Vote-buying taints National House of Chiefs election

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It is emerging that there was a grand scheme in place by the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government to oust the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State and President of Asogli Traditional Area in the Volta Region, Togbe Afede XIV, who contested to retain the National House of Chiefs presidency, but lost to the Paramount Chief of Sefwi Anhwiaso Traditional Area, Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II.

The heavyweight of the National Security apparatus, money, partisan politics, the Okyenhene, Amoatia Ofori Panin, are said to be the reasons the revered traditional ruler got removed from office, last Thursday and got replaced by the seventy-year-old Ogyeahohoo Gyebi II, who is also the President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs.

President of policy think tank IMANI-Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, alleged money and politics played a role in the election.

Mr Cudjoe allegedly remarked on his social media handle “Togbe Afede XIV loses his re-election as President of the National House of chiefs. No surprise. Money and politics played a role in this “.

Ogyeahohoo Gyebi II, polled 47 out of the 72 total valid votes cast, while Togbe Afede XIV, had 25 in the keenly contested election. But it is emerging that Togbe Afede XIV, an astute businessman and banker,unseatedwas anything, but fair, just and transparent.

Insiders within government, have hinted The Herald that money and partisan politics played major role in the election which also saw the vice-president of the House Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII, also defeated by Naa Puowele Karbo III.

Naa Puowele Karbo III, polled 44 out of the 72 total valid votes cast, while the incumbent Vice-President, had 28. In all, 72 chiefs voted in the elections.

The vice-President, Naa Puowele Karbo III, is believed to be the father of New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Lawra and a Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Anthony Abeyifa Karbo.

Featuring prominently in the agenda to have Togbe Afede XIV, booted out this paper was told, is the national security which allegedly doled out huge amount of money to some of the voters leading to the defeat of the two chiefs branded anti-government.

The revered chiefs, sources claimed, were induced and made to promise more money and other inducement, if they will show evidence of their vote against Togbe Afede and Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII.

To this end, every chief that was given money and goodies was tasked to necessarily take shots to serve as evidence and get paid. There was also the Okyehene Amoatia Ofori Panin factor, who is said to be having a silent war with Togbe Afede.

The outgoing President in the last election, had beaten the Okyehene to become the President of the influential National House of Chief.

Togbe Afede, who has since not commented on his defeat, was said to have fallen out with the government, following instances of open disagreements with government on certain decisions, including introducing partisan politics in the District Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, there are mixed reactions over the defeat of Togbe Afede. While some express surprise at his defeat, others say they are not surprise, claiming coming events cast their shadow.

They say the chief’s apparent opposition to government positions like the “No vote” position adopted in the botched district assembly election last year and a few others, led to the government scheming to remove him through the backdoor.

On Friday, The Herald published the apparent taken over of the National House of Chiefs leadership, by ousting Togbe Afede XIV and Vice-President, Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII.

Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, who had played the role of a rebel in the House in recent past, defeated the incumbent Togbe Afede XIV.

The interesting part is that last year, Ogyeahohoo Gyebi II, was removed as the chairman of the Governance and Development Committee of the House, following the allegation that, he went public with information disagreeing with the House about its decision against the referendum to make the district assembly elections partisan or not.

Togbe Afede, it would be recalled announced the removal of Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, after he went public again to criticize a unanimous decision taken by the House.

The House had in December last year, issued a statement on why partisan politics should be rejected at the local level elections, but Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, came out to disagree with the House.

In a statement signed jointly by Togbe Afede and Daasebre Nana Kwebu Ewusi VII, President and Vice President respectively, the National House of chiefs, said “the proposed referendum to allow partisan politics in our local elections was thoroughly discussed at the National House of Chiefs, both by the Standing Committee and the General Committee”.

But the now elected President of the National House of Chiefs, claimed the House at its meeting did not adopt a “no vote” campaign at any level of its structure against that botched referendum on local level elections.

The Omanhene of the Sefwi Anhwianso Traditional Area, in an interview with the Accra-based Kasapa FM at the time, cautioned against the House being turned into a pressure group.

According to Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, such development will adversely affect the integrity of the revered institution which is playing a key role in national development.

Recounting the processes that led to the issuance of a statement by the National House of Chiefs (NHC) on why partisan politics should be rejected at the local level elections and the subsequent public pronouncements by Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, Togbe Afede XIV, said the reactions by Ogyeahohor Yaw Gyebi, was unfortunate, misleading and mostly untrue.

Togbe Afede, who was speaking at the final meeting of the House for the year in Kumasi on Thursday [December 12, 2019], said following thorough discussions on the matter by members, it was referred to the Governance and Development Committee of which Ogyeahoho Gyebi was the chairman.

Indeed, according to Togbe Afede, the matter was referred to the committee on two occasions, therefore, it will be wrong for Ogyeahohor Gyebi, to say he knew nothing about it and members were not consulted.

The House subsequently, removed Ogyeahohoo Gyebi, as the Chair of the Governance and Development Committee with immediate effect, because according to Togbe Afede, it was the second time he had gone public to criticize a unanimous decision taken by the House.

But speaking to Kasapa News, Ogyeahohor Gyebi, stated that he was yet to be communicated to, over his removal as he is only hearing the news in the media.

He warned that it should never be seen that the National House of Chiefs was being turned into a pressure group.

“I appeal to my fellow chiefs at the National House of Chiefs not to turn this institution into a pressure group. This is a noble institution that some of us have been pushing to be made a Second Chamber. It should never be seen as though we’re being used by a political party.”

Ogyeahohor Gyebi, added that he wouldn’t have left matter lying down, if he had attended the meeting.

“I respect the President of the National House of Chiefs just as other chiefs respect me. I’ve no issues with him, but if I were to be at that meeting where these claims were made, I would have made my voice heard. They shouldn’t think that because I’m cute in size, I’m not an easy nut to crack.

I’m a very strong person and will not allow my integrity to be impugned in any way. I always try to uphold the truth and that is exactly what I did when I spoke on that matter.”

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