Ghana: Fallout From DFP Congress

THE FAILED Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Alhaji Abdul Ramah Issaka, has blamed Dr. Obed Yao Asamoah, the Life Patron of the party for his crushing defeat by Mr. Emmanuel Asante Antwi, his main contender.

According to him, he did not see any reason for him not winning the Presidential slot to lead the party to victory, after he had been in charge of affairs of the party since its inception, only to lose to someone who just came into the party.

"If I lose, I will blame it on Dr. Asamoah because he was reported of throwing his support behind my contestant and he was also accused of asking the delegates not to vote for me at the National Executive Council meeting. I am told that Dr. Asamoah has denied the report but if I lose I will blame him," Issaka told Joy F.M, prior to the declaration of the official results by the Electoral Commission.

Alhaji Ramah, who lost miserably to his only contender, Mr. Emmanuel Asante Antwi vanished from the conference room immediately the EC announced the final results. He was no where in the room to concede defeat.

The defeated candidate, who served as the interim national chairman of the DFP until Saturday morning, instead of using the ten minutes alloted to him to sell himself to the delegates was rather responding to allegations of vote inducement and bribery levelled against him.

According to him, Dr. Asamoah quizzed him that he was distributing money to the delegates. "I told him that it was not true and that the money I gave out was for porridge (koko) for some delegates. I did not give out money to induce the delegates."

He said, contrary to the allegation they made against him, he was rather trying to salvage the party and that prior to the fateful Saturday, he, together with now second vice chairperson, Mad. Frances Assiam were busy looking for accommodation for the delegates.

This explanation did not, however, convince the delegates except to say that he had been very pivotal in the formation of the DFP. Mr. Antwi, who polled 868 votes representing 81.2 %, stated that under his DFP led government, he would develop a national youth policy with a full participation of the youth. He would also place premium on gender issues.

"A DFP Government under my leadership shall therefore develop a National Youth Policy with the full participation of the youth themselves through organized forum to empower them to shape their own destiny and inculcate such policies in our educational curriculum as well as our public administrative machinery."

He continued, "Gender issues shall be a top priority in my government. I will promote gender equality through affirmative action in all areas of national development. A happy and fulfilling motherhood is a source of pride to children and the elderly," he said.

Mr. Antwi told the delegates that the funding of the party's activities towards the national campaign would not be a problem. "I have the necessary connections outside the country to raise the needed resources to fund our campaign. This would be supported by innovative fund raising strategies designed to solicit resources internally. I promise you that we shall provide all the logistics you would need to campaign at all the 230 constituencies across the country," he said.

He extended an olive branch to his main contestant, Alhaji Ramah, and promised to work hand in hand with him and the leadership of the party to chalk victory for the party.

The flagbearer of the DFP also indicated his preparedness to face all the political parties that have already elected their presidential candidates and have started criss-crossing the nation, saying "We shall match them boot for boot."

Alhaji Ramah polled 201 votes representing 18.8%. The election was supervised by a 15 member team from the EC, chaired by Mr. Sarfo Katanka, who announced the final results.

All those in acting positions were endorsed by popular acclamation while Mr. Kofi Asante, the then acting general secretary was missing in action. His position was taken over by Mr. Bede Ziendeng.

Other executive positions went to Mr. Kwaku Baah as the national chairman, Mr. Nii Okaidja Adamafio took the first vice position with Mad. Frances Assiam, who relinquished her national women's organizer position bounced back and took the second vice national chairperson's position.

At the congress, the euphoria that characterises all political functions was missing. The purchasing of party paraphernalia was nothing to write home about at the congress grounds.

Various political parties were represented to deliver their goodwill messages except that of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The representative of the NDC, Mr. Kofi Adams, the deputy national youth organizer had it tough delivering his speech, as he was heckled and booed.

The heckling reached a crescendo as the delegates did not allow him to speak until some members of the party signalled them to behave. He extended an invitation to them to join the NDC to fight the battle ahead if they are not happy with the developments under the NPP administration.

The CPP was represented by Mr. Kosi Dede, the chairman of the publicity committee. Mr. Henry Asante represented Peoples National Convention (PNC). GCPP was also represented.

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