Over 75 members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Nalerigu/Gambaga Constituency in the North East region have quit the party to join the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The defection, involving members of the entire neighborhood of Wundua, one of the party’s strongholds in the Langbinsi zone, occurred on Friday, a day after the party suspended one of its parliamentary aspirants in the constituency, Peter Wuni Baaga.
Executives of the opposition NDC in the constituency have since welcomed the new members into the party at a meeting where the defectors announced publicly their reasons for breaking away from the ruling party.
They cited, amongst others, several unfulfilled promises made by the Member of Parliament, Hajia Alimah Mahama before her previous election, including her failure to fix their road, provide potable water, and renovate the only school building in the community.
They also referred to the recent suspension of one of the parliamentary aspirants and the chaotic controversies that, according to them, continue to split the party’s support and make it increasingly unattractive.
Among the defectors included a direct brother of the Deputy Coordinating Director of the East Mamprusi Municipal Assembly, Karim Chimsi, who spoke to JoyNews on behalf of the defectors.
He said they were pledging their support to the NDC and its parliamentary candidate in this year’s elections until their challenges are addressed.
”We started this seven months ago that we are going to change our votes and none of the party leaders confronted us to even understand our reasons for leaving the party”, he explains, “now, after this decision whether they bring billions or not, it can’t change our mind”
“We are still facing all the challenges; poor roads, no network, just nothing, we don’t have anything to show, and meanwhile we have voted this party throughout many generations. It’s our hope and prayers and I believe if the party (NDC) won, they would do things for the community”.
Fighting within the NPP
Fighting within the NPP in the constituency has increased since 2004 as a new struggle for power and influence between those loyal to Hajia Alimah and others who say they have been betrayed and targeted in a witch-hunt aided by the presidency, continue.
Divisions emerged publicly last Thursday following the suspension of Peter Wuni Baaga, a former District Chief Executive and a founding member of the party in the area, after an interview, he granted in response to allegations made against him by Hajia Alimah Mahama and some members of her campaign team, including the Regional Chairman and the Municipal Chief Executive.
Chimsi also touched on the suspension of the parliamentary aspirant, describing it as a political miscalculation which is going to devastate the fortunes of the party in the coming elections.
“Peter Baaga is a hero for the party”, he says, apart from Peter Baaga, we will not get a man who can fight for the NPP like that in our constituency”.
“So, if this suspension is true, this coming December the NPP might not get up to five votes in some of the communities, because some people are voting for the party because of him, and his relationship with them”.
The Local Government and Rural Development Minister had allegedly accused Peter Baaga of diverting monies meant for some infrastructure projects for the Nalerigu Nursing and Midwifery College while in office as the District Chief Executive. She also allegedly accused Peter of disrespecting President Nana Akufo-Addo by rejecting his appeal to allow her to go unopposed in the primaries.
The allegations were said to have been repeated on various campaign platforms by the Municipal Chief Executive, Nasir Danladi, and the Regional Chairman Fuseini Nurudeen, both of who have publicly declared support for Hajia Alimah Mahama’s third bid.
In response, Peter also fired counter-accusations at his opponents, alleging that the 2004 elections which saw Hajia Alimah entering Parliament for the first time was a stolen verdict masterminded by him.
“I told them to ask Alimah how she became MP in 2004. And she responded that, she has no clue and that I masterminded her victory through dubious means at the strong room”, Peter recounted.
He was also alleged to have responded to similar allegations by the regional chairman, the Municipal Chief Executive, and the constituency secretary, accusing them of smuggling fertilizers meant for the planting for food and jobs programme to neighboring Burkina Faso.
“And the issues of the fertilizers, Chairman Nurudeen, the DCE and the constituency secretary have been part of a syndicate group, smuggling the inputs to neighboring countries.
“What they did was to intercept the vehicles in Tamale, raid, and change their number plates before redirecting them to their collaborators in Burkina Faso for sale. This was how they treated our poor farmers”, he said.
The interview which went viral caused the regional chairman to issue the letter announcing the sanction against the aspirant.
The letter signed by Chairman Fuseini Nurudeen, said, the utterances of the aspirant breached Article 4(7) of the party constitution and the general guidelines governing the parliamentary primaries issued by the National Secretariat.