Tomorrow, Saturday, June 20, 102,000 delegates are expected to decide the fate of 308 aspirants seeking to represent the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 101 constituencies.
The candidates will represent the party in those constituencies in the December 7, 2020 parliamentary election.
Out of the aspirants, 47 are women, with 12 of them going unopposed while the remaining 35 will be in a fierce contest with other males. The females represent 15.26 per cent of the 308 aspirants.
According to party sources, the primaries are to be held in strict compliance with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety protocols.
In line with that, the party is providing nose masks to all delegates and officials, alcohol-based sanitisers, Veronica buckets and soap. Social distancing protocols will also be strictly observed.
The party has also instituted safety and security measures to ensure that all the delegates, aspirants’ agents, officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) are protected, both physically and from contracting COVID-19.
Although the primaries are to be held in 168 constituencies, 67 candidates will go unopposed while 308 aspirants will slug it out in 101 constituencies.
Among those going unopposed are the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, for Dormaa Central; the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, Bekwai; the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Suame; the Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, Bimbilla; the Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, Nandom; the Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Freda Prempeh, Tano North; the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Manhyia South, and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr Hassan Tampuli, for Gushegu.
Per the party’s guidelines for the primaries, all unopposed aspirants are to be acclaimed between June 15 and June 19, 2020.
The primaries will, therefore, be taking place in constituencies that have more than one aspirant on Saturday.
However, the primary in the Kwadaso Constituency in the Ashanti Region will be held on June 24, 2020.
Candidates are expected to end their campaigns tonight.
Meanwhile, the party has scheduled, on Saturday, June 27, 2020, to acclaim President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as its presidential candidate for the 2020 Presidential election.
“The acclamation of the Presidential Candidate together with his running mate will be done at a special National Council meeting of the party to be held in Accra with the media and relevant stakeholders in attendance,” the NPP said in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Mr John Boadu.
It will be recalled that in filing his nomination forms, President Akufo-Addo announced that the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, would partner him for the 2020 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the party has invited the Ghana Police Service to provide security in all the areas where voting will take place.
The delegates will be required to produce their NPP membership ID cards or any other recognised national ID card to entitle them to vote.
The names and pictures of the delegates are already in each constituency’s album, but the provision of the ID or even another party official guaranteeing for them is to ensure the process is not disrupted.
The party, at a press conference on June 8, 2020, fixed June 20 for its parliamentary primaries with the suspension of the primaries in three constituencies — Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region; Gushegu in the Northern Region and Dormaa Central in the Bono Region.
Sixty-five candidates were to go unopposed but at its meeting last Wednesday, the party resolved all the issues surrounding the three constituencies, thereby increasing the number of unopposed candidates to 67, while that of Kwadaso has been fixed for June 24, this year, increasing the number of constituencies for the contest to 101.
Two aspirants in the Gushegu contest withdrew, leaving the party hierarchy to select Mr Hassan Tampuli to contest on its ticket.
The Director of Elections of the NPP, Mr Evans Nimako, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the primaries would be conducted in strict compliance with the COVID-19 health protocols.
He said all delegates and officials accredited for the primaries must be in nose masks.
The party, he added, was also making available alcohol-based hand sanitisers at each polling centre for delegates to sanitise their hands before participating in the polls.
Mr Nimako said queue controllers would also be engaged to enforce the social distancing protocols.
Throwing light on the resolution of the issues on the three constituencies which were initially on hold, he said with the Gushegu Constituency, the party, after extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders and in line with Article 12 of the NPP Constitution, selected Mr Tampuli as its parliamentary candidate for the constituency.
It said that followed the decision of the two aspiring candidates, Mr Iddi Ziblim and Osman Mahama, to withdraw from the parliamentary contest.
In the Dormaa Constituency, the statement said the incumbent Member of Parliament and Minister of Health, Mr Agyemang-Manu, “shall go unopposed following the decision of his sole contender, Dr Yao Yeboah, to withdraw from the contest after the implementation of a successful road map.”
The statement said the primary in the Kwadaso Constituency shall be held on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, following an amicable resolution of the issues regarding the constituency album.
It commended all the aspiring candidates who graciously withdrew from the contest and respected the party’s decision.