Suspended National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Paul Awentami Afoko has reacted to an interview by the Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu over claims that Mr Afoko disliked and deliberately frustrated then-candidate Nana Akufo Addo.
In a statement signed by his spokesperson Nana Yaw Osei, Mr Paul Afoko questioned why the host, Nana Ansah Kwao IV on Joynews allowed the Majority Leader to run him down when he (Mr Afoko) didn’t have a chance of an immediate rebuttal or response to the allegations against him.
“I believe good journalistic practice would have informed the host, Nana Ansah Kwao IV, to ask Mr Kyei Mensah to substantiate his claims or to stop him from maligning Mr Afoko without proof. Unfortunately, this was not done”
He refuted the vote-buying allegations that saw him elected as Chairman of NPP questioning if that had been the trend since the NPP was established in 1992
“The NPP was founded in 1992. Since 1992 we have had 7 chairpersons. Is Mr Kyei Mensah telling Ghanaians that all these gentlemen bought their way to the chairmanship? Mr Kyei Mensah as an MP has contested and won a number of primaries. Did he buy the delegates to vote for him?”, the statement said indicating that his comments smack of an insult to delegates of the party.
Here is the detail of the statement
i. Kyei Mensah Bonsu instead of talking about himself rather resorted to repeating the stale and nonsensical allegation that Mr. Paul A. Afoko, the National Chairman of the of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) did not like the candidature of the then-candidate, Mr. Akufo-Addo, and now the President of the Republic of Ghana, and did not want him to win.
ii. Mr. Afoko had bought his way to the national chairmanship position with his own candidate for president in mind
iii. Mr. Afoko did not want to organise the Presidential primaries and/or was trying to prevent its organisation.
iv. Mr. Afoko deliberately starved the party of cash and they had to struggle to get money to top up what the party had raised to organise the primaries.
We respond to the allegations as we have itemised them as follows:-
A. We want to drum home this fact, which makes Kyei Mensah Bonsu’s allegation a very wicked lie, that President Akufo-Addo had lost two previous Presidential elections before the 2016 one under chairmanship of Peter MacManu and the late Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
Was it the case that both national chairmen worked against the candidature of Mr. Akufo-Addo that was why he lost those two elections?
For the information of those who might have been misled by Kyei Mensah Bonsu’s lies, the structure and organisation of the NPP is such that no one person can successfully work against a Presidential candidate of the party!
B. It is an insult to party delegates, who assessed the suitability or otherwise of the candidates for national chairmanship and voted for Mr. Afoko, to state that their votes were bought in Tamale, means they did not have a mind of their own to make a determination as to who was best suited for the position of a national chairman. They had to be bought, according to Kyei Memsah Bonsu.
Mr. Afoko did not buy any delegate! Kyei Mensah Bonsu must provide evidence to support this assertion or shut up forever.
Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has contested and won primaries at his Suame Constituency. Did he buy the delegates before they voted for him?
By article 12(A)(6) of the NPP Constitution, the composition of delegates who elect the party’s Presidential candidate are clearly listed therein. It is therefore preposterous and disingenuous on the part of any party member including Kyei Mensah Bonsu, who knows this fact, to state that a national chairman had his candidate in mind as if to say that a national chairman can impose a candidate on the party as its flagbearer!
C. Again, by article 12(A)(1) and (2) of the NPP Constitution, it is the party’s National Council that decides the venue and time for the election to be held within the constitutionally stipulated 24-month period before the date of the national election. So, how could the national chairman not want to organise primaries or prevented same from being organised?
“Has Kyei Mensah Bonsu forgotten that he had lobbied Mr. Afoko to allow for a no-contest for sitting MPs and Mr. Afoko did not agree, and that deepened his hatred for Mr. Afoko”, the statement alleged.
“In one breadth, Kyei Mensah Bonsu states that they had to struggle to get money to top up what the party had raised from candidates (Parliamentary and Presidential). What a contradiction!
So how could Mr. Afoko have starved the party of cash when it was he who ensured that each of the 275 constituencies of the party received 10,000GHC each through their bank accounts? Another 5,000GHC was to be transferred to the constituencies later but the likes of Kyei Mensah Bonsu blocked it.
It was part of Mr. Afoko’s vision to ensure that party money was redirected back to where the bulk of party work was done, and that was the constituencies!
Why would Kyei Mensah Bonsu allege that Mr. Afoko starved the party of cash? Has he forgotten that it under the leadership of Mr. Afoko ably supported by others that the party successfully organised the Presidential primaries which was won by Nana Akufo-Addo?
If there was no money, probably, again, for the sake of convenience, Kyei Mensah Bonsu has forgotten that Freddie Blay (1st Vice National Chairman) and Abankwa Yeboah (National Treasurer) secretly stashed some party money into some Ecobank account at the Trust Towers branch and disbursed same without the knowledge of Mr. Afoko and the General Secretary?
What was Kyei Mensah’s position on this potentially criminal offence? He supported such criminal conduct because Mr. Afoko had not done his bidding to allow sitting MPs go unopposed!
Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu must be advised to stop spewing lies about people and issues in the public space. It has become one too many.
To those who will find their voices in advising us not to have responded to the Kyei Mensah Bonsu lies, what have you told him about what he sat on public TV and said at a time the party is in power and needs to deliver on its election promises.