost a little over 150,000 Ghana cedis. The executives chose the latter but was hit by fierce resistance especially from Members of Parliament.
National chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey explained that the party is not in a sound financial state to organize a centralised election.
But the MPs say their checks show that a centralized election will cost about 686,000 Ghana cedis for the about 5600 delegates expected to participate in the congress.
Eventhough a centralised congress was agreed, it is still not clear how much it is going to cost the party, Joy News' Anny Osabutey reported.
However, sources say all financial matters concerning the national election have been resolved.
Minority Leader Osei Keyi-Mensah-Bonsu told Top Story the consensus was to “protect the constitution” of the party.
He noted that the Minority in Parliament constituted a team of lawyers chaired by Papa Owusu Ankomah, MP for Sekondi, to review the proposal of party’s National Executive for a decentralized congress and concluded the proposal by the National Executive would “offend the constitution”.
“Fortunately we have unanimously agreed to apply the status quo,” he stated.
Member of Parliament for Suhum, Opare Ansah who first rejected the decentralized idea said he was “very happy” about today’s outcome, adding, “It shows that the NPP upholds the rule of law”.
He suspected that the decentralized approach was somebody’s idea to be innovative.
Meanwhile, the tenure of the current executive committee would expire 28th February 2014. However, due to the rescheduled congress, their mandate has been extended until new executives are elected.
In an unrelated development, NPP firebrand Kennedy Agyapong today appeared before the party’s disciplinary committee over his comments which sought to disunite the party. He had impugned corruption to the current leadership and threatened to form a splinter party.
The committee is chaired by Rev. Asante Antwi. Other members include Ama Busia, Dan Botwe and Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor.