The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) would have risked destabilising key sections of its party structure if it had considered some proposals for amendments to its Constitution, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.
The President was addressing the party’s delegates gathered in kumasi at its Extraordinary National Delegates Conference, to consider various proposed amendments to the party’s Constitution.
A number of the controversial proposals for revision in the party’s Constitution were withdrawn on Sunday.
Some of the proposals had been challenged by persons within the party who felt that the changes being sought were discriminatory against them.
And according to the President, it would have been a disaster for the party to adopt the proposals, which included the appointment of constituency executives by Members of Parliament, party members with dual citizenship being disqualified from contesting for any party position, and the flagbearer of the party being considered as the leader of the party.
The President stated that, it would have been unconstitutional for the party to prevent dual citizenship holders from vying for party positions, while adding that making the flagbearer the leader of the party goes ‘against its traditions.’
“We’ve agreed that three controversial amendments are going to be withdrawn. The first is the amendment making it impossible for dual citizens to hold party office and contest elections. That amendment will be a disaster for our party, it will lead to the collapse of our overseas branches and it is not constitutional. I’m aware of the problem that the amendment seeks to cure, but we have to deal with it in another manner,” he said.
“The second proposal that has been withdrawn is the one that gives the MPs the right to appoint members of the constituency executives. I am strongly opposed to the measure, and it is going to be withdrawn. The third amendment to which I am absolutely opposed is one that seeks to make the presidential candidate, president of our country, the flagbearer and leader of the party; that motion is against all precedent and traditions of this party, and I am going to ask Congress to, if it will not be withdrawn, oppose and reject it. We do not need that amendment.”
The President also spoke of the need for harmony at the grassroots, as previous elections have proven that a lack of consensus between representatives of the party at the local level could translate into a bad performance at the polls.
He called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Executives (MMDCEs) of the various Assemblies, the party’s executives in the various constituencies and the Members of Parliament, to work together to prevent the current administration from suffering the same fate as incumbent governments who were voted out of power.
“In the 200, 2008 and 2016 elections; the three times the opposition had defeated an incumbent government, the victory was made easier by the breakdown in the relationships between MPs, MMDCEs and Constituency Chairmen. In 2000, we benefited from this because as a result of the Sunyani Declaration, there was a lot of restlessness in the NDC and the grassroots, many local conflicts. Even though the country wanted change, it was made easier by the NDC. the same thing happened in 2008 when the NDC took advantage of the divisions in our party at the grassroots as a result of 17 competitors for the party leadership,” he said.
“Again in 2016, the conflicts between the Mills elements, the Rawlings elements and the Mahama people helped us to our famous victory. They say people do not learn from history, we must learn from history and that is what the National Council has done with my active support.”