A coalition aligned with the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has jumped into the defence of David Afoko, cousin to the suspended National Chairman of the party, Paul Afoko, over a recent claim considered a serious threat to his designation as the Builsa North District Chief Executive.
The coalition on Saturday described as groundless the accusation made by some agitators from within the party who staged a demonstration against Mr. Afoko’s nomination on the grounds that he campaigned against his own party for archrival National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2016.
The pro-Afoko alliance, made up of executives, elders, foot soldiers, members and friends of the NPP, also added that the demonstrators had shown remorse with an open apology rendered to Mr. Afoko, who is the Builsa North Constituency Chairman, for the recent demo waged against him.
“Those who did that, after that, came to the chairman (David Afoko) and apologised,” the Chairman of the coalition, Isaac Wonemare, told newsmen Saturday at a news conference held at Sandema mainly to thank President Akufo-Addo for deciding on Mr. Afoko as the next DCE for the northern Builsas.
But just hours after the conference had ended, the leader of the anti-Afoko group, Johnson Achawie, who is also the party’s Builsa North Constituency Youth Organiser, rubbished the claims that his side had apologised for last Wednesday’s rally, saying the press conference could have ended up in chaos if he had appeared at the venue.
“Apologising for what? I am aware of the press conference; but if I had come there, there would have been chaos. I never apologised. What I did was that I went with a family to congratulate him the following day after the demonstration. I went with a family and I could not have withdrawn myself. I only shook his hand. That does not mean I agree with the President on his nomination. That does not mean I have endorsed Afoko. I have never apologised and I will never apologise,” he affirmed.
Afoko campaigned for Nana- Coalition insists
Mr. Afoko, who has been the NPP’s Builsa North Constituency Chairman for 8 years now, was among the 212 Municipal and District Chief Executive (MDCE) nominees President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced last Wednesday.
But the President had barely left the room where the nomination announcement took place in Accra when a strong outburst greeted the choice of Mr. Afoko at Sandema, capital of the Builsa North District. The open protests left a set of furniture vandalised after some members of the party with red bands strapped around their heads broke into the party’s constituency office.
Subsequent to that red-band rampage, which was short-lived as police officers mounted a guard over the office in no time, the disappointed men, led by Mr. Achawie, alleged in a petition addressed to the President through the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, that Mr. Afoko turned his back on the campaign that eventually brought the NPP back to power in 2016 and, for that matter, did not merit the DCE designation.
Saturday’s news conference saw the pro-Afoko coalition put up a strong defence with its Secretary and immediate-past Deputy Upper East Regional Youth Organiser, Danwell Adama, telling journalists: “David Afoko stood in the same venue [for] this press conference (Azantilow Guest House) and declared to the hearing of everybody in this auditorium that, ‘Vote for the party’s candidate and vote for the flag bearer’, and that the speculations, the wild allegations, that he’s not supporting the party’s parliamentary candidate, [were false]. David has never campaigned against the party in any form, in any way. That is what we should state categorically.”
We’ll still pursue our petition against Afoko- agitators swear
The pro-Afoko coalition spoke of Mr. Afoko as a unifier and at the news conference gave a commitment assurance to President Akufo-Addo that they would support the nominee “throughout the nomination process and his tenure as DCE after he is confirmed”.
But his detractors have vowed to sustain the wild fire they stoked last week against his nomination. And they have threatened to take it even as far as the Flagstaff House.
“We met with the Regional Minister and presented our petition. I was supposed to be at the minister’s office for the response last Friday. I couldn’t. Monday is a holiday. Tuesday, we’ll follow up. And after that, we have other channels. We believe that we’ll even go to the President. We’ll take him on,” Mr. Achawie disclosed.
In response to another claim that the protesters, after the purported apology, returned to the party’s office to fix the door and the furniture they had destroyed, the leader of the demonstrators told the source: “Never! They can tell lies. The nominee himself organised a carpenter to do that thing.”