An Associate Professor at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ransford Gyampo, has cautioned the New Patriotic Party (NPP) not to impose any flagbearer or parliamentary candidate on constituents in the upcoming primaries, since that could break-up the party.
According to him, the leadership of the party must ensure that the electoral processes are not skewed to favour one particular candidate.
“I can foretell that if the processes are not well managed and people can clearly see that they have been cheated, then I would not be surprised if others decide to breakaway and the party will suffer dearly if breakaways should happen,” Prof Gyampo said in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle.
Explaining why he thinks the party can break-up if the primaries are not handled in a free and fair manner, the lecturer, who is also the Director of Center for European Studies noted that the caliber of people who are in the race are all heavy weights and have lots of influence in the party. He indicated that should any of these candidates feel that the processes were not fair, the possibility of breaking away will be very high and would ruin the fortunes of the party, come 2024.
Citing examples of Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Former Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen and Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Mr Kennedy Agyapong, he opined that the party is likely to break-up should any of these individuals decide to go independent due to bias and unfair treatment.
“My concern is not about who will win or who will lose, it is about how the party is able to effectively and efficiently manage such decision making process in a manner devoid of manipulations, corruption and high-handedness.
“If these are not checked and unfair advantages are given to people, if these are not checked and the playing ground does not become level, then the party may likely pay dearly for that…
“If Kennedy Agyapong decides to breakaway because the processes were not fair, he will pull away a huge chunk of votes from the NPP. If Bawumia decides to go solo because he feels that the processes are not fair, he will pull a huge number of votes away and If Alan Kyerematen decides to go solo because the processes are not fair, he will have enough financial and political morsel to be able to do so,” Prof Gyampo said.
He, therefore, advised leadership of the party to desist from making public their choice of candidates because that is likely to cause disaffection among constituents whose candidates are not the preferred choice of leadership.
He said leadership should learn from what happened in the 2020 election where the NPP almost did not get majority in parliament due to this practice of imposing candidates on constituents.
“Let those who are leading the party rise above pettiness. Let them be seen as leaders for all. Many seem to have taken sides and are making it public. Let those who have been elected behave maturely and not make public pronouncements…
“Manage the processes so that whoever wins knows that he has the legitimate will of the people and whoever loses knows that the processes were fair and yet the delegate believed that I shouldn’t win.
“If the party listens and the party is a learning organisation, then of course they should look at the consequences of their attempt to impose candidate on constituents. In the lead up to the 2020 elections; how it led to the party’s victory with a taste of defeat. They should let that history teach them in selecting someone to lead them”, Prof Gyampo said.
He concluded that if the party is to take his advice, breaking the ‘eight’ would be easy since they will be able to get even the losers to rally behind the winner and campaign massively in 2024.