Intense negotiations are currently ongoing between some of the ten (10) New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate aspirants who have filed their nominations and have been approved to contest in the party’s 26 August 2023 super delegates contest, to get some of them to step down from the race, Asaase News has gathered from sources familiar with the ongoing process.
On Monday 24 July 2023, the presidential election committee was expected to conduct balloting for the candidates to choose their positions on the ballot paper for the super delegates contest. However, after 3 hours of deliberations between representatives of the presidential candidates and the NPP’s election committee, the main agenda of the day which was the balloting was postponed to Wednesday 26 July 2023.
The adjournment was necessitated by a request from the representatives of some of the candidates to be given time to confer with their candidates on what they said were pertinent issues concerning the upcoming super delegates conference.
The party agreed to adjourn the sitting to Wednesday 26 July to allow the representatives to do as they requested. Ahead of the scheduled meeting on Wednesday 26 July 2023, Asaase News has learnt from source close to some of the candidates that there is the likelihood that several of the 10 aspirants could step down from the race which would render the issue of balloting and the August 26 super delegates conference moot.
Demands by aspirants
Nine (9) out of the 10 candidates last week petitioned the National Council of the NPP demanding that the conference be held at a centralized location instead of in all sixteen (16) regional capitals across the country.
The former energy minister Boakye Agyarko, the former MP for Mampong in the Ashanti Region Francis Addai Nimoh, the former NPP general secretary Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, the economist and former regional co-operation minister Kofi Konadu Apraku, the former food and agriculture minister Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the energy expert Kojo Poku, the former trade and industry minister Alan Kyerematen, Kennedy Agyapong, the sitting MP for Assin Central in the Central Region, and Joe Ghartey, the former railways development minister and sitting MP for Essikado-Ketan in the Western Region, filed the petition which was disallowed by the NPP National Council.
Essentially, the petitioners were demanding three things in the lead-up to the super delegates’ conference. First, they wanted the National Council to allow each delegate to be given the opportunity to vote for five candidates so that, after the voting exercise, the ballot papers would be sorted and counted to identify the candidates with the highest votes, from first to fifth, in order to shortlist them for the main primaries on 4 November 2023.
Second, the petitioners were seeking clarity on whether or not delegates who have multiple roles, which apparently make them eligible to vote as delegates at different levels, will be given multiple voting rights, or whether the party will stick to the “one man, one vote” principle even if a delegate plays several roles that make him or her eligible to vote more than once.
Last, in their petition the nine candidates demanded that the super delegates’ conference be organised at a central location or venue instead of the decentralised approach used in 2014, when the party had its first ever super delegates’ conference.
They argued that a centralized approach will be consistent with Article 13 (1) of the NPP’s constitution, which says in part that “the date and venue (not venues) for the election shall be decided by the National Council”.
After six hours of deliberation at the Alisa Hotel in Accra on Thursday (20 July 2023), the National Council concluded that it would maintain the decentralised approach it adopted in 2014 during the party’s first super delegates conference which was conducted at the regional level.
Sources within the NPP National Council say the decision received the endorsement of roughly 97% of members of the Council when the body voted on the petition.
The National Council also concluded that every delegate is entitled to just one vote and that this cannot under any circumstances be varied. The proposal by the petitioners to allow each delegate to select five people to go on a shortlist was also shot down by the National Council.
An Asaase News source who attended the National Council meeting noted that the Council was of the opinion that if this were allowed, it would defeat the concept of shortlisting, which is the main reason for holding the super delegates’ conference.