The governing New Patriotic Party’s National Executive Council (NEC) is expected to meet tomorrow Tuesday, April 14, 2020 to decide on the way forward with the party’s presidential and parliamentary primaries.
The NPP had planned to hold parliamentary primaries in areas where it has sitting Members of Parliament on April 25, 2020. The presidential primary was also scheduled to take place on the same day.
But following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus which is fast spreading in Ghana and all over the globe, all public gatherings have been banned in the country by President Nana Akufo-Addo as part of measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
Due to this, the decision to hold the party’s primaries in a few weeks’s time is shaky.
The NPP has 169 sitting Members of Parliament out of the total 275 seats in parliament.
The party has already held primaries for orphan constituencies; areas that did not have sitting Members of Parliament.
Nomination fee for the parliamentary primaries was pegged at GH¢20,000 and an additional GH¢200,000 for filing of forms.
The leadership of the party also charged all aspiring parliamentary candidates other than the sitting Members of Parliament a “Party Development Fee of GH¢30,000”.
Nominations were opened on January 20, 2020 and closed on Thursday, February 20.
President Akufo-Addo also filed his nomination forms to contest in the NPP’s presidential elections.
He is expected to contest unopposed as he was the only one to have picked forms and submitted same as at Thursday, February 20, the deadline for filing of nominations.
Difficulty in picking forms
During the period for nominations, some aspirants faced difficulty in picking up forms.
Even barely two days to the closure of nominations for the primaries, some aspirants still faced challenges in getting access to the forms.
Some complained that efforts to pick up nomination forms at the constituency and regional levels had been futile.
In the Ashanti Region for instance, information circulating showed that regional executives of the NPP were deliberately hoarding nomination forms to protect sitting MPs in the region, a situation the Regional Executives denied.
The Suame constituency was one of the few in the region who faced this problem.
This even led to the protest by the Suame Home Support Movement against executives of the party in the constituency.
But the General Secretary of the NPP, John Boadu urged parliamentary aspirants who were struggling to pick nomination forms at the constituency level to do so at the national level.
Mr. Boadu on the Citi Breakfast Show acknowledged that there had been a few hitches with the picking of nomination forms in a few regions but was quick to add that the affected aspirants could resort to the national headquarters to pick their forms.
“We have stated that anybody who is desirous of contesting on our ticket, who goes to the constituency and he is denied of having access to the forms should appeal to the region. If he is unable to get the forms at the region, he should appeal to the national [leadership] to have it.”
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) had earlier downplayed suggestions that the timing and organization of its parliamentary primaries in April 2020 may negatively affect its fortunes in the general elections.
This was on the back of a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) predicting an NPP victory in election 2020 but warned that the party’s decision to organize outstanding parliamentary primaries in its strongholds in April will allow it less time than the NDC to calm the ructions often associated with such internal contests.
But the party’s Director of Communication, Yaw Buaben Asamoa explained that a lot of planning and considerations were done before settling on the April date.
Coronavirus in Ghana
Ghana confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19 on March 12, 2020.
Just within a month, the number of confirmed cases has seen a sharp increase.
As of April 13, 2020, the number stands at 566, with eight deaths and four recoveries.
Due to this, several measures have been put in place to control the spread of the virus, including a partial lockdown of Accra and Kumasi, and a ban on public gatherings.