There is an uneasy calm within the New Patriotic Party as the party deliberates over when to elect representatives of the party to break the 8 in for the 2024 elections.
GhanaWeb checks show that there have been very strong submissions since the last National Council meeting, with setting a date for the primaries at the center of arguments for and against, especially parliamentary primaries.
The current standoff, per our checks, shows that there is a three-way street on the issue: the National Executives, the party’s leadership in Parliament (Majority Caucus) and Jubilee House, the seat of the presidency.
NPP issues statement to debunk fake news
On Christmas Day in 2022, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) had reason to disclaim reports that the party had set dates for its presidential and parliamentary primaries ahead of the 2024 General Elections.
A statement signed by General Secretary Justin Kodua Frimpong and posted on the NPP website said the National Council of the party failed to agree on conclusive timelines for the primaries.
“The meeting could not conclude discussions on some proposed dates for the conduct of the primaries. Consequently, the National Council resolved to defer decision on the matter to allow for further stakeholder engagements in the interest of the party.
“It is thus expected that at its next meeting, the National Council may revisit this subject matter and hopefully take a definitive decision regarding the timelines for the conduct of the Party’s presidential and parliamentary primaries,” the statement read in part.
What GhanaWeb found from our sources
Our sources within the NPP and in the corridors of government indicate that there is currently a strong argument by early primaries advocates who are pushing for an early election in August.
A position that is strongly favoured by the national executives, however, Jubilee House, led by President Akufo-Addo, is strongly opposed to this.
“The Council of Elders have resolved in a letter that an early election would enhance the chances of the party breaking the 8,” our source told us on condition of anonymity.
Move to curb parallel power centers: President vs. flagbearer
Jubilee House, it is widely believed, wants MPs to approve the 2024 budget later this year to afford the system to deal with the Ken Must Go MPs when primaries are eventually held.
The affirms the outburst of Eugene Boakye Antwi , Subin MP on December 20, 2022 when he told Joynews “Nobody made me an MP, Akufo-Addo did not make me an MP. God made me an MP, I was elected just as Akufo-Addo was elected so nobody should dare threaten anybody.
“When you veer into that realm you even muddy the waters more…I contested the primaries like Akufo-Addo contested the primaries to become President,” he said.
Early primaries, according to the MPs, will allow for ample time to resolve internal differences between victors and losers at the poll and also to better plan for the 2024 elections.
“The MPs believe that as there will be a change of flagbearer, there is the need to conduct the internal elections early which is what is stated in the party constitution… citing Article 13 (1) and (3),” our source added.
It turns out that Jubilee House is somehow in sync with the disclaimed dates of presidential primaries in December 2023 and parliamentary primaries in February 2024.
At the last National Council meeting held in January, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo reportedly argued that an early presidential primary would create a parallel authority between him and the elected candidate.
Some political watchers, however, believe this is likely going to affect the party in the 2024 elections and should be reviewed if indeed the party wants to break the 8 – win a third consecutive mandate, and break the two-mandate power rotation.
Meanwhile, the main opponents, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), have announced a May 13 date to conduct their presidential and parliamentary primaries simultaneously.
Meeting to resolve Caucus, Asylum Down vs Kanda rift
Meanwhile, GhanaWeb has it on authority that MPs are meeting National Executives today, February 1, 2023 with the meeting expected to affirm their support for an early primary before the upcoming National Council meeting on February 2.
With Majority Caucus and NPP headquarters (Asylum Down) in agreement on an early congress, the final player needed on board is Jubilee House.
The presidency (Kanda if you like) is against an early election because of the past and the future as relates to the conduct of the infamous rebel MPs who in the last quarter of 2022 mounted a dogged campaign against embattled Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.