The National Vetting Committee of the New Patriotic Party has recommended all seven presidential aspirants duly qualified to contest the election.

Under the chairmanship of Madam Ama Busia, a former member of the Council of State, the committee examined and vetted all the seven nominees seeking to contest the position of the flag bearer of the party for the 2016 general election. 

The 12-page exhaustive report, with a lot of appendages, is titled "Report of the Vetting Committee of the New Patriotic Party on nominees for the 2016 presidential primary."

Members of committee

It will be recalled that the nine-member vetting committee of the NPP started sitting on July 23, 2014 to scrutinise the nomination forms of the seven presidential aspirants contesting the flag-bearer slot.

The committee also used Thursday, July 24, and Friday, July 25, to vet the seven aspirants who appeared before them.

The other members of the committee were Madam Christine Churcher, Mr J.B. Aidoo, Mr Peter Mac Manu, Ambassador Kwabena Mensa Bonsu, Prof. Mike Oquaye, Dr Rev. Asante Antwi, Mr Kwadjo Mpiani and Mr C.K. Tedem.

General Secretary

According to the party's General Secretary, Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, there shall be balloting at the NPP headquarters on Tuesday August 5, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. for all the aspirants for positions on the ballot paper for the August 31, 2014 Special Electoral College.

He also took the opportunity to remind all aspirants, their spokespersons, agents and assigns to strictly respect and abide by the guidelines, rules and regulations governing the presidential primary.

Party's guidelines

The party's 2014 rules and regulations governing the organisation and conduct of the election of presidential candidates frown on MPs or party officers at all levels openly declaring support for a particular candidate.

According to the party's regulations, "Party officers at all levels, national, regional, constituency, electoral area, polling station, overseas branch (international), as well as MPs, shall refrain from openly declaring the support of any branch, constituency or organ for any individual candidate or campaigning for them."

It further directs that "no national, regional, constituency, electoral area, polling station or overseas branch officer shall issue a press statement in support of any candidate".

Flag bearer aspirants

It will be recalled that before nominations closed on July 7, 2014, seven aspirants had submitted their nomination forms at the party's headquarters to contest the flag-bearer slot of the party.

The aspirants are Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 2008 and 2012 presidential candidate of the party; Mr Alan Kwadjo Kyerematen, a former minister; Mr Francis Addai Nimoh, MP for Mampong, and Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, a former Minister.

The rest are Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, a former Minister; Mr Joe Ghartey, the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Essikado-Ketan, and Mr Kofi Osei Ameyaw, MP for Asuogyaman.

Now that the report of the vetting committee is out, the fate of the aspirants will depend on the outcome of the Special Delegates Congress scheduled for August 31, 2014, which is to prune the number down to the top five who would then finally contest the position at the National Delegates Congress scheduled for October 18, 2014.

Nana Addo suspends campaign

In another development, Michael Quaye reports from Wa that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has suspended his campaign for re-election as flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party to enable party officials to concentrate on the voter registration exercise being conducted by the Electoral Commission.

The registration exercise, which begins today, is scheduled to last 10 days, and Nana Addo said he would resume his campaigning on August 14 to seek the mandate of the party for a third attempt at clinching the presidency.

"Winning election 2016 begins from now," he told party faithful and delegates in the Upper West Region at a campaign event in Wa last Friday. Party functionaries must take the (voter) registration exercise seriously."

He said he was taking the break to enable party officials to channel energies into monitoring the registration exercise, since the entire election process starts with voter registration.

Supreme Court case

The NPP disputed the results of the last presidential and parliamentary polls and unsuccessfully sought the intervention of the Supreme Court in a legal dispute that dragged for about seven months.

Nana Addo said "we have learnt our lessons from the Supreme Court case" in reference to the legal showdown between the NDC and the NPP.